Consumer Payment Card News

FREE GIFTCARD

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 http://www.charterone.com/giftcards.

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