More Gift Card Drawbacks

Learn how to avoid gift card fees when you’re stocking up for the holidays. Make sure you get your money’s worth.

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We recently wrote about how you can score bonus gift cards this holiday season, making them even more attractive as an easy gift option. But as we also mentioned, the fine print varies and many cards have fees. Check out these tips NerdWallet came up with after an analysis of several cards…

The American Express Bluebird is a low-fee, safe option, but requires registration with a Social Security number.

Store-branded gift cards don’t have inactivity fees unless there is no activity for 12 months or more, per the CARD Act of 2009.

Don’t buy a store gift card if they charge you shipping fees. Instead, send an e-gift card. If you’re set on giving a physical gift card from that store, you might as well get a bank-issued one, which will provide greater versatility.

Make sure the store card will replace if lost or stolen. Also be sure to register the card (if applicable) and to keep a receipt as proof of purchase.

Bank-issued gift cards will probably cost you, from mandatory fees like purchase and shipping to incidentals like replacement or inactivity charges.

You can see more tips and find out where fees are common over at NerdWallet.

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