Your toes are sore as well as your bags feel weighed down with bricks, nevertheless, you can’t go home because you’ve only ticked off half the Christmas shopping list. Suddenly, the gift card section morphs from your “no go zone” to some “one size fits all” solution.

Seems like there’s no stopping the booming popularity of visa gift card code generator. They’re convenient, there’s a large range of brands (Netflix, Bonds and Domino’s Pizza, for example), and you could even personalise them.

But you must be careful, since you may ultimately be throwing free money on the retailer. A fresh survey exclusively shared with us by NSW Fair Trading showed 89 percent of 300 respondents enjoyed a problem redeeming a gift card.

The most significant problem they encountered was the card had expired. Some tried to speak with store staff and managers, others lodged a complaint. Overall, 69 per cent said the retailer still refused to take the card.

Let’s focus on the cash. The gift card industry is worth around $2.5 billion each year. Two-thirds from the survey respondents couldn’t redeem their cards. Also, a 2014 Choice survey found 35 % of respondents had used not one of the worth of a minimum of one gift card in the earlier 3 years.

The figures are rough, the science isn’t perfect, but we could guess a tremendous amount of money has been wasted each year.

I will count myself lucky. After I was cleaning I stumbled upon a $50 gift card for the book store that expired three years ago. Rather than throwing it in the bin, I had a chat using one of the staff (I avoided mentioning my job) and that he kindly permit me to redeem the entire amount. I went home with three new books.

This is not an anti-gift card piece. I wish to encourage you to definitely think again and provide some pointers which means that your Christmas present will probably be used and not forgotten. Here are among the problems:

Shops go bust: As we saw earlier this coming year Dic-k Smith collapsed and thousands of gift card holders, including one woman who possessed $3600 worth, were left with virtually nothing. Take into account Macquarie has predicted more retail collapses, and cites Fast Future Brands (Valley Girl and TEMT) and Pepkor (Harris Scarfe and finest & Less) to be unprofitable.

Gift cards for most brands are readily available at places for example supermarkets as well as the post office.

Gift cards for many brands are plentiful at places such as supermarkets as well as the post office. Photo: Danielle Smith

Fees: Thankfully most gift cards inside the Australian market do not have fees because they’re “closed loop”. Though Westfield’s gift card demands a $2.95 “service charge”. I believe the worst deals will be the “open loop” Visa and Mastercard-branded gift certificates, which may be used wherever they’re accepted but have an array of fees.

Consider the Australia Post Visa Prepaid gift card as an example. You must fork out $6 to purchase the card, $4 to talk to someone regarding your balance or transaction history, and $4 to acquire support over the phone. I ought to mention you can examine your balance via text for 25 cents or online for free.

Expiry dates: Most cards are valid for twelve months or 24 months. Reconsider cards with three or six month expiry, such as the one for Ella Bache beauty salons. Should be noted, some retailers offer a grace period. Consumer group Choice is calling for your minimum expiry period being 5yrs.

Cash loan fees: It’s likely that if you use your visa or mastercard to acquire a present card, it will probably be treated being a cash advance. So check along with your provider. Advisable to use cash or put it on the debit card instead.

Follow this advice:

Offer flexibility: Until you know they’d love a Sportsgirl or Smiggle gift card, it’s safer to pick a retailer that provides a wide variety of products. You might also invest in a card for any shopping centre or even for a group of stores, like a Coles Group & Myer Gift Card. Mary Steffel, a psychologist at Northeastern University in the united states, said the more specific a great gift card is, the less likely it is to be redeemed. “If you’re not sure what your recipient wants, provide them with the gift of flexibility,” she told the New York Times.

Subtly ask: Let the recipient to make use of the credit card sooner, as an alternative to later. Consumer advocate Christopher Zinn suggests asking your partner several months along the track in regards to what they ended up buying using the card.

Ensure that is stays visible: Be sure the card is at their wallet. In case the issue and expiry dates aren’t written about the card, have a permanent marker and write the information right on it. You can even want to help keep your receipts and jot down details such as the card number.

If something goes wrong, lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading. Happy shopping.