Research Reveals Fees and Trends for 2010’s Gift Card Season

Research Reveals Fees and Trends for 2010's Gift Card SeasonNEW YORK  (Profitable.com)  A new study released by Bankrate, Inc. reveals key tips and data regarding gift cards, an industry which analysts expect to once again report record sales this holiday season.  Bankrate surveyed 54 gift card issuers to determine fees that come from major gift card providers as well as where consumers can get the most value for their money.  The full 2010 Gift Card Study can be viewed at http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/getting-a-gift-card-here-s-what-to-know.aspx.  

Bankrate’s study reveals the following data about different types of gift cards:

  • There are two main types of gift cards: “Closed-loop,” which can be used only at a single retailer or chain, and “open-loop,” better known as one of the leading credit card brands;
  • Closed-loop cards are the more forgiving of the two gift card types.  Very few have fees attached to them and none of them expire;
  • Open-loop cards are slightly more punitive.  Six of the eight open-loop cards surveyed have expiration dates while two have a “Valid Thru” date – a date in which a card must be replaced if there is unspent money remaining;
  • Gift card rules taking effect this past August as part of the Credit CARD Act ensure that all gift card funds must remain valid for five years since their last load.  Another result of the CARD Act  is that gift cards are required to communicate any expiration information explicitly on the gift card itself;
  • Inactivity fees remain something to watch for, but not necessarily a prohibitive factor: Only one closed-loop card charged a fee after 24 months of nonuse, while five open-loop cards charge an inactivity or monthly fee after 12 months of nonuse.

Additionally, Bankrate’s 2010 Gift Card Study features a chart highlighting all of the information about many top gift card choices, including which have expiration dates, fees, and even free shipping or delivery.

“Given that gift cards are more and more popular each year, odds are that most people will receive or give a gift card this holiday season,” said Julie Bandy, editor-in-chief of Bankrate.com.  “With the information in Bankrate’s 2010 Gift Card Study, consumers can arm themselves with the resources they need to make the most out of their gift card choices.”

About Bankrate, Inc.

The Bankrate network of companies includes Bankrate.com, Interest.com, Mortgage-calc.com, Nationwide Card Services, Savingforcollege.com, Fee Disclosure, InsureMe CreditCardGuide.com, Bankaholic, CreditCards.com and NetQuote.  Each of these businesses helps consumers to make informed decisions about their personal finance matters. The company’s flagship brand, Bankrate.com is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. Bankrate.com is the leading aggregator of rates and other information on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Bankrate.com reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states. Bankrate.com provides financial applications and information to a network of more than 75 partners, including Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), America Online (NYSE: AOL), The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (NYSE: NYT). Bankrate.com’s information is also distributed through more than 500 newspapers.  Bankrate, Inc. was acquired by Apax Partners, one of the world’s leading private equity investment groups, in September 2009.  Apax operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience. For more information on Apax, visit: www.Apax.com.

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