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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

CompanyThe nice bitsFees
BunningsUnlimited 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 GuysUnlimited 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-FiUnlimited expiry. For any value between $10 and $500.None
Woolworths Wish Gift CardUnlimited 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 GamesUnlimited expiry. Can be redeemed in stores across Australia and New Zealand.Free delivery on e-gift cards.
NetflixUnlimited 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

CompanyThe fine printFees
Giftcardstore.com.au3 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 card3 years expiry. High fees.$5.95 purchase fee.
Event Cinema3 years expiry. Booking fees may apply. Not available for use in VIC or TAS.Postage $9 (e-gift cards are free).
Westfield3 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 Spa3 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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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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