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Be Smart About Your Gift Cards

You probably got one or two gift cards as a holiday gift this season. Gift cards are great because you can use them however you wish, and get exactly what you want. While gift cards may seem like the perfect gift, they also come with some potential risks and costs.

4 Things To Keep In Mind When Getting Or Receiving A Gift Card

First, check to see if you gift card has any fees. For instance, if you plan to give a gift card as a gift, you may be charged a fee for purchasing the actual card. If you are the recipient of a gift card, be aware that you may incur fees each time you use the card at a store or restaurant. In addition, you may be charged a fee for not using the card. Make sure that you read the vendor’s policies before you activate your card. You don’t want to go to use it, and have nothing left due to inactivity fees.

Second, check for an expiration date on your card. Many of us just assume that gift cards never expire; however, this is the case for certain types of cards. You don’t want to simply put your gift cards away and forget about them, because if you let them expire you could lose the entire balance on the card. That means you’ll be left empty handed.

Third, make sure to always report a lost or stolen gift card to the card issuer right away. Certain companies will replace a lost or stolen card. You want to report your card the minute you notice it is missing to hopefully stop any fraudulent activity on it.

Lastly, if you have a problem with a gift card that you can’t solve by talking to a store employee, think about contacting your state government’s consumer protection office. You can find this number by doing a simple Google search.

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