Wednesday, November 22, 2006

2006 Gift Card Landscape

Good news about gift cards.  I was just thinking the other day about these practices and it looks like, just in time for the holiday season, you can find out which ones have done away with those pesky expiration dates (are you listening Amazon?) and fees.

And a hint for the upcoming holiday:  Gift cards make great gifts...

2006 Gift Card Study (Page 1 of 4)
If you want a gift card you can use anywhere, you'll pay for the privilege, while gift cards from individual retailers are less costly and sprouting more options.

Those are the major findings of the third annual Gift Card Study.

Retail store gift cards continue to be a consumer-friendly credit product, with fees and expiration dates the exception rather than the rule. The retailers can make a profit from the merchandise users buy.

Gift cards from the major credit card issuers, though, still carry an assortment of fees. All continue to charge monthly "maintenance" or "dormancy" fees, ranging from $2 per month to $3, if the gift card isn't used within a certain period of time. All but American Express have expiration dates.

Bankrate surveyed the top 25 retailers, as identified by the National Retail Federation, about the costs, terms and conditions of the gift cards they offer, both plastic and electronic. We also surveyed the four largest credit card companies: American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard and Visa.

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