Gift cards: Wait or Spend


MASON CITY, Iowa -Gift cards are a gift that you could say keeps on giving.

“When you don’t know what to get other people gift cards kind of help you figure out what you want to buy,” Zach Welper from Clear Lake said.

For some, the moment they get one, they spend it.  Others wait a while.

“I would probably just save it, be able to get what you want later,” Carrie Kamm from Mason City said.

“It depends on where it’s to. If it’s to Walmart spend it right away or to a food place I usually wait,” Welper said.

Technically your gift cards can expire.  Iowa and Minnesota follow federal law, saying a gift card can expire five years after the date it was purchased.

“The best thing about a gift card it’s always the right color and right size.  You can use it on anything, it’s a form or payments with coupons, Younkers charge card,” Carrie Kamm, store manager at Younkers said.

Both states also allow retailers to charge inactivity fees.  If you haven’t used it in at least one year they can charge you once per month.  Kamm says if you’re curious about how much is on your card, most stores can check for you.

“Since Christmas just these past couple days it’s been very busy.  People coming and looking for the after Christmas sales, deals, look to use gift cards,” Kamm said.

A recent study by Card Cash shows 73 percent of consumers purchase a gift card during the holiday season, two cards on average.  50 percent like getting a gift card because they have no clue what they want.

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