Willis Report: What to do with all those gift cards you got - KMSP-TV

Willis Report: What to do with all those gift cards you got

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

Chances are, you are entering the new year with one or two gift cards in your wallet. That's because, for the seventh year in a row, the most-requested gift was gift cards, according to the National Retail Federation.

In fact, more money than ever before -- $118 billion -- was loaded onto gift cards, nearly 8 percent more than last year.

Unfortunately, gift cards have downsides that many of the givers never even know about. Although Congress tried to introduce consumer protections to the industry with the Credit CARD Act of 2009, there are still some limitations you need to know about.

First off, they aren't good forever. The value of a gift card you buy or receive today could fall by as much as $2.50 or more every month that the card sits unused. It's called a dormancy fee, or a charge for not using your card.

That fee can't be levied until you've held the card for 12 months. So if you throw it in a drawer and forget about the card for five years, you could lose the entire value of the card.

Some vendors are trying to get out ahead of the pack. American Express, for example, announced last fall they would drop fees associated with all of their gift cards, including, dormancy fees, balance-checking fees, and card replacement fees.

If the vendor is a retailer you never frequent, it's easy to let the card languish. Fortunately, there is a marketplace for selling cards online that may help you get at least some of that cash back.

  • Giftcardgranny.com, for example, will help you compare sites that offer exchanges for your gift card. The company vets players and picks a handful to promote.
  • Alula.com directs consumers to kiosks that take gift cards. These specialty kiosks take scores of cards from different retailers and pay 65 to 85 percent of the face value.
  • You can set your own price for a gift card at Raise.com, but the site takes a 15 percent cut when you sell it.

As with any service offered online, you'll want to check out the company providing gift card services. Look for online reviews and read the site's policies.

In short, you have to manage a gift card just like regular money. Know how long it is good for and use it before you lose value.

Interact with Gerri on Twitter @GerriWillisFBN and Facebook for more information, or to voice your concerns and questions.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

  • Good Day Atlanta

    Will they melt? Good Day tests Walmart ice cream sandwiches

    Will they melt? Good Day tests Walmart ice cream sandwiches

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:48 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:48:05 GMT
    A summertime treat makes headlines for its reported unusual longevity. A mom in Cincinnati, Ohio told WCPO-TV that she left her son's Walmart ice cream sandwich outside overnight- and it never fully melted!
    A summertime treat makes headlines for its reported unusual longevity. A mom in Cincinnati, Ohio told WCPO-TV that she left her son's Walmart ice cream sandwich outside overnight- and it never fully melted!
  • Citizens concerned over Fulton County road

    Citizens concerned over Fulton County road

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:44:05 GMT
    A local advocate group says their part of town has been neglected for years by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The group "Citizens for Better Roads in South Fulton County" says finally, improvements are coming to I-285 where they live.
    A local advocate group says their part of town has been neglected for years by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The group "Citizens for Better Roads in South Fulton County" says finally, improvements are coming to I-285 where they live.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices