Consumer Payment Card News


While most gift cards issued by retailers are fee free, the general purpose gift cards issued by banks typical carry upfront fees of at least $6. This week, that all changed when Cleveland-based Charter One Bank launched a “MasterCard Gift Card” that features no upfront fees for issuing the card or for processing the order. The new stored-value, personalized card is available in 25 designs and in denominations from $25 to $500. The card is good for six months and is usually shipped within 7 to 10 business days. However, the new card is not totally devoid of fees. For example, Charter One charges a $2 fee for each ATM withdrawal or cash advance, and a $1 fee for each PIN POS transaction. Other fees include a $10 expired card fee, $10 refund processing fee, and a $2.50 monthly inactivity fee if the card remains inactive after six months. Customers who request express processing are charged $50. Bank of America, the largest issuer of “VISA Gift Cards,” charges a $5.95 fee for new cards with up to $300 in value, and a $7.95 fee for values between $300 and $600. BofA also charges a $1.50 for each ATM transaction on its network plus any surcharges from other institutions, a $2.50 monthly maintenance fee after six months, a $7.50 reissuance fee, a $15 check issuance fee, and a $25 fee for use of the card in excess of the amount stored. For more information on the “Charter One MasterCard Gift Card” visit

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