Gift cards, are they the perfect holiday gifts?

November 11, 2011 2:12:15 PM PST
Rather than scouring the mall for the perfect holiday gift, millions of Americans will let friends and family, choose it themselves, with a gift card. In the past, consumers complained about gift cards expiring or losing value before they could use them. When new federal laws for credit card companies went into effect in 2009 they applied to most gift cards too, so read the fine print on yours.

Terms and conditions are usually found on the back of the gift card. It will include any fees that may be associated with the gift card. It could be inactivity, purchase or maintenance fees.

If that gift card sits in your wallet for awhile you don't have to worry about it expiring.

Gift cards are usually good for five years and if you reload funds on gift cards, then those funds are also good for another five years.

Then, there's the emerging trend of electric gift cards or e-cards.

Once you click send, it immediately goes to your recipient's email, Facebook page or smartphone.

A recent survey of gift cards by and found more than half are available electronically, perfect for those who forget the card when they hit the mall.