Things to consider before buying a gift card

Are you still trying to find the perfect Christmas gift? Well, if you are running out of time or ideas, a gift card could be a good option. But, before you buy, there are a few things that you might want to keep in mind.

Gift cards can be very convenient and well received. But, here is what you need to watch out for: When making a purchase, check things out to be sure that the business is likely to stay in business throughout the coming year. If they close, these gift cards and certificates could become worthless. 

Read the fine print or ask questions about fees that are charged for purchasing a card or assessed against the balance. If the card charges a monthly maintenance or dormant fee, let the recipient know so that they can use it as soon as possible. And, make sure that the card has not been tampered with prior to purchase, and that you keep the receipt, just in case a problem should arise later.

In addition to hanging on to the receipt, make a copy of the front and back of the card, just in case the card is lost, stolen, or compromised. If this happens, you might be able to get the seller or card issuer to refund, restore the balance, or re-issue the card. 

If you purchased it with a major credit card, you might be able to contest the charge. But, if the business goes out of business and you wait too long to take action, you could be out the funds that were loaded on the card. Keep in mind, if it gets lost or stolen, especially in the mail, you probably will not be able to get it back.

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