Deciding to give online gift cards instead of buying actual gifts can be a real time saver for you and give your recipients a little shopping spree of their own. Usually this is a win-win situation.
But with the economy the way it is and the fact that it is possible that a company that issued a gift card might go out of business before the card can be used, here are a few tips to be sure you don’t get caught in that trap.
1. Choose a well-known highly popular brand name store. While this is no guarantee, it is a much safer route to take. Smaller more local stores are the ones that are most likely to be struggling so this is a time when “bigger is better” … and safer.
2. Choose a store with nationwide locations. By buying online gift women Jewelry cards from a nationwide chain, you have more protection should they decide to close certain locations. For example, a major electronics chain is closing all their branches in my metro area … an inconvenience for me if I had one of their gift cards, but still something I could use were I willing to travel to another state. It also opens up the possibility of trading gift cards with someone in another state if you ran into problems with local branches of a nationwide chain.
3. Buy your card only when you are ready to give it. This is one time when shopping in advance is not necessarily a good idea. Although gift cards for the most part no longer have expiration dates, the longer you hold onto a card, the greater the chance you won’t be able to use it. So while “buy and hold” may be the mantra for stock investing, it is not a strategy to use with gift cards in the current economic situation.
4. Choose a store with a wide variety of items. By selecting a store that has a huge assortment of items for sale, anyone you give online gift cards to will be able to find something they would like. While specialty stores are great for hobbies or special interests, these are normally smaller stores and therefore at greater risk of financial trouble.