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Credit Cards Gift Cards Are A Gift For All Seasons

Apr 14, 2008
Credit card gift cards have six magic qualities, explaining their popularity and explosive growth:

1. Flexibility: A gift credit card is usually for an amount ranging from $10 to $500. Some corporate gift cards go as high as $2,500. This is much more exciting than the formulaic $25 for Olive Garden or Borders, and provides true versatility.

2. Convenient: Most prepaid credit card gift cards are Visa cards, making them acceptable in millions of locations. This avoids the stereotypes and limitations inherent in store gift cards. Don't be so sure your Administrative Assistant shops at Target!

3. Anonymous: What does (former) Governor Spitzer want for Christmas? With a prepaid credit gift card that ugly paper trail would never have existed. The truth is financial institutions collect and report vast amounts of financial data about citizens every day. Give a buddy the gift of staying under the wire.

4. Warm and Personal: Unlike cash, a gift credit card can be personalized and packaged to include all the sweetness of a Hallmark card. Lots of them allow you to choose a design and even a message. Of course the ultimate personal touch is that the lucky recipient can choose to purchase whatever they want with their gift card.

5. Public Relations and Marketing: Business prepaid gift credit cards can include your corporate logo.

6. Functional: Nobody likes to talk about it, but with the credit crunch really taking hold, many of our friends, family members, employees, customers, and co-workers have damaged credit, and restricted access to traditional credit cards. Yet the need for credit cards, for example for online transactions, has never been greater. What better gift than to make credit available again?

How do credit card gift cards work?

Think prepaid credit cards. The gift cards work just like conventional Visa cards, except that as they are not linked to the recipient by name, there are a few restrictions. And unlike some prepaid credit cards, gift cards cannot be reloaded with more cash. The gift card is used once or several times, until the balance is exhausted and the card hits zero.

In fact credit gift cards have so many uses that it is quicker to say what they cannot be used for than what they can. There are four common restrictions:

1. As these cards are not attached to an individual identity they cannot be used for airline tickets.

2. Most of the time they cannot be used for car rentals either.

3. Generally they cannot be used to get cash back when shopping, or for withdrawing cash from an ATM.

4. Also, prepaid credit gift cards cannot be used with PayPal. According to PayPal:
PayPal does not recommend adding a gift card, prepaid card, virtual card, or one time use credit cards to your PayPal account. Although some of these cards may be accepted, most will not function correctly with our system due to the security checks we have in place. PayPal is not an online store, where these types of cards were intended to be used, and in order to properly facilitate our service, the traditional credit card or debit card is preferred.

So next time you are shopping for the perfect gift, consider credit cards gift cards. The cost will be whatever value you load onto the card, plus a purchase fee of anything from $3.95 and up, depending on the card issuer, the card value, and any shipping fees. The reward will be a delighted and grateful friend, family member, or business associate, who can shop until they drop, but still stay under the radar.
About the Author
Meredith Carter is a financial journalist and webmaster of http://www.credit-cards-comparisons.com - a leading Internet provider of credit education and consumer advice. To learn more see Gift Credit Cards.
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