Gift Cards remain the most popular holiday gift requested for five years running. 57.7% of consumers want gift cards or gift certificates as holiday presents according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey. It is the highest demand recorded in the survey’s history for gift cards or certificates.
In response, retailers continue to offer the highest level of protection for gift card purchasers and recipients. In an effort to mitigate fraud and disappointed customers, retailers deploy a variety of techniques including secure packaging and sophisticated computer systems designed to keep purchases safe.The Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA) recommends the following best practices when purchasing a gift card:
1. For complete confidence, buy gift cards from members of the RGCA. These retailers have never had dormancy fees or expiration dates and are committed to consumer-friendly practices.
2. Inspect the card. Prior to purchasing gift cards, thoroughly inspect them to ensure that the packaging has not been tampered with and the security code has not been scratched off.
3. Keep your receipt. If giving a gift card, give the receipt as well. If you receive a gift card, keep the receipt in a safe place. Most retailers will replace the verified balance remaining on a card if it is lost or stolen as long as you have the receipt.
4. Register your card. If this option is available, take advantage of this added security method. You protect any remaining balance at the time the card is reported lost or stolen.
5. Use your Card. Gift Cards are meant to be spent, not put away in a drawer where they may be lost or forgotten about – enjoy the gift as soon as you are able!