Play your gift cards right this Christmas

December 20, 2018

In the run up to Christmas, you may be thinking about giving a gift voucher as a present. Gift vouchers and gift cards can be a great present to give or receive, but it’s important to play your gift cards right.

  • Vouchers may have fees and charges – this should be mentioned in the terms and conditions. Some stores charge an inactivity fee or maintenance fee, which comes off the balance if you don’t use the voucher within a certain timeframe.
  • Outstanding balances if you give or receive a gift card for a large amount, find out what rules apply to any balance left on it – do you have to spend it in one go, or in will the balance carry over so that you can you use it a few times?
  • Using vouchers from deal sites – vouchers from deal sites are popular, but often have specific limitations around when you can use them. Make sure you read the small print.
  • Check if you can use the gift voucher or card at multiple outlets or chains  if the store you bought the gift voucher or card from goes out of business, it will be hard for you to use it but if it has more than one outlet you may be able to use it in another one.
  • Holding onto your vouchers isn’t the way to go – the easiest way to avoid any problems is to use vouchers quickly.
  • Expiry date – in lots of cases, gift vouchers or cards have an expiry date. If the expiry date isn’t clear, or there is no expiry date on the gift voucher or gift card, ask the store or shopping centre if there is one.
  • Remember to mind your gift voucher or card If you lose a gift voucher, the shop isn’t obliged to replace it, so it’s like losing cash. Keep your voucher in a safe place – but don’t forget about it!
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