Got a gift card? Use it NOW! | News
Givers and takers of gift cards must think of them as what they are: unsecured credit.
When you buy one, you are essentially fronting cash to a retailer -- without any guarantees that retailer won't go out of business or that card won't expire.
The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South has great advice on the use of gift cards:
- Treat gift cards like cash. For recipients, it’s important to report lost or stolen cards to the issuer immediately. Some issuers will not replace cards that are lost or stolen, while others will, sometimes for a fee.
- Make sure to use gift cards as soon as possible, because it’s not unusual to lose or forget about them.
- Remember that if the company goes out of business before the card can be used, it may be worthless. Some competitors may honor gift cards and certificates from a defunct business as a way to gain new customers. You can always ask.
- Merchants can charge inactivity fees for unused gift cards if and only if the card has not been used for at least one year. Also, merchants can only charge an inactivity fee once a month.