RateCity top picks for gift cards
|Bunnings||Unlimited||Will give change when card goes below $9.95|
|IKEA||3 years||Can be used in 23 countries|
|JB Hi-Fi||Unlimited||Will honour expired gift cards|
|The Good Guys||Unlimited||Will honour expired gift cards|
Beware the fine print
|Company||Expiry date||Terms & conditions|
|Youfoodz||6 months||Short expiry period|
|Ella Bache||6 months||Short expiry period|
|Endota Spa||12 months||Charges you $10 delivery fee for the card|
|Westfield||12 months||Some retailers may choose not to accept the gift card|
|Sportsgirl||12 months||50% of value will be deducted for cancellations within 24 hours notice|
|Bing Lee||Unlimited||The gift card must be used in one transaction|
|Australia Post Visa Card||24 months||$5.95 purchase fee (up to 10% of card value). $4 fee for balance enquiry by phone.|
|Myer||24 months||Charges you $4.95 delivery fee for the card|
Getting the most out of your gift card
- Check expiry dates carefully. If they’re not clearly stated, contact the retailer, or keep a copy of the purchase receipt.
- Check the fine print for any fees for posting or activating the card.
- Treat your gift card like cash – retailers won’t honour lost or stolen cards.
- If the retailer goes bankrupt, their gift cards may become unusable e.g. Dick Smith in 2016.
- Spend the card’s full amount before the expiry date. Some retailers will transfer any remaining leftover balance to a new gift card.
Gift cards are one of the most popular presents to be found under the Christmas tree with around 34 million cards sold each year. However, despite the popularity, RateCity warns gift cards come with a number of hidden traps.
RateCity research has revealed the most common expiry date for a gift card is only 12 months, with some cards offering as little as three months to purchase your present.
Apple and Bunnings gift cards are some of the best on the market with no expiry date attached to the use of the card. Clothing retailers such as Cue and H&M are also leading the way offering shoppers 36 months to purchase a present before the gift card officially expires.
RateCity money editor Sally Tindall said even though gift cards are one of the most convenient presents to buy, shoppers should always read the fine print.
“Gift cards are meant to operate just like cash, but in reality they come with pages of terms and conditions that often work in the retailers’ favour.
“Short expiry dates are the biggest offender, but shoppers also get caught out with postage and activation fees and conditions on where and how the money is spent.
“The other way shoppers end up forfeiting their cash, is by only spending part of the value of the gift card. Often the balance left behind is never spent, and when the card expires, retailers keep the difference.
“While a couple of dollars here and there doesn’t sound like much, collectively, Australians spent $2.5 billion every year on gift cards. The Commonwealth Consumers Affairs Advisory Council estimated that up to 8 per cent of cards are never used, which equates to up to $200 million in ‘e-change’ that is lost by Australian consumers each year.
“It is also concerning some retailers are charging up to $10 to purchase a gift card and send it in the mail. Not all retailers do this, so shop around, and make sure you are getting a good deal.
“We were pleased to hear the NSW government has finally stepped in, forcing retailers to put a three-year minimum on gift card expiry dates. Although, there is no firm date for the new law to be implemented, this is certainly a move in the right direction.
Now the pressure is on other states to follow suit.