6 Tips for Giving and Receiving Gift Cards

Gift cards are a popular and convenient way to give someone a gift, but sometimes things can go wrong. These tips from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), America’s consumer protection agency, may help you avoid any gift card snafus.

  1. Buy gift cards from sources you know and trust. Avoid buying gift cards from online auction sites because the cards may be counterfeit or stolen.
  2. Inspect the card before you buy it. Check that none of the protective stickers have been removed. Make sure that the codes on the back of the card haven’t been scratched off to show the PIN number. Report any damaged cards to the store selling the cards.
  3. Keep the receipt with the gift card. Whether you’re giving or getting, try to keep the original purchase receipt or the card’s ID number with the gift card.
  4. Read the terms and conditions of the gift card. Is there an expiration date? Are there fees to use the card or for shipping and handling? Will fees be taken out every time you use the card or after it sits unused for some period of time?
  5. Use the card as soon as you can. If you are the lucky recipient be sure to use the card as soon as possible. It’s not unusual to misplace gift cards or forget you have them. Using them early will help you get the full value.
  6. Treat gift cards like cash. If your card is lost or stolen, report it to the card’s issuer immediately. You might not get back the money left on the card – or you might get some, perhaps for a fee. You might need to show the receipt and the ID number on the card. Most issuers have toll-free telephone numbers, listed on the card or online, that you can call to report a lost or stolen card.

Article published in November 2019 edition of Eye on Money. If you would like to be added to our mail list please email jennifer@dh-cpa.com