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Gift Credit Card: Thoughtful and Sensible

People are different. Different people have different needs. When giving gifts one can never be sure whether what we give with the best of intentions is appreciated, or not. Social mores prevent us from asking directly what someone would like as a gift. Similarly it would be socially inept to tell someone that you didn’t like their gift. Hence recipients will never tell you if they didn’t like your gift. This makes the custom of gifting counterproductive. The only people who benefit are those who sell the gift.

Fortunately, gifting just got easier. Welcome to the world of gift credit cards.

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What is a gift credit card?
First of all the term is a misnomer, for a gift credit card is actually a prepaid debit card that can be gifted. You preload a piece of plastic with the amount you’d like to gift and your recipients can use it buy whatever they please. Takes the hassle out of gifting; after all what better gift can there be, but choice.

Where do you get a gift credit card?

You can pick up gift credit cards from financial institutions, or participating retailers. Some cards are available online while some are also available at kiosk locations.

Both VISA and MasterCard provide this convenience in conjunction with their partner institutions. American Express also provides gift cards.

Types of Gift Cards?

Gift credit cards can either be general or store cards.

General cards like VISA, MasterCard or American Express Gift Cards can be used any place where the brand is accepted, whereas store cards can only be used at particular stores.

Store cards are those that are handed out by restaurants and retailers. Examples are Walmart gift card, iTunes gift card, Starbucks gift cards.

General Information

  • Gift credit cards require activation before use. Some cards get activated during the first purchase.
  • Gift credit cards may be limited by geographical area. Preferably choose a card that is without this limitation.
  • Most gift credit cards are non re-loadable though some may be.
  • Gift credit cards are riddled with fees. Make sure you see the fine print. Gift credit cards have a processing fee and an inactivity fee.
  • Split tender is a form of payment where you can pay for a purchase partly by the gift credit card and partly by any other method in case the balance on the card is not enough. However not all stores allow you to avail of this feature.
  • The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 has been drafted with the interests of consumers in mind. With respect to gift cards the act dictates that purchase fees may be deducted only at the at the point of sale during the first 12 months. All pertinent fees to be charged after the curfew period of 12 months must be clearly displayed on the card. The act makes mandatory that bank gift cards may not carry more than one fee in a month. Also all gift cards must have at least 5 years validity from the date of issue.
  • Gift credit cards make ideal gifts for friends, family, or employees. It is possible to personalize the gift with pictures or gift messages attached to the card itself.
  • Since many teenagers and students are used to make purchases online, a pre paid gift credit card serves them better than cash or vouchers.
  • Please make sure that along with the card you provide the recipient with all the materials you received with the card on purchase, including a copy of the terms and conditions. Gift credit cards make an intelligent choice; making people smile has never felt so good.

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