Gift Credit Cards – Read the Fine Print

Gift credit cards can be useful and much-appreciated gifts, but it is important to understand what they are and how they work, and to check the terms and conditions of your particular card. Each issuer has different fine print relating to their cards, and some of the clauses in the fine print can be costly.

What Are Gift Credit Cards?

A gift credit card is actually not a credit card in the traditional sense of the word. A holder of a traditional credit card makes purchases on credit, and pays the bill later, when it falls due. A gift credit card is a stored value card, or debit card. A certain amount of money is deposited into the card by the purchaser at the time the card is issued, and only that amount of money may be spent using the card.

If you think about the old-fashioned paper gift certificate still issued by many major retailers, you will have a more accurate notion of the nature of a gift card than if you think about a credit card in general.

Who Issues Them?

Some retailers have switched from using paper gift certificates to issuing gift credit cards. While these store-specific gift cards have the disadvantage of being limited to use in a particular store, this is offset by the benefit that generally charge lower fees than more general gift cards.

Gift credit cards are issued by major credit card providers, such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, both directly and through banks. Each issuer has their own particular set of terms and conditions.

What Are The Problems?

Some issuers limit gift cards to use within the USA. Others will not allow them to be used for certain purchases, such as air tickets or hotels. American Express will not issue gift cards to the residents of five US states, because, according to American Express, “restrictive legislation” makes it prohibitively expensive to do so.

Gift credit cards issued by Visa and Mastercard can usually be used in most places around the world where Visa and Mastercard are accepted, with the exception in some cases of specific types of purchases. It is very important to read the terms and conditions to make sure you, or the recipient, will be able to make use of the card as you expect.

Other Issues

In some cases, gift cards can be used at ATMs to withdraw cash. Obviously, this is not the case with store-specific gift cards, and it is not available as an option in all cases, even with Visa and Mastercard gift cards. If you wish to have this option available, you will need to research carefully before choosing your card.

Check your terms and conditions to understand the fees payable. In most cases, it is a costly mistake to keep a balance on your gift card for more than a few months. Most providers have expiry dates on their gift cards, or start charging relatively costly monthly fees after a particular time period has passed. In some cases, the balance on the card at the expiry date is simply lost. In other cases, the card issuer will send you balance by check – less an account closing fee and a check drawing fee which can add up to $30 or thereabouts, and often consume the balance completely anyway.

If you have chosen the right gift credit card, you will be able to give a gift which is as flexible as cash, but as personalised as a gift certificate. If you have received a gift credit card, you have no choice about the issuer, so make sure you read the fine print, so you can avoid any unwanted fees or complications.

Tips on How to Be a Better Gift Giver and a Smart Shopper

When it is Christmas season we all know that it is also the gift giving season. But to those who was able to give gifts before especially with multiple recipients are aware that it can be quite challenging. And you cannot talk about Christmas gifts without touching on the subject of holiday budget management. Christmas gift giving can indeed become quite a chore especially if you have no idea what sort of gift to give. The perfect gift for kids are quite easy to figure out, but the real difficulty comes when you are gifting an adult. But such difficulties can be addressed by becoming a better holiday gift giver this year, this way you can bring more joy to your family and friends, spend your holiday budget wisely and reduce the stress that’s associated with Christmas shopping.

Shopping within a few days before Christmas and getting caught in the Christmas shopping rush is a surefire way to have your stress levels hit the roof. You will be competing with a large amount of crowd for shopping items so the chances are high that you will pick a gift that is impersonal or worse, overpriced. One good way to prevent this is to plan ahead of time. Planning weeks or even months before Christmas will enable you to give some thought to your gifts and come up with clever gift ideas by paying attention to your family and friend’s interest and personal taste. You can even add a personal touch to your gifts by customizing it. The possibilities are endless and are only limited by your own imagination.

Now when it comes to your holiday budget, be sure that you do not blow it into one place. When buying for Christmas gifts, set a holiday budget that is both realistic and uncompromising. Make a list of your recipients and set a budget for each and every person on the list. It may seem like it is a lot of hard work, but this method will allow you to carefully set your shopping plan that would fit with your allotted budget. If you want to get the best out of your current budget, then watch out for deals and sales that could get you even more savings. Watch out for sale items and be sure to stick to your set price range. This way you will be able to give memorable and great gifts without a hole in your pocket and a lot of debt.

If you want to try a more convenient way of shopping for Christmas gifts then you ought to try shopping online. When you shop online not only will you have access to a more expansive catalogue of items, you get to buy them too at a much cheaper rate. And it is not uncommon for many websites to have special deals and promotions during the holiday season.

During the holiday season, there is no need to get stressed and accumulate a lot of debt when giving gifts to your family and friends. Just be sure to plan your shopping ahead of time and be on the lookout for sales and discounts that you can take advantage of.