Holiday shopping bargain in a tiny packageon November 21, 2012 @ 2:27 pm (Updated: 6:27 am - 11/23/12 )
What a lot of people don't know is how many gift cards are not spent. "From 2005 to 2011, roughly $41 billion in gift cards went unused and that means a lot of people have gift cards lying around their house and there's a flourishing secondary market for gift cards," said John Kiernan, senior analyst at cardhub.com.
Kiernan says you can search online for gift card bargains. "You can buy gift cards at discounts of up to 80 percent sometimes, from individual sellers via Facebook or e-Bay or other trusted secondary companies, such as giftcards.com."
And usually there's no shipping fee. That's great for the buyer and the giver. For the recipient, Kiernan says gift cards can add up to one big present instead of several little ones if they make a gift card list for family and friends. "And let them know that 'hey, I would love it if I got a gift card from this place, if not get me an actual present from there' and then even if they don't like what you actually get (them) or they get multiples they can take it back and get a store credit," advised Kiernan.
Here a warning: Kiernan says avoid general purpose gift cards, often issued by credit card companies that usually come with added fees. And watch out for pre-paid cards that aren't gift cards, at all. They're designed to be re-loaded and also often come with monthly fees and inactivity fees.
Yes, gift cards are considered impersonal but they can be a good deal and they're hard to beat as a last-minute present.
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