Many of us receive gift cards and certificates as Christmas presents and we may want to wait to use these until Valentine’s Day or some other special time of the year. But, here is why holding on to these cards may not be a good idea.
Unfortunately, there are a number of restaurants, stores and businesses that often close their doors after the first of the year. If you do not use the gift card or certificate before they close, the card or certificate could become worthless.
Sometimes, gift cards get hacked and a criminal has stolen the value from it. If you alert a business right away, they may be more willing to work with you to replace the value.
This is also a great time of year to stretch the value of these cards and certificates by using them for goods and services that are greatly discounted. Many stores and businesses are slow at the beginning of the year and they may offer deep discounts or incentives if you make a purchase in January.
And, some gift cards and certificates may have a limited time for you to use them, especially if they were part of a promotion or something that was purchased through a charity auction.
If you have a gift card or certificate for a place that has closed it’s doors, you may be able to use it online or at another location.
If the card was recently purchased with a credit card, you may be able to contest the charge with the credit card company.
If you learn too late that your gift card or certificate can no longer be used, you may want to present it to a competitor. Sometimes they will offer a discount to earn your future business.