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Old 12-27-2012, 09:31 AM
 
Location: I live wherever I am.
1,935 posts, read 3,854,882 times
Reputation: 3259

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I'm finally going to ask, after years of wondering.

WHY would anyone buy these things to give as a gift to someone?

Do they think we're all stupid? "Here's a gift card that you can use just like cash at any place where American Express or Visa are accepted!" So there is that one restriction already. To make it worse, there is a "purchase charge" for these things!! A $25 Vanilla Visa gift card comes with a $3.95 purchase charge! So it costs $28.95 to give something to someone that he can use like $25 cash at certain retail outlets. That's a 15.8% fee!

Ummm........

WHY NOT JUST GIVE 'EM THE CASH?!?!?! You wanna give me something that I can use like $25 cash with NO restrictions on where I can spend it? Give me a $20 bill and a $5 bill! No purchase charge! No restrictions!

Business-specific gift cards are more restricted, naturally, but they don't have purchase charges.

What's the deal, y'all? Why do people buy these things rather than merely giving cash?
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:04 AM
 
Location: southwestern PA
20,419 posts, read 38,526,936 times
Reputation: 39090
I don't know of anyone who buys them.
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Old 12-27-2012, 03:17 PM
 
3,703 posts, read 3,279,887 times
Reputation: 2150
I have no idea, I wouldn't want to pay the service fee either, but I did receive several of these cards as gifts this year. Problem is they will get me coming and going because I am the type of person that always forgets I have these cards and they sit in a drawer for 6 months
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:58 PM
 
9,651 posts, read 12,600,818 times
Reputation: 15135
These gift cards were initially started as 'corporate' gifts. Happy Birthday employee, here's a $50 Amex gift card. Congratulations on your employment anniversary, here's a $100 Visa gift card. They were bought by corporations for use all over the world and without attempting to figure out what stores are available where. They ended up being popular to those who want to give a gift card but not tie the user to a specific store.

I don’t think it makes much sense when you have stores like Sears and Target that covers so many types of products, but sometimes a person simply wants to give a gift without trying to figure out what a person would like or where they shop.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:12 AM
 
493 posts, read 1,025,494 times
Reputation: 290
Are these also the types of cards that start losing value if after a time you don't use them?
"Dormancy fees," they call them -- usually after 12 months.
(Not that I'd hold a card that long, but some nephew or niece who just tossed the card on the dresser might not find it until many months later!)

These cards would probably just fade away if consumers would just start reading the small print.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Diaspora
21,580 posts, read 24,748,945 times
Reputation: 8941
Quote:
Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
...WHY NOT JUST GIVE 'EM THE CASH?!?!?! You wanna give me something that I can use like $25 cash with NO restrictions on where I can spend it? Give me a $20 bill and a $5 bill!

...Why do people buy these things rather than merely giving cash?
Back in the old days cash was acceptable when given by relatives. Most 1st and 2nd generation european immigrants to the US still do. Outside of the US I get/give cash. People who give gift cards want it to seem as if they spent time looking for a gift and couldn't figure out what to buy. Thus the gift card. It could have been worse, It could have a vase.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:06 PM
 
9,651 posts, read 12,600,818 times
Reputation: 15135
Quote:
Originally Posted by persnicketygal View Post
Are these also the types of cards that start losing value if after a time you don't use them?
"Dormancy fees," they call them -- usually after 12 months.
(Not that I'd hold a card that long, but some nephew or niece who just tossed the card on the dresser might not find it until many months later!)

These cards would probably just fade away if consumers would just start reading the small print.
Fee's are outlined in federal law and each state sets strandards within their state that may be stricter than the federal laws. Some states do not allow gift cards to expire, others limit dormancy fees to a very small amount. There are states that require any automatic expiration (usually gift 'certificates') be in large type. Still, there are states that say once you use the gift card or if unused you check the balance, that resets the dormancy date to that date. In a rare case or two, some gift cards in some states can never expire.
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