The Perils of Pre-Paid Gift Cards

As we head into the holiday season and start looking for gifts to give to those hard to buy for people, gift cards stand out as easy gifts that everyone enjoys. But if you’re thinking of giving a pre-paid gift card that’s branded with a credit card logo, you might want to think of another gift idea.

Sometimes called pre-paid gift cards, pre-paid debit cards, stored value cards, or gift credit cards, these cards are branded with the Visa, American Express, or Master Card logo and allow you to “load” them with money that the recipient can, in theory, use anywhere that the credit cards are accepted. They work like a debit or credit card in that they are processed throug


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4 Responses to The Perils of Pre-Paid Gift Cards

  1. DayByDay says:

    I stick to writing checks for cash gifts. No problems, no fees.

  2. George says:

    Now that is a holiday financial advice article. Lines like “I know of one person…” are always sad to see; but what an excellent summary of these ridiculous card programs!
    I worked at GameStop for 2 years, and our gift cards had a maintenance fee that started after a year.

  3. Jennifer, you explained the whole matter very well. I don’t think i would buy them ever again.

    John DeFlumeri Jr.

  4. Gail says:

    Gift cards given as gifts can be pains. I realize that this isn’t about a logo card, but several years ago my brother gave me a gift card to Starbucks. I asked him gently if he realized I didn’t drink coffee. He knew I didn’t drink coffee but said they had nice treats there. The closest onee is close to 30 miles away and not located near any place that we frequent. I ended up giving the card away. Yet again this year another Starbucks card. WHY? When you give a gift card try to be sure it is appropriate to the person receiving it or give them cash or nothing. He knows I love to read and would have been thrilled with a B&N card or even a Walmart card. But yet again I have a gift card rattling around in my purse for a place I have never been to nor have any plans on going to!

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