Gift cards: The Christmas naughty and nice list

Gift cards: The Christmas naughty and nice list

RateCity.com.au has released its annual ‘naughty and nice’ gift card list, as Australians rush to find the perfect last-minute present this Christmas.

Legislation introduced last November means gift cards must have a minimum expiry date of three years, with the date clearly written on it. Post-purchase fees are now also banned.

However, despite the tough new rules, RateCity.com.au is warning shoppers they could still get caught out.

The nice list:

  • Bunnings has no expiry date and will give your balance in change if its below $10.
  • JB-Hi Fi has no expiry and free delivery on physical gift cards.
  • Netflix offers unlimited expiry and no fees.

The not-so-nice list:

  • giftcardstore.com.au fees can climb as high as $21.66 for a $500 gift card.
  • Australia Post’s Mastercard includes a purchase fee of $5.95.
  • Westfield’s card fees can cost up to $5.95, depending on where you purchase them.

RateCity.com.au research director, Sally Tindall, said while short expiry dates and post-purchase fees were largely now a thing of the past, shoppers should still be on their toes when buying gift cards.

“Processing fees, excessive postage charges and rules about where you can and can’t redeem the money can all trip unsuspecting shoppers up,” she said.

“Before you purchase the card, read through the terms and conditions to make sure the rules are going to suit the person you’re buying for.

“If a shop tries to sell you a card with an expiry date that’s earlier than December 2023, tell them that’s not good enough.

“If you’re lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a gift card this Christmas, keep it in a safe place, because most stores don’t refund lost or stolen cards.

“If you’ve bought what you want and have a couple of dollars left over, ask if the shop can give it to you in change or consider paying it forward to the person behind you in the queue. That way you can avoid throwing away e-change,” she said.

Tips for people buying gift cards this Christmas

  • Look around for specials. For example, PayPal is currently offering 15% off Catch gift cards.
  • Check the expiry to make sure it’s written on the card and lasts for at least three years.
  • Read the terms and conditions before you buy.
  • Check for hidden fees and if there are any, shop around for a fee-free alternative.
  • Check the redemption rules and make sure it suits the person you are buying for.

Tips for people receiving gift cards this Christmas

  • Don’t spend extra unnecessarily, just to get your balance down to zero. If your balance is under $10, ask for it back in change.
  • If the store doesn’t give change and you have a few dollars on the card, think about paying it forward to the person behind you in the queue.
  • If you have an expired card, try your luck – see if the store will still honour it.

RateCity 'nice' gift card list

Company The nice bits Fees
Bunnings Unlimited 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 Unlimited expiry. For any value between $20 and $500. $0.50 for SMS. e-gift cards are free via email or pick up physical cards in store.
JB Hi-Fi Unlimited expiry. For any value between $10 and $500. None
Woolworths Wish Gift Card Unlimited expiry. Can be purchased in store or online. Can also be used at Big W, Dan Murphys, BWS, Cellarmasters and participating Caltex. E-gift cards are free via email or pick up physical cards in store.

$5.50 if posted.

EB Games Unlimited expiry. Can be redeemed in stores across Australia and New Zealand. Free delivery on e-gift cards.
Netflix Unlimited expiry. Can be bought from a variety of stores including Target, Woolworths, Coles and Australia Post or online. Can be added to existing Netflix subscriptions or used on a new one. None

RateCity 'naughty' gift card list

Company The fine print Fees
Giftcardstore.com.au 3 years expiry. High fees. Activate in 3 months or card may be cancelled. Fees range from $5.63 to $21.66 for a physical gift card.

$4.95 handling fee for a virtual gift card + credit card surcharges apply.

Australia Post Mastercard gift card 3 years expiry. High fees. $5.95 purchase fee.
Event Cinema 3 years expiry. Booking fees may apply. Not available for use in VIC or TAS. Postage $9 (e-gift cards are free).
Westfield 3 years expiry. High fees. For digital card you must download the app and sign up for a membership. $2.95 service fee for a digital card. Up to $5.95 for a physical card.
Endota Spa 3 years expiry. High postage fees. Cancellations within 24 hours of appointment may result in a cancellation fee being charged. Sunday treatments may include a surcharge. Postage up to $10 (e-gift cards are free). Credit card surcharges.

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Research Director Sally Tindall 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.

Do you need a bank account to get a credit card?

To get a credit card, you need to show proof of income, which will almost certainly require you to have a bank account.

Can I link a bank account to Paypal?

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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Opening a bank account is one of the simplest online tasks you could perform. The hard part is deciding which type of bank account you want to open.

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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How long does it take to open a bank account?

The length of time it takes to open a bank account varies, depending on whether you want to open it online or in person.

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.

In person

If you decide to go into a branch or office to open a bank account, it may take about half an hour. Make sure you bring your identification documents with you. Also book an appointment if you can, otherwise you might be forced to wait in line. Sometimes your ATM or debit card will be issued on the spot, otherwise you’ll need to wait for one to arrive by mail, which usually takes between five to 10 days.

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If you’ve just welcome a new baby into the world, congratulations. Opening a bank account for your child can be a wonderful first gift.

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Opening a bank account in Australia is usually a straightforward process. Some banks give you the option of opening an account online, while others require you to visit a branch.

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