If you’re thinking of giving your loved ones a gift card this holiday season you may want to think twice about which one to choose.
A RateCity survey of more than 1,000 respondents found people buying gift cards last Christmas (2021) spent an average of $288 for themselves and any dependents. That equates to a total estimated spend of around $2.69 billion nationally.
Strict legislation introduced in 2019 requires gift cards to have a minimum expiry date of three years, with the date clearly written on it. However, some exceptions apply. Some post-purchase fees have also been banned.
Despite this, RateCity has warned shoppers they could still get caught out.
RateCity research director Sally Tindall said that, because gift cards were so convenient to purchase, it was no wonder they were a popular gift.
“Gift cards are incredibly versatile. They’re an easy solve for that special someone who is impossible to buy for, but can also be a practical gift for a friend who needs help with the cost of essentials over the silly season,” Tindall said.
“While short expiry dates and post-purchase fees are largely a thing of the past, shoppers should still be on their toes when buying gift cards.”
Tindall said before purchasing a gift card, it was important to read the terms and conditions, check for hidden fees, and make sure the card would suit the person you were gifting it to.
“When shopping for a gift card, check the expiry and, if it’s earlier than December 2025, tell them that’s not good enough,” she said.
“People trying to limit single-use plastics can opt for a gift card that is reloadable or, better still, give an e-card and bypass plastic altogether.
The nice list:
Bunnings has no expiry date and will give you the balance in change if it’s below $10.
JB Hi-Fi has no expiry, free delivery on physical gift cards and allows you to choose your own amount up to $500.
Cotton On has no expiry, can be redeemed at multiple stores and free delivery on physical cards over $30 at Australia Post.
Amazon has no expiry, no delivery costs and allows you to choose your own amount up to $2,000.
The not-so-nice list:
giftcardstore.com.au fees can climb as high as $21.66 for a $500 gift card.
Hello Fresh gift cards have an expiry date, however are not published, and are available as a subscription service only.
Coles grocery and Kmart gift cards cannot be redeemed online.
Qantas has a $45 fee per passenger for bookings made through Qantas contact centres, web airport locations, chat and social media. No booking fee online.
Cards on special
An increasing number of gift cards can be bought at a discount from banks, insurance providers and shopping sites. Before purchasing them, check for hidden fees to make sure you’re getting a genuine discount.
Macquarie Bank customers can get between 1 per cent and 10 per cent off gift cards from a range of stores.
NRMA offers members between 3 per cent and 10 per cent off gift cards from major brands.
Woolworths is offering 5 per cent extra value on Woolworths, Big W, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Wish gift cards, or 3 per cent to 4 per cent off Woolworths and Big W gift cards.