Gift cards get better, but there are still some on the naughty list

Gift cards get better, but there are still some on the naughty list

RateCity has today revealed its annual ‘naughty and nice’ gift card list, as tough new rules abolish short expiry cards.

National legislation that came into effect last month means gift cards must now have an expiry of at least three years, with the date clearly written on it.

Post-purchase fees are now also banned, to ensure that what you’re given, is exactly what you’ll get this Christmas.

The nice list:

  • Bunnings has no expiry date and will give you your balance in change if its below $10.
  • JB-Hi Fi and the Good Guys also have no expiry and will post you out a card for free.
  • Netflix and Spotify round out this year’s ‘nice’ list with, in most cases, no expiry and no hidden fees attached.

The not so nice list:

The worst offenders are typically the gift cards that are pre-loaded with money.

  • Giftstore.com.au fees can climb as high as $12.68.
  • Australia Post’s Mastercard includes a purchase fee of $5.95.
  • Westfield’s eftpos card costs $2.95, plus an extra $2.95 if you want it delivered.

RateCity.com.au research director Sally Tindall said that despite the new legislation, shoppers could still get caught out.

“Short expiry dates and post-purchase fees might have hit the scrap heap but there are still plenty of ways to get tripped up by gift cards this Christmas,” she said.

“Admin fees, credit card fees, postage fees and conditions on how the money is spent are often lurking in the terms and conditions when you do a bit of digging.”

Top traps:

  • Hidden fees.
  • Excessive postage charges.
  • Rules about where you can redeem them.

Top tips:

  • Read the terms and conditions before you buy.
  • If you have an expired card, ask the store to honour it.
  • Don’t spend extra money, just for the sake of getting your balance down to zero – If your balance is under $10, ask for it back in change.
  • If you have a few dollars on your card and you can’t get it in cash, pay it forward to someone else in the queue.

RateCity 'nice' gift card list

Company The nice bits Fees
Bunnings No expiry. Change given below $9.95. Gift cards can be personalised with a photo. Postage $2.60 for physical cards (e-gift cards are free).
The Good Guys No expiry. No fees, old expired gift cards will be honoured. Free postage for physical cards.
JB Hi-Fi No expiry. No fees, old expired gift cards will be honoured. Free postage for physical cards.
Aldi No expiry None
EB Games No expiry Free postage for physical cards.
Netflix No expiry None
Spotify No expiry for digital gift cards, 3 years for physical cards None

RateCity ‘not so nice’ gift card list

Company The no so nice bits Fees
Westfield Up to $5.90 in fees and postage, 3 year expiry. $2.95 service fee plus $2.95 delivery fee (no e-gift card option)
Australia Post

Mastercard gift card

$5.95 in fees. Purchase in store only, 3 year expiry. $5.95 purchase fee
Giftstore.com.au Up to $12.68 in fees, 3 year expiry. $9.05 postage and handling, $2.48 credit card service fee, $1.15 GST.
Coles Mastercard

gift card

3 year expiry, $5 purchase fee. Only bought in-store. $5.00 purchase fee
Sportsgirl Website says expiry is 3 years for NSW and SA and 1 year elsewhere. Gift cards can only be used in store. Postage is $6 (free over $50). No e-gift card option.
Sussan Website says expiry is 3 years for NSW and SA and 1 year elsewhere. Gift cards can only be used in store. Free postage for physical cards. No e-gift card option.

 

Tip

RateCity’s comprehensive gift card guide can be found here.

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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You don’t need a bank account to sell on eBay. But if you don’t have a bank account, you must provide either a credit card or debit card.

Can you get a payday loan without a bank account?

Yes. Some payday lenders are willing to transfer loans to prepaid debit cards instead of bank accounts.

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Paypal is a safe and convenient way to pay online without the need to share your financial details. You can send and receive money or accept credit and debit cards as a seller using Paypal.

It’s easy to link your bank account to a Paypal account and start making transactions within minutes.

To start, you first need a Paypal account (it’s free to join). When setting up your Paypal account, you will be prompted to link a credit card or bank account (or both if you wish).

PayPal works without a balance; you can use Paypal to shop or send money when your balance is zero.

When your Paypal balance is zero, Paypal will ask you to choose your preferred payment method at the checkout.

This could be either your linked bank account or credit card. Your bank details can be updated if you change banks or credit cards.

Can foreigners open bank accounts in Australia?

Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.

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All banking institutions have a website where you hit ‘apply’ on the account of your choice and step through an application in less than 10 minutes.

Here’s a list of information that is generally required for applications.

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If you decide to open a new account at the branch, make sure you ask beforehand what information you need to take with you, or take all of the above to be safe.

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Before you can open your child an account, you’ll need to have a birth certificate or passport for your baby.

As the parent or guardian, you’ll also be listed as a joint holder on the account. This means you’ll need to have proof of your identification and address (a driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate or Medicare Card).

Many banks and credit unions offer baby banks accounts. Usually, you can apply online; otherwise you can head into a local branch or office with your documents.

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Yes, most lenders that operate in Australia will let you set up a bank account online. The process is usually simple and takes five to 10 minutes. You will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary identification. Requirements differ from lender to lender, so some institutions might ask for more or different forms of ID.

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Your NAB bank account name will be updated immediately. New debit, ATM and credit cards with your updated name will also need to be issued. These usually take between five to 10 working days to be posted out to you. Your existing cards will keep working until you activate your new ones.

If you haven’t legally changed your name, but just want to change your account nicknames, you can log onto NAB and do it through the Settings/Mailbox menu.

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Most Australia-based lenders will allow you to set up a bank account online. Requirements vary from lender to lender, but you will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary ID.

How do you open a bank account under 18?

If you’re under 18 and you want to open an Australian bank account, you will need your passport or birth certificate. (Some lenders might require just a Medicare card or driver’s licence.) You can apply online or at a branch. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

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Opening a bank account online is a simple process and only takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. To get started you will need a computer or smartphone with internet access.

Information to have available when you’re ready to apply is:

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In some cases, you might be asked to provide employment details. If you’re not able to verify your identity online, most financial institutions let you provide this in the branch at a later date.

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Different bank accounts offer different features, so it’s best to compare your options to find one that suits you.

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Online

Most banks and credit unions have simple online applications that usually take no more than 10 minutes to fill out. It can be especially fast if you have your identification documents like your driver’s licence and passport handy. Sometimes you will instantly be approved and the bank account opened. However, depending on the financial institution, it may take a day or so to be processed and your account number issued. Your account information and ATM or debit card will then be mailed to you, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

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