If you are running out of time or ideas, giving a gift card can be a convenient and appreciated gift. But, before you turn your cash into credit, there are a few things that you might want to consider to avoid having your value wiped away from the card.
Most important, make sure that the business will stay up and running for the coming year. Sadly, a number of gift cards are purchased each year for stores or restaurants that close up for good shortly after Christmas, rendering these cards useless.
During the purchase, check the back of the card to be sure that it has not been tampered with. Sometimes criminals scratch off pin or other codes, and use this information to drain the value of the card with online purchases.
Get a validation receipt that you can provide to the recipient. These receipts can come in handy for proving that an amount has been properly loaded on a card, and possibly help with replacement if the card is lost or stolen.
And, when giving the card, encourage the recipient to use it in a reasonable period of time to avoid the potential of a business closing and the card becoming worthless.
Some merchants also offer the cardholder the ability to register the card to protect it against loss or theft. It may be a good idea to take advantage of this service whenever possible.
If you purchase a gift card and later experience issues, contact the merchant or our Call 4 Action office for assistance.