The demand for gift cards fluctuates from year to year, and Connecticut Better Business Bureau says this year’s forecasts reveal a strong demand for them.
A survey last year from financial publisher Bankrate found more than half of us intend to buy at least one gift card as a present, but only 27 percent of people prefer to receive a gift card as opposed to a tangible item.
“Gift cards have been one of the most popular holiday presents for decades and that has not changed,” according to Connecticut BBB spokesman Howard Schwartz. “What has changed is the way consumers intend to spend money this holiday season, whether they buy a gift card for someone else or for themselves. That freedom is one of the reasons for cards’ popularity.”
The market research company NPD Group’s 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Study reveals 39 percent of consumers plan to purchase so-called experiential gifts this holiday season. Those are gifts such as wine tastings, concert tickets, and spa treatments, and gift cards are a convenient way to pay for those.
Gift cards are also popular with retailers. Historically, three out of four people spend more money than the value of the card.
If you receive a gift card as a present but don’t want it, there are websites that allow you to buy or sell gift cards. Cards with the highest trade-in value are from gas stations, retail chains and grocery stores. They usually sell for 80 to 90 cents on the dollar, while less popular cards can go for half their face value or less. Check out gift card exchange websites at bbb.org to verify if they are legitimate and have any complaints.
BBB offers some tips to help you get the most out of your gift cards:
Buy them where an employee can see them – If the gift cards are on a rack out of view – a thief can tamper with them, transfer the value of the card and then return it to the rack.
Use them or lose them – As much as 10 percent of gift cards are never redeemed because they get misplaced, forgotten or lost. Another reason to use them as soon as possible is in case a business shuts down and the card cannot be used.
Treat your card like cash – If the card is lost or stolen, contact the issuer immediately. Some will re-issue a card for a fee but others will not. That is another reason to include the original receipt with the gift card before you give it.
Be very careful buying from an individual – If someone is selling gift cards online through a classified ad site for example, you risk buying a stolen, counterfeit or empty card without any opportunity to get your money back in the event of fraud.
Some cards have fees – This applies to cards issued by banks. They can charge fees for inactivity if they are not used within 12 months. In contrast, under Connecticut law, gift cards cannot have an expiration date or inactivity fees, even if the card is purchased from another state.
You will find additional holiday tips at bbb.org.
The Roundup currently has over 5,700 subscriptions and a local social media following of over 95,000 readers across multiple social media sites, apps, pages, and groups.
The Roundup is also a proud member of WordPress. This affiliation offers readers more news from FOX 61 and CBS Connecticut on The Roundup.
Latest Stories From Roundup Partner : FOX 61
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s acrimonious battle for the U.S. Senate headed Thursday to a legally required hand recount after an initial review by ballot-counting machines showed Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson separated by less than 13,000 votes. But the highly watched contest for governor between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum appeared to be over, with a machine recount showing DeSantis with a large enough advantage over Gillum to avoid a hand recount in that […]
NEW YORK — Facebook said it’s making progress on detecting hate speech, graphic violence and other violations of its rules, even before users see and report them. Facebook said that during the April-to-September period, it doubled the amount of hate speech it detected proactively, compared with the previous six months. The findings were spelled out Thursday in Facebook’s second semiannual report on enforcing community standards. The reports come as Facebook grapples with challenge after challenge, ranging from fake news to Facebook’s role […]
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — A feel-good tale of a homeless man using his last $20 to help a stranded New Jersey woman buy gas was actually a complete lie, manufactured to get strangers to donate more than $400,000 to help the down-and-out good Samaritan, a prosecutor said Thursday. Burlington County prosecutor Scott Coffina announced criminal charges against the couple who told the story to newspapers and television stations along with the homeless man who conspired with them to tell the […]
NEW YORK — Boston’s Mookie Betts and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich were runaway winners of the Most Valuable Player awards after the 26-year-old outfielders each led their teams to first-place finishes with dominant seasons that included batting titles. Betts received 28 first-place votes and 410 points from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in balloting announced Thursday. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, a two-time MVP, followed with one first-place vote and 265 points. Trout tied the record of four second-place […]