Gift cards are, and really should be, great gift options for those -- how shall I say this? -- very particular friends and family members.
But the longer those friends and family sit on those cards, the more likely their "gotchas" are bound to get 'em.
"Gift cards aren’t spent as quickly as a cash gift," says Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com. "We slide them into a wallet or drop them in a drawer, lose them, or forget about them and let that money waste away.”
Gift cards are unsecured credit. You are essentially fronting a retailer cash -- with terms that are often not revealed to the buyer or to the recipient.
So Hardekopf suggests you remember these:
* USE GIFT CARDS BEFORE THEY EXPIRE. "Merchant and bank-issued gift cards must now be good for five years, thanks to the CARD Act provisions. Re-loadable cards can expire five years after the money was last added."