Are Debit Gift Cards Good Presents?

Some say it’s tacky to give cash as a present. Gift cards to a restaurant or store are also problematic, as you don’t know if the other person shops there. So then the solution is to give them a debit gift card, right? It can be loaded with $100 and the receiver can spend it anywhere they want. But not so fast, debit gift cards might not be as good as you think. Here’s why.

  1. These cards come with an activation fee. So if you want to buy a $100 card you’ll have to pay $105 for it. Those $5 are completely thrown away, as you get nothing from it.
  2. Using two forms of payment. When the card doesn’t have enough money in it to complete your purchase, you’ll have to pay the remaining balance with another form of payment. This could be a hassle for you, some businesses might not be able to accommodate or it can be embarrassing, as it may appear to others that your card has been declined.
  3. Restaurant usage. If you go out with friends planning to use your $100 gift card and accumulate a bill of over $90, you won’t be able to charge all of it with your card. The card will only allow you to charge 80% of the amount on the card at restaurants. so only $80 can be charged on it.
  4. Online usage. Debit gift cards cannot be used for online purchases. If you like to do comparison shopping and find good deals online, you will not be able to use it. These cards only work by physically presenting the card and sliding it through the credit card scanner.

Do you like giving gift cards as presents? why or why not?

Share This Post
3 Responses
  1. I hardly ever give them out, but I do get them. I’ve personally never had a problem with using them. The biggest pain is the double payment, but its not that bad. I did not know about the 80% restaurant thing. Cash is just always good. A personal check always solves the problem. A trip to the bank and bam its deposited into your account.

  2. Vince Boggs said

    Cash is so much better to receive than a card.

  3. tony lee said

    I hate going to the supermarket and buying a gift card that has a fee on it. I think, that`s a waste of money no matter which way you turn it. I personally never like to waste money on something like a hidden fee, except this fee is right in our face these days.

Add Your Comment