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.

Did you find this helpful? Why not share this news?

Advertisement

RateCity

Money Health Newsletter

Subscribe for news, tips and expert opinions to help you make smarter financial decisions

By submitting this form, you agree to the RateCity Privacy Policy, Terms of Use and Disclaimer.

Advertisement

Learn more about bank accounts

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.

How can I deposit cash into my bank account?

The traditional way to deposit cash into your bank account is to go to a branch and give it to a teller. These days, many banks will allow you to make deposits through an ATM as well.

Can I have a PayPal account without a bank account?

You don’t need a bank account to send or receive money through PayPal. However, you do need a bank account if you want to withdraw money from your PayPal account.

How can I check my bank account balance online?

Checking your bank account balance online is a simple process. Once you’ve logged in to your online banking, clock on the relevant account and the balance should be visible.

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.

Do you need a bank account to sell on eBay?

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.

How can you cash a cheque without a bank account?

You can cash a cheque without a bank account if you visit the bank that issued the cheque. For example, if somebody sends you a cheque from Bank X (as written on the cheque) and you visit Bank X, it’s likely that Bank X will let you cash the cheque – provided the person who wrote the cheque has enough money in their account. Bank X would probably charge you a fee for the service.

Can I start a bank account online?

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.

Which bank is best for business accounts?

Unfortunately, there’s no definitive answer to the question of which bank is best for business accounts. That’s because ‘best’ will differ from customer to customer, depending on their unique circumstances. These include not only your company’s financial position, but also its size, its age and the sector in which it operates. Another factor to consider is what features you want in a bank account. Your business may require different features than another business; and your business may require different features tomorrow than it does today.

The best thing to do is to thoroughly research the market before opening a business account. And when you do open an account, you should reassess your options every year or two, because the market moves quickly. A particular bank might offer the best account today, but be surpassed by one or several rivals tomorrow.

What do I need to open a company bank account?

To open a company bank account, you will probably have to provide 100 points of ID, an ABN and an ACN. You will probably have to provide the details of all signatories as well.

How do you deposit change into your bank account?

One way to deposit change into your bank account is to visit a branch. Many lenders will also allow you to deposit your change through one of their ATMs.

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.

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.

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.