Saving

The Gift Card Minefield: How To Get Your Money’s Worth

The holiday season may seem far away, but if you’re like most people, by the time the urge (or necessity) to shop hits you, planning out and buying individual gifts for everyone on your list may not be a feasible, or at the very least pleasant, option. For many of us, that means taking a much too common shortcut: hitting the gift card stand.The good news is, gift cards are easy to buy. The bad: once they end up in the intended receiver’s wallet, they’re like minefields waiting to explode in a variety of hidden fees and regulatory quirks. And even though the CARD Act of 2009 contained gift card law revisions that went into effect in August this year, plenty of loopholes remain to be explored by retailers — at your cost. Read more in our infographic.

(Sources: ScripSmart, TowerGroup. For more personal finance visualizations see: byJess.net.)