The holidays are coming up quick and it’s officially time to rack your brain (and wallet!) for some gift ideas. But if you are anything like me, sometimes it’s hard to pick out that perfect gift! If you fit this profile, buying gift cards may be an easy way to shop. But before you start loading up on gift cards, consider the following:
Carefully look at the front and back of a gift card before you buy it. If a gift card looks like it could have been tampered with, don’t buy it.
Ask the store cashier to scan the gift card in front of you. This will guarantee that your card is valid when you buy it and that it has the balance you just paid.
Always keep your receipt as long as there is money stored on the gift card. Many retailers can track where the gift card was purchased, activated and used, which may come in handy if the card is stolen.
Never give your personal information. When you purchase a gift card, no reputable company will ask for your Social Security number, date of birth or any other private information.
Ask about expiration dates when you’re buying a card. This information may appear on the card, but if you don’t see it, ask.
Ask about purchase fees. Do you have to pay a fee to buy the card? Are fees deducted from the card, including activation, maintenance or transaction fees? It might be a good idea to shop for gift cards that don’t charge extra fees.
Make sure the store you are buying from will be in business for a while. If you buy a card from a company that goes out of business, the recipient may end up with a card that’s worth less than the face value.