Complaint of the Week: Gift Card Fees

As the holiday crunch approaches, gift cards look more and more appealing for those scrambling to find presents. However, shoppers must exercise caution because, as reported by The Consumerist, gift cards from banks and credit card companies have many associated fees.

According to Bankrate.com’s annual survey, of the 55 store-branded gift cards looked at, only five charged a purchasing fee. In contrast, all of the eight gift cards from banks and credit card companies charged.

The survey also shows that gift cards from bank and credit card companies are much more likely to have dormancy fees and expiration dates. Dormancy fees are charged when the gift card isn’t used for a specific period of time. In the survey, only two percent of store-branded gift cards had a dormancy fee, yet 75 percent of gift cards from banks and credit card companies had either dormancy or maintenance fees. Similarly, none of the 55 store-branded gift cards had an expiration date while eight of the gift cards from banks and credit card companies did.

Another perk of store-branded gift cards is that more money can be put on them after use. Of the 55 store-branded cards in the survey, 51 percent were reloadable but none of the gift cards from bank and credit card companies were.

The one category where gift cards from bank and credit card companies triumphed is in offering replacements. All of them offered replacements for lost or stolen cards whereas only around 60 percent of store-branded cards did.

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