Answers to the gift card dilemma

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Elizabeth Thomas – email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) – Viewed as better than cash, the gift of a gift card is a popular choice come Christmas time.

Whether they offer a favorite meal, outfit, or service, estimates show nearly 25% of cards given, are never even used.

"I absolutely love gift cards. It's better than spending regular cash. You know, you just go out and buy whatever you need, and just swipe the card and you're done," says one shopper.

Approximately $25 billion was spent on gift cards for Christmas 2010.

One shopper said she spent her gift card about a week after Christmas. Another said they had drawers full of unused cards.

Fees used to diminish an unused cards value, but 2009's credit card act changed the game. Fees must now be clearly disclosed—and your card's amount can't expire for at least five years.

Forgotten cards aren't charged until 12 months of inactivity, and if money remains on an expired card, you can get a replacement.

If you end up with a card you won't use, don't toss it just yet. Several websites offer trades, credit, even cash for unused gift cards. Just do your research beforehand.

Shopping advisors say despite the social stigma of giving cash, in some cases, it may be the most appropriate and completely acceptable gift for someone.

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