Everything You Need to Know About Gift Cards for the Holidays

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Tis' the season for giving, and one of the best (and easiest) gift ideas is to give a gift card so that a special person in your life can pick out exactly what they want. In fact, over $100 billion dollars are spent on gift cards and the average person receives around six of them, so it is crucial to remember that not gift cards are created equally. Here are some tips and tricks to find the perfect gift card this holiday season.

1. THE DOLLAR AMOUNT IS A LIE -The amount on the card will slowly dwindle as the company will charge you interest on the card. This will range anywhere between 5-10% of what you purchased. In addition to this, you pay a fee to activate the card, so the amount of money for both you and the recipient adds up.

2. GIFT CARDS EXPIRE - Many gift cards only last for 12 months -- or even worse, less than that. To prevent all the money from disappearing read your gift card closely to see if there is an expiration date. If there is, alert the recipient to spend the gift card as soon as possible.

3. STORES LOCK YOU INGift cards require you to spend the set amount of money at that particular store, yet the recipient of the gift may wish to spend the gift funds somewhere else.

4. YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS BEING RE-SOLD -Often the store that you purchase the gift card from will collect your personal information and use it for their marketing purposes. Some companies will even go as far as selling your information to other marketers.

5. SPECIAL DEALS WITH GIFT CARDSRemember that special deals with gift card are too good to be true. For example, two massages for the price of one may be the rate for the introductory massage only. If you are purchasing the card for a regular customer they will not be able to take advantage of the introductory rate which was what the card was intended for.

When purchasing gift cards it is also important to think about your Gift Card personality. Here are some tips from Gift Card Weekend on how to look for the perfect gift card, and how they can vary based on one's personality.

The I Have Something Specific in Mind Shopper: A gift that was once thought to be "impersonal' is now a holiday staple. In a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, six in 10 (59.8 percent) of those polled say they would like to receive a gift card this year, up from 57.7 percent last year and the most in the survey's history. The reason why? According to a Gift Card Impressions survey, it's because 51 percent of gift card recipients have a 'planned purchase'? or something they are seeking to buy.

The It's Burning a Hole in My Pocket Spender: The It's Burning a Hole in My Pocket spenders are by far the most rare breed of Gift Card recipient, according to the survey commissioned by Gift Card Impressions and conducted by Trozzolo Communications Group. Approximately fifteen percent of shoppers will spend their gift cards within two weeks of receipt; slightly fewer of those shoppers (13 percent) will spend their gift cards on an 'impulse purchase.'

The I'm Going to make this Gift Stretch Bargain Hunter: Eighty-seven percent of gift card recipients will wait for a discount or incentive before parting with their gift cards, specifying that a designated weekend or a sale could entice them to spend their holiday cards to get more 'bang for their buck.'?

The Perfect Purchase Purchaser: Most gift card recipients (53 percent) coordinate cashing in their gift cards with their ability to make a 'perfect purchase.' Which means that the 68 percent of holiday shoppers who will purchase gifts cards for their family and friends this holiday season, are essentially giving them the perfect gift.

Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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