Getting the most out of gift cards

Gift cards are a popular choice around the holidays, but whether you are giving or receiving one, you want to get the most bang for the buck.

Before purchasing or using a gift card, be careful to read through all the terms.

General use cards, issued by banks or credit card companies, likely have fees.

Purchase fees can range from $2.00 to $7.00.

Inactivity fees can also cost you up to $3.00 a month.

General cards may cost more, but they do allow for more freedom.

You can spend them in any store, without being limited to a specific chain or brand.

If you lose a gift card, you aren't necessarily out of luck.

About 2/3 of card issuers will replace lost or stolen cards, although you may be required to register the card or provide a receipt. 

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