Holiday Gift Card Advice
Advice on Gift Cards from Forbes*.
- Consider Discounted Gift Cards: Available through online gift card exchanges.
- General Purpose Cards can be costly. Beware Visa and American Express cards that have extra fees.
- Look for Gift Cards that you've received but not used. More than $45 billion in gift cards have gone unused since 2005.
- Don't pay for shipping. 30% of gift cards from major online retailers charge for shipping.
- Buy Gift Cards with Rewards. For example, under Citibank’s rewards program, you need 10,000 ThankYou points to get $50 in cash back, whereas you only need 5,000 points (50% fewer) for a $50 gift card.
Personally, in spite of Forbes admontion above, I tend to favor Visa or Mastercard Bank Gift Cards, when there are no extra fees. Check with your bank. I like them because they are usable anywhere. Another favorite for many is an Amazon gift card which can also be used to purchase nearly anything. If you're looking for a last minute inexpensive stocking stuffer, a Starbucks gift card is sure to please. Also, consider local businesses. Independent retailers may very well have their own gift cards. I know my local bookstore has their own gift card. It's a great gift idea for the readers on your list, and they get to pick the book of their choice. Then of course, cash is always king. There's nothing like a nice crisp bill or two in the Christmas stocking to put a smile on my face.
*Forbes 12/19/2014 Personal Finance: Last Minute Shopping
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