if you don't use it quick enough, a $100 gift card can turn into $10 real quick. some of them have like a $2 a month 'fee' if you haven't used it. Cala got one for $20 last year and by the time she used it it was only work $8.
It's a scam!
Wasn't there a law passed awhile back that made those sort of 'maintenance fee' illegal?
I just love National City. Both of my bank accounts are with them, and they've never been less than stellar, at least to me. I remember walking into my local branch in June of 2003 thinking "What a novel concept! I hope it lasts" and I haven't thought about it since, but I love stuff like that, and am glad to see it HAS lasted. Good idea, for sure :)
I got to go on my branch rotation at NCB the December after they rolled out these gift cards. let me tell you - they caught on like wildfire! I think I sold 20 of them to one person who was using them to give Christmas bonuses instead of carrying around cash. It's also neat to pay the extra dollar to have it personalized with the receiver's name on it, but you have to plan ahead for that.
I use one of those myself. I like it.
gift certificates of any sort are a GREAT moneymaker for businesses. At my place of employment, we sometimes have people redeeming gift certificates that we issued back in like 1997. (this is not a bad thing, it's just weird... they pull out this tattered card and ask if it's still good. Of course it is.) We certainly have WAY more certificates out than ever get redeemed, for sure.
In fact, my boss has been offering a 20%discount on gift certificates bought after 12/1 but before Xmas (and they are only valid AFTER Xmas) and she still makes the good money even with a discount.
Every place I ever worked had expiration dates on them (or with cards, a fee after at least a year).
I'm suprised that there are one from 97 still floating out there.
I love the pre-paid card idea, (Visa Buxx and the like) .. Manage spending (low fees) and accepted nearly everywhere -- and MUCH safer to carry around than cash. Quite similar to a traveler's check now that you think about it. And they're rechargeable and what not.
Me, I'd rather .. well do a lot of things than give out gift cards as gifts, bleh. How tacky..
Now, for me, a Borders gift card is a treat - it's like they bought me the whole store, until I make the decision - Schroedinger's giftcard.
And, actually, one of the best gifts Ferrett and I ever gave came in a small envelope with "For You" generically inscribed on the front. We gave it to friends who were new parents, and inside was a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant and a note promising an evening of babysitting.
See, the Visa idea ruins the whole gift card love for me. Why? Because with a gift card, I have to spend it on something for me. Gosh darn it, I know I'm broke and need to buy groceries, but this gift card is only good at Barnes & Noble! Guess I'll have to buy books instead. But if I get cash -- or a Visa gift card -- then I feel obligated to use it on all the outstanding bills and necessities of life. Bah. Bring on the store-specific gift cards! I'd rather suffer through one or two to a store I hate (my sister used to always give me cards to HER favorite stores, Gap and Old Navy, where a woman with hips or a chest cannot shop) than lose the joy of spending on something utterly impractical.
YEs you have a good point, I had an Amex gift card and wound up buying something completely boring with it, something I NEEDED.
When I had a Bed Bath and Beyond one I got this AMAZING stockpot, so huge you could cook a baby in it (or a small poodle)! I never would have gotten something like that on my own...or I would have debated about it a VERY long time.
2005-11-03 12:53 pm (UTC)
don't give ALL your friends the same gift...
I have a nephews in other states that givig them a card like this works.....they can spend it wherever they want and I don't have to worry about mailing packages....LOL...yes it's the easy way to give a gift but I'm lazy@@
2005-11-03 01:33 pm (UTC)
Re: don't give ALL your friends the same gift...
I am notorius for the "oh, crap I forgot about [name]! Well, there's always Amazon!"
Here, have this token for $10 of cinema shows (regardless that they come in $5.95 doses). Or alternatively, you could use this token, that's usable pretty much anywhere, which we call a "bank note".
I can see why shops and stuff like gift tokens. Free money, guaranteed sales, and if they never use 'em, well so much the better. What I can't see is why anyone ever feels that a gift token worth £5 is in any way preferable to a bank note of the same denomination.
There is a website where they do 1 shot credit cards. That's kind of a cool idea. Credit it from somewhere, it generates you a 'visa number' with the account pre-credited and it's good for one transaction. Now that I can see uses for, but not in the land of gift giving.
Actually, there's a thought. Is a visa 'gift card' the best thing ever for money laundering?
Money laundering. Now there's an interesting thought.
And if they do, you can feign horror: "Oh my god, I must've gotten the cards backwards! I gave the paperboy $100
ROTFL! I would never do that...but it is such a tempting idea...
I don't understand this part:
There's a reason why places like Barnes & Noble and Mall of America love gift cards: they are known in the industry and "free money." People redeem them at a rate of 75-90%. Meaning a minimum of 10% of Free Cash to the business - not a bad profit subsidy. Why wouldn't VISA issuers want a piece of that action?
You mean the card doesn't have the buying power of the dollar value it's given? What? I'm confused.
Meaning people don't ever bring them back - they lose them, or they use up a portion of them and forget that there's any money left on them.
Those were actually out last year. At least, on a limited basis. One local bank had them, but you had to have an account at their bank to be able to get one. We'd checked because we thought it would be the perfect gift for our (then) pre-teen. Very hard to buy for, that girl can be. I'm hoping to find one more easily this year, though, with the increase in availability I've seen so far. =o)
How weird. I had a dream about this very thing the other night, except it went something like this:
The MasterCard Infidelity Card!
That's right, a stand-alone credit card, "charged" with as much money as you'd like. Keep your mistress in the style she's accustomed to!
Fancy dinner out, while wife is home with the kids: $200
Jewelry on your lover's birthday: $1,000
The little wife never seeing a credit card statement: Priceless.