Monday, December 8, 2014

Avoid Gift Card Fees This Christmas Season


Do you find yourself buying Visa or Mastercard prepaid gift cards for various people on your Christmas list like I do?  Do you further find yourself disgruntled at the thought of having to pay a fee for the card?  Here are some tips to explore this year to avoid those pesky fees.




CHECK WITH YOUR BANK
Many banks have those same prepaid gift cards at no charge.  They will just withdrawal the amount of the card from your checking or saving account with no fee in sight.  My bank will even let me order the cards online and ship them to the recipient with a message from me all for free.  No fees and free shipping.  No standing in the post office line or wrapping required.  Score!




GIVE CASH
Give cash, you say?  I know it is an old fashioned idea, but you can do it.  There are lots of cute ideas on Pinterest of how to disguise the money or how to wrap it so it won't be so plain.  I know a hesitation for me is that the US Postal Service says not to send cash in the mail.  Sure, it is possible that your card will be shredded in a mail machine and the mail worker might spy that $20 sticking out of the envelope and take it.  I think the chances of that happening are small so I send cash in the mail.  I have never had anything happen.  I wouldn't send large amounts in the mail or send cash to someone you didn't trust who would say they never got it.

REASONS I THINK CASH IS BETTER
1. I think Visa and Mastercard are brilliant honestly.  I have heard for years that 80% of gift cards are never used.  Think about it.  If they sell 4 million dollars worth of cards this Christmas season and 80% of people never use them, they will pocket 3.2 million dollars.  That is not an amount to laugh at!
2.  They are charging you a fee for the privilege of buying their card when you can give cash for free with no fee.  Wow, that is some good marketing!
3.  Some cards request you register your card online using personal information.  They act as if they are securing your card, but really they are just gathering your personal information such as your name, address, phone number, and email.  No thank you!
4.  Sometimes you can't use the card unless it is the exact amount of your purchase.  This will never happen with cash.
5.  You have to take time out of your day to go online to check your balance.  Again, sometimes you cannot check anonymously without giving out your personal information.

Friends, I hope you get everything that is on your Christmas list, but I also hope you can keep more of your cash in your pocket rather than putting it in the pocket of the credit card companies.  I hope some of these tips are an encouragement to you of how to avoid those pesky gift card fees this year.  Shop wisely!

"Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16

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