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A Buying Guide For Gift Cards

Aug 17, 2007
Gift cards are a great way to save money on purchases this is especially true if you buy merchandiser from the same stores all the time. These stores, on the other hand, while giving you savings on your purchases due to the gift card are nonetheless happy because they know that you will be spending your money with them instead of with other people. This makes gift cards sort of a win-win proposition for most people.

Then again, some people think that the disadvantage of gift cards is that they limit you to purchasing with one store. But if you really are predisposed to spending most of your money on one store, then that would not be a problem at all.

If you are looking to buy a gift card either for yourself or for others, then you need to follow a few pointers to avoid potential pitfalls to the use of gift cards. These tips will help you protect your interests and the interests of those you plan to give the gift cards to in the first place.

1. Gift Card Terms

The first thing you have to consider is the terms of the gift check. As with any purchase you always have to read the fine print before deciding on anything. The details on gift cards vary per store, and most stores have different promotions for their purchases.

Look at the details if it mentions anything about the expiry date of the gift card. This is very important as you could very well be purchasing a card that is close to expiry, or might be the expiry date comes across as too narrow for your liking.

Look at the special terms for purchases - are there any special provisions or requirements when you make a purchase? Is there a spending limit per day? What becomes of your credit if you are not able to fully use up a gift card?

You will have to consider all these things before purchasing the card. If you can create a matrix of differing cards for sale, then this will help you make better decisions, especially if you can create a list of pros and cons of each variant.

You should also look at how much you can save by the use of this card. You should be able to save a good amount of money from the use of gift cards. If you do not, then there is no use for you to be purchasing a gift card in the first place.

2. Your Store of Choice

When purchasing a card, make sure the store it is attached to is a store you are likely to visit. Or, if you are giving this card away as a gift, then you will have to find the store that appeals the person you are giving it to.

You dont want to get stuck with a card you will never end up using because the store attached to it offers nothing you are interested in anyway.

3. Place of Purchase

The best place to get legitimate gift cards are is the store itself. Ask the customers service representative where you can avail of gift cards. You could even ask if you could get them for a better price. Even if you do not get a discount, the question would not hurt. Also, if you do get the discount then it would be worth your while.

There are some that sell gift cards and such. Of course, there is an inherent risk with buying such cards. These cards could be stolen, forged, counterfeit, or expired. While these cards give you great savings many people buy such cards whenever possible they could also be a big headache if you purchase the wrong cards. While buying gift cards from other individuals isnt really illegal, you should still exercise caution when buying such cards.

4. Trusted sellers are a rarity nowadays

Of course, you still can find those that sell such cards at lower prices than even the participating stores do. Since stores do not return money for any unused gift cards, holders of these cards have no choice but to sell them to other individuals if they arent keen on using the gift cards themselves.
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