Gift Cards Have Lowered Fees and Bumped Up Consumer Protections

What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Gift cards have become a favorite choice for the holidays. Now that more cards are low on fees and high on security, they're also a consumer-friendly present this holiday season.

Over the past several years, small envelopes containing a plastic gift card and topped with a tiny bow have bumped many of the traditional gift-wrapped boxes under the Christmas tree.

Gift cards have been the most requested holiday gift for the past nine years. Because they take the guess work out of trying to choose the perfect present, they’re also a popular choice with shoppers.

Bankrate recently conducted a gift card survey and found that not only are gift cards getting cheaper to buy, but they’re offering more consumer protections, for hazards like theft and loss, than they have in the past.

“With so many recent data breaches and the transition to EMV chip credit cards, security is top of mind for many Americans,” Bankrate.com banking analyst Claes Bell said in a statement. “Retailers are taking note and have made gift cards a much safer way to spend money.”

Sounds great, right? So, which gift card should you buy? Well, that depends on your needs. For example, you need to consider how much money you want on the card, if it’s reloadable and whether it can be purchased and downloaded to a smartphone.

Fortunately, Bankrate did some homework to make it easier for you to select a gift card this holiday season. Bankrate surveyed more than 60 different gift cards, including general purpose cards, store-branded cards, restaurant cards, airline cards and gas station cards.

Highlights from the Bankrate card comparison survey include:

  • Security codes: About half of gift cards offer a security code option now, up from 35 percent in 2014.
  • E-cards: Roughly 67 percent of gift cards are now available as e-cards, an increase from 59 percent in 2014. This is a great option for millennials and other people who have a tendency to misplace gift cards. The “eGift cards are popular for several reasons,” said Monica Eaton-Cardone, CEO at Chargebacks911. “They’re offered by most major retailers, funds are available for use within minutes, and balances can be monitored online.”
  • Purchase fee: About 17 percent of gift cards had purchase fees attached to them last holiday season. This year, that number has dropped to 13 percent.
  • Expiration: Bankrate found that just 8 percent of gift cards have an expiration date. Some expirations apply solely to the physical card, not the funds that are loaded on the cards.

Although Bankrate’s gift card comparison is a valuable tool for consumers, Bell said this: “Everyone should still do their research before making a purchase, but generally, consumers don’t have to worry about being swindled when buying or using a gift card from a major bank or retailer.”

Check out “FBI Warns of Gift Card Fraud, Offers Tips to Avoid Scams.”

How often do you purchase gift cards? How do you select a card? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Lookin’ Good! How to Get a Killer Deal on Eyeglasses

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,951 more deals!