Gift cards are very popular in Australia.  They are easy gifts to buy, convenient to give, particularly if postage is required, and there are now so many options available.

Unfortunately there are also many pitfalls with using gift cards that should be considered.

We list five problems buying gift cards raise.  Before you next buy one, and potentially waste your money, consider these issues.

  1. It is estimated that 10-15 per cent of cards go unredeemed.  That is a huge waste of money.  Consider if you would you be better off buying a gift from a retailer you know offers a gift exchange?
  2. Many smaller retailers will not refund any unspent money left on a gift card.  Check out the retailers’ policy on this.
  3. Gift cards issued for businesses ceasing to trade become useless, and you won’t be able to get a refund either.  Only purchase gift cards and certificates if you are sure of the solvency of the company you are dealing with.
  4. Watch out for short term expiry dates.  These are set by the retailer, and while most people generally redeem their gift cards without two to three months, others will miss out because an unscrupulous retailer will limit the gift cards usage to three months.
  5. Gift cards that are lost, damaged or stolen will not be replaced, even if you keep the receipt.  Think twice in the case of giving gift cards to children and others likely to lose them (and you money!).