Giving Gift Cards This Holiday Season - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/8/03

Giving Gift Cards This Holiday Season

Christmas is two and half weeks away and if you haven't found that perfect gift yet chances are your considering a gift card. As a matter of fact gift card sales are expected to reach about $40 billion this year. But there are a few things you might want to know before buying just any gift card.

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Expiration dates, service fees and charges that can cost you extra cash are a few of the reasons to be careful when purchasing gift cards this holiday season.

"I think it's important for people to ask questions before they buy gift cards. Know that some stores do charge fees if your going to buy a gift certificate or card. Also know if they have an expiration date or if they can be replaced if they are lost or stolen," said Sarah Prince, Assistant Marketing Manager of South Plains Mall.

The popularity of gift cards, analysts say is increasing, partly because there is no must have product this year. That means, more people are wanting gift cards and more people are giving them. "I do because then people can buy what they like instead of getting something they don't want," one shopper said.

"I have bought gift cards because its a lot easier if you don't know what to buy someone, then they get what they want," one shopper said.

It's predicted that gift card sales will grow 15% to 25% this holiday season. Representing 20% of all holiday sales. At the South Plains Mall gift cards are among the top 5 must have gifts this season. "I think they are very popular. Our gift certificates sales for the mall are up this holiday season. I think they're popular both for the one giving the card and the one receiving," Prince said.

But before you buy just any gift card, there are a few things you might want to remember. 

  • It's better to buy gift cards in person than online, just to make sure you are getting what you pay for.
  • Watch for fees and expiration dates.
  • Be sure to redeem the cards in a timely fashion.
  • Always keep the receipts.

The bottom line, always read the fine print and ask plenty of questions, so you are sure to get the best deal. If you receive gift cards, you'll get the most bang for the card if you redeem it during the after the Christmas sales.

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