Are Gift Cards a Crime Against Christmas?

by Ben Jackson 0

In a point-counterpoint on whether gift cards are a goodgift for the holidays, a Time reporter writes that gift cardsare the worst thing, and in doing so, perpetuates some canards about the giftcard business. Perhaps the worst is that retailers don’t want to see gift cardscome back.

In other words, buy a Target giftcard that your friend never uses, and you’ve essentially given a gift to Targetand/or your governor.

Although, she notes that people are likely to overspend theface value of the card, which is one of the benefits of gift cards: they giveshoppers the ability to stretch budgets and get things that might have been outof reach or considered luxuries.

The other part of the story that is just a bit strange toread:

The worst are the general-purposecards that you can spend anywhere. First of all, why didn’t you just give cash?Second, these “gift cards” aren’t actually gift cards in a legal sense. They’reprepaid debit cards, and they’re not subject to the same consumer protectionsas either gift cards or real credit cards. That means general purpose cards cancome loaded with activation fees, inactivity fees, and other fees that degradethe value of the card.

Does anyone actually buy an open-loop GPR card instead of anopen-loop gift card? The CARD Act contains provisions specifically designed tohelp eliminate that confusion


Let’s be clear, the piece is designed to be somewhat overthe top as part of a point-counterpoint, but the issues do not lie with thegift cards themselves. It is all about the attitudes of the givers andreceivers.

Overview by Ben Jackson, Director, Prepaid Advisory Service for Mercator Advisory Group

Read full story at Time

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