Don't want to spend time choosing the perfect gift this year? Giving a gift card is a convenient option. But it's always important to remember that not all gift cards are created equal.
The good news is there are more consumer protections in place for gift cards. But there are still some pitfalls to watch out for. Thanks to the new Credit Card Act:
Gift cards can't expire for at least five years from the date of purchase.
If there are any fees, they have to be printed on the card or its packaging.
So read the fine print for details about how and where the cards can be redeemed, any fees, and the retailer's policy on replacing lost or stolen cards.
While the new rules add to gift cards' appeal, a Consumer Reports survey found that many people still never get around to spending their gift cards. Their advice? If you can't decide what to buy, give cash or a check rather than a gift card. Cash never expires or loses it value and it's good anywhere. And if your check is never cashed, the money stays in your bank account.
ScripSmart has a list of which gift cards to avoid. Check it out here.