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If you’ve received a gift card this holiday season, lucky you! Before you go out for a shopping spree, here are a few things you should know about gift cards, so you’re not caught out by the fine print.

 

Check the expiry

Many of us often forget about the gift card in our wallet and it may have already expired by the time we remember to use it. Set up a reminder in your calendar to use up your balance before it expires. Some gift cards have a grace period after the expiry date, so double check the terms and conditions before you throw it out.

 

Check the balance

Many store gift cards allow you to easily check the balance in-store, online or over the phone. However, double check that there are no fees to check the balance. If you don’t have enough balance remaining to cover your total purchase, you’ll need to pay for the remaining amount using cash or credit.

 

Do you have to use the whole amount at once?

Another thing you should check is if you have to use the whole amount at once or if you can use it for an unlimited number of transactions until the whole amount has been spent.

 

What if it’s lost or stolen?

Treat your gift card like cash. If it’s lost or stolen, you probably won’t be able to recover any amounts remaining.

 

What are the restrictions?

Can you only use the gift card at certain stores? Or is it an e-gift card that must be used online?

 

What are the fees?

Thinking about gifting someone you know a gift card? Some cards charge an issue fee which will add to your cost.

 

Can you get the remaining amount refunded for cash?

Gift cards can’t usually be exchanged for cash, as some cards are intended to be redeemed for products or experiences within participating retailers, unless there is a remaining amount on the card that the business believes can’t be conveniently used.

We recommend that you refer to the card issuer’s T&Cs for more details.

 

Looking for some other savvy tips? Check out our Life Savvy section for a range of articles.