Make the most of gift cards - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Make the most of gift cards

Financial Tip of the Week from the Iowa Bankers Association:

Last year, Americans spent $87 billion on gift cards. As form of payment becomes more widely accepted, the types of gift cards available is growing.  Gift cards make great gifts, but for many consumers, the cards are easily lost or forgotten.  In other cases, consumers may not spend the full amount.  To maximize the value of your gift cards, consider the following tips for buying and using gift cards wisely:

Buying Gift Cards       

  • Only buy gift cards from reputable sources.
  • Check for an expiration date before you buy.
  • Consider practicality, like a grocery store or gas station card.
  • Understand the policies and fees before purchasing gift cards.
  • If you're giving a gift card, be sure to include the terms and conditions.

Using Gift Cards

  • Keep gift cards in a secure place to avoid misplacement.
  • Spend gift cards within the first year to receive the full value.
  • Consider swapping unwanted cards at card-swapping and card-selling sites.
  • Re-gift cards unused or with minor balances to charities who distribute them to the needy.

Prepaid gift card provisions of the 2009 Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) will take effect Aug. 22.  The provisions will prohibit inactivity fees for the first year and within 12 months following activity on the card.  Funds credited to the gift card will remain for five years after they are added, even if the printed expiration date has passed. 

This information provided by the Iowa Bankers Association (www.iowabankers.com) in partnership with the American Bankers Association.

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