Consumer Payment Card News

Gift Card Tips

You have received a gift card during the holiday season so now is the time to bone up on the do’s and don’ts. Numero Uno: use the card promptly — dont save it in the sock drawer for a rainy day. There may be monthly fees and other issues relating to the cards expiration date. The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association also suggests the following:

1. Understand the terms and conditions. Read the information that came with your card (or is available online) and record the card number and the customer service telephone number. Pay special attention to fees (if applicable) and when those fees are charged. Also, check the cards expiration date and policy.

2. Keep your card secure. Safeguard your card. If it is lost or stolen, report it immediately to the customer service number.

3. Know your balance. Check how much money you have on the card before going shopping (most cards offer telephone and online services to do this) and if you’re making a purchase that is larger than the amount available on your card, be sure to tell the cashier in advance.

4. Use your gift card to shop online. Enjoy post-holiday sales from the comfort of your home by using your card to shop online. You can avoid crowded shopping centers and long lines at the registers.

5. Be prepared to pay at the gas pump. Some gas stations now support a pay-at-the-pump feature that enables gas dispensing up to the amount on a prepaid card. If your favorite gas station doesnt offer this feature, instead of paying at the pump, tell the cashier youre using a prepaid card and pay inside. (Paying at the pump can trigger a preauthorization transaction that results in your card being declined, even though you have enough funds to pay for the gas you intend to pump.)

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