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The hidden details of gift cards

gift cards

I am one of those people who loves to get gift cards. I also like to hang on to them for awhile.  I think of it as saving them for a rainy day.

Maybe I’ll need something and be short on cash. Maybe I’ll want to splurge and order an appetizer and dessert with dinner. Whatever the case, I horde gift cards.

We’ve all heard stories lately about not hanging on to gift cards too long because of the number of stores that are closing. If you don’t use the card right away, there’s a possibility there might not be a store left.

Last night I discovered another reason why it doesn’t pay to hold on to some gift cards. Even if there’s a store left, you might not have a balance left.

When my husband and I got married in August, we received quite a few gift cards. Many were to stores where we had registered, but a couple cards were Visa gift cards.

I must admit that I didn’t do my homework by reading the fine print on the card or calling the toll-free number to get details on the card. We pretty much stuffed them in an envelope to use when we really needed something.

Fast forward to last night when we tried to use our Visa gift cards to buy some things for our home. One of the cards kept getting rejected.

I called the number on the back of the card only to find out that the balance on the $25 gift card was actually $22.50. Apparently as soon as the card was purchased a monthly fee was assessed. Because we waited a few months to use it the balance was steadily declining.

I’m really glad we didn’t wait any longer to use the card or there wouldn’t have been much left.

If you get a gift card, make sure to check for any fees or charges so that you don’t lose the full value of your card.


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