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Gift Cards - their pros and cons

Is this your mother's gift basket?

Is this your mother’s gift basket?

Last January we received this note in our INBOX. “Hello! I tried to place an order today that was declined. My employer gave us $ 100 American Express gift cards for Christmas, and I wanted to use mine to pick up some more supplies. No matter what I do, your site won’t accept it. It is valid and has the full balance, there is a 4 digit cvv code, but there is no name since it is a gift card. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!”

Tis the season of gift cards! And this gift is very generous. All gift cards should be treated like cash and stored in a secure area. Make sure to use the cards soon or you may forget about them!
Gift cards have a way to register the card to your address and sometimes your name. Before using a card online make sure to register the card and make the billing address your home address (or wherever you are having your orders shipped). Look through the fine print and find the billing address information. Sometimes you must go to the website of the gift card to find the fine print.

Billing addresses should match because of the Patriot Act which requires a link to the card user. If you are having items shipped to you it is more important to register the card than if you are shopping locally. If you happen to use the card for groceries or fuel where entering your billing address ZIP code is requested, then registering the card to you is also important.

What happens if you get a declined order and the card company says there is no value of cash on the card anymore? Most often you just need to wait a few days. If the decline was due to a billing address mismatch then waiting for the funds to be applied back to the card is just a matter of a few days. Most often transactions are held in a pending state until the merchant fully collects the order. Collection can’t happen until the order ships. As always, if you have questions about shopping on a specific site, as the site owner. If you have questions about gift cards you can ask the gift card company. Read the fine print to see if the card expires, has a monthly fee or has other restrictions. Some cards can’t be used outside the USA so don’t give these to your Aunt Sally who lives in Canada!


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