There's no denying the popularity of gift cards. You'll probably be getting or giving one this holiday season. As a last-minute gift, it's a no-brainer. But there are some things both the giver and the receiver need to know to make the gift worthwhile.
According to the National Retail Federation, 52.8 percent of consumers surveyed said they would like to receive a gift card for Christmas.
Total gift card spending in 2006 amounted to $24.81 billion, up from $18.48 billion in 2005. And the average amount spent per gift card rose to $39.16 from $33.42.
So whether you're getting or giving, here are eight things to consider when buying or spending a gift card.
1. Fees for cards
When gift cards first began gaining popularity a few years ago, many retailers charged a flat fee to you to buy the card in addition to the amount you loaded onto it. Not anymore. Retailers have found that the average "spend" beyond the face value of a card is 25 percent. They don't have any reason to charge you a fee for the card; they just want to get you into the store.