Gift cards can be a great idea for the person who has everything, but they often come with hidden gift card fees that many people do not know about. These cards are usually issued by a retail store, a bank, or a credit card company. When the buyer is purchasing a gift card, he or she should look out for activation fees, shipping and handling fees and user fees.
An activation fee is usually a small amount of money that is charged along with the monetary value of the card. This fee allows the card to be used. Sometimes, the buyer will have to pay other gift card fees such as shipping and handling or a service fee. A shipping and handling fee is extra money the buyer has to pay in order for the gift card to be sent to her home from the company.
A service fee is similar to an activation fee. It is another charge that is added by the gift card company in order to activate the card. Some companies charge a service fee for activating the gift card by phone or on the Internet.
Once the buyer gives the gift card to the person who will be using it, that person may also have gift card fees. The card user may find that the value of the card has to be spent in 30 days or she may be charged a monthly maintenance fee for not using up the value in the specified amount of time. If the user needs to check the balance, there is often a phone number on the back of the card. Some companies will charge gift card fees for talking to a customer service agent about the card's balance.
If the gift card is ever lost, there may be a hidden fee to send the user a new replacement card. There are also gift card fees if the card expires before the entire value is used. The company may reactivate or send out a new card, but will charge a fee for doing so. Bank gift cards often allow cardholders to use the card at an automated teller machine (ATM) but charge a hidden fee for this service.
It can be difficult to avoid gift card fees. The best way to stay away from these hidden fees is to read the fine print carefully and ask the seller questions regarding extra charges. Retail stores are less likely to have added charges on their gift cards.