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Glenda
Master October 2013

KWR: Visa gift cards [vent!]

Glenda, on November 1, 2013 at 3:40 PM Posted in Community Conversations 0 31
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So... Several people gave us visa gift cards as wedding gifts, and I dare say I HATE THEM! Has anyone else had issue using them??? DH got one a while ago after buying tires or something like that so we learned then that if you use all or part of it, you always need to know the exact amount on it or remaining in order to use or finish it off. It was a bit of a hassle...

Anyway in Vegas we tried to use a $30 visa gift card toward our $40 lunch one day, and it was declined. I used part of another one without issue toward a deposit for one of our cruise excursions but then today when I tried to use the remaining $10 at the hair salon, and it was declined. Ten minutes later I was able to use it at Target though. It just feels so freakin' hit or miss if you can use them or not! Grrrrr!

31 Comments

Latest activity by Stephanie, on November 2, 2013 at 9:45 AM
  • Erika*
    Super October 2015
    Erika* ·
    • Flag

    I hate them!! And they charge a few when you buy them too! Waste of $$ for all the people who have them to you. I'd honestly prefer cash because I cannot keep track of how much would be left on each card!!

    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Master May 2013
    Samantha ·
    • Flag

    Yep they are annoying. I only use them at the grocery store and make sure that my total bill is greater than the amount on the gift card so there's nothing left over. I had mine get declined at a restaurant too. I think the cashiers at grocery stores are more familiar with how to only charge a certain dollar amount than waiters are.

    • Reply
  • Allyson
    Master May 2014
    Allyson ·
    • Flag

    I agree with Samantha. They're always easiest to use at the grocery store because they can split payments. That's probably why it worked at Target too.

    • Reply
  • KT-V
    VIP April 2014
    KT-V ·
    • Flag

    If you use them at a place that allows you to tip, the card will allow enough for the purchase and the tip. So if you have a $30 gift card, and your meal is $29, then it won't go through. I believe you have to have enough left over for a 15% tip when using it at a place that accepts tips. It's dumb.

    • Reply
  • Glenda
    Master October 2013
    Glenda ·
    • Flag

    @Samantha, I agree--that's why we always tried to put it toward something that exceeded the amount on the card... And to use it toward even amounts so there is no change/odd amounts on it...

    I saw that the guest who gave us the $50 visa gift card paid a $4.95 activation fee! What crap! Then the merchant is paying a fee to accept the payment as well, I am sure, since it's basically a credit card.

    • Reply
  • Glenda
    Master October 2013
    Glenda ·
    • Flag

    @KT, we had a $30 card and the bill was $40 without tip. We wanted to pay cash for the remaining amount plus tip... So that still didn't work...

    • Reply
  • Mrs Drakthal
    Master September 2013
    Mrs Drakthal ·
    • Flag

    I disagree we loved those. Actually far prefer those to specefic store cards. For instance someone gave us a Spanky's card (naughty store); that one will never get used. I have no desire to go buy sex toys that other people have handled.

    eta: I used the vanilla cards to pre-pay gas and they were fine.

    • Reply
  • Z
    Master May 2012
    Zoe ·
    • Flag

    I agree gift cards in general are quite a scam and the ones put out by credit card companies even more so. The best trick I have found is to spend them immediately, even if it's just for some other gift card that won't lose value (like to our favorite restaurant) lest they just sit in my wallet and lose value.

    • Reply
  • Mrs Drakthal
    Master September 2013
    Mrs Drakthal ·
    • Flag

    Zoe: How do gift cards "lose value" if I buy a $50 giftcard for someone it's$50 whether they spend this month or next.

    • Reply
  • Glenda
    Master October 2013
    Glenda ·
    • Flag

    @Mrs Drakthal, some cards have maintance fees or if you don't use the card in a certain period of time, they charge a fee. I don't think that's the case with the ones we have but I've heard of that happening.

    I agree, getting a gift card to a store where you don't shop sucks as well... Maybe you can use the one for Spanky's for a bachelorette party?! In theory I like the idea of a visa gift card, but if I can't use it when I want or have to question if it'll work or not is annoying... And as mentioned I could see on the card that the guest paid an activation fee of almost $5... That is a rip off for a $50 card...

    • Reply
  • Nancy Taussig
    Nancy Taussig ·
    • Flag

    Some cards have to be "activated" before you can use them. DH has had the problem a couple of times with gift cards.

    • Reply
  • Glenda
    Master October 2013
    Glenda ·
    • Flag

    @Nancy T, yes, the $30 one that we wanted to use in the restaurant required you to call and activate it, and DH did that before we left for Las Vegas...

    The $50 card didn't require calling to activate it. I used it for a $40 purchase without problem. When I tried to use the remaining $10 at the hair salon toward a $35 charge, it was denied.

    • Reply
  • Mrsmc2014
    Just Said Yes September 2014
    Mrsmc2014 ·
    • Flag

    The reason the get denied at restaurant is because the company that issues the card accounts for a tip. It isn't the waiters fault.

    • Reply
  • SunshineJenn
    Master August 2014
    SunshineJenn ·
    • Flag

    Gift card/certificate laws vary by state and some/most are not subject to escheatment laws the way, say, your bank account would be if you left it sitting for years. (So...log in to your accounts once in awhile, too, otherwise that money goes to your state because they consider it abandoned).

    But let's be honest: if you haven't used your gift card and it was given to you years ago, you've forgotten about it or lost it.

    http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/gift-cards-and-certificates-statutes-and-legis.aspx

    • Reply
  • Gamecock Mrs.
    Master October 2014
    Gamecock Mrs. ·
    • Flag

    Good idea in theory, terrible in practice and reality. I have had those type cards that have lost value after about a year.

    • Reply
  • Glenda
    Master October 2013
    Glenda ·
    • Flag

    @Monica - who here was blaming the waiter???

    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Master May 2013
    Samantha ·
    • Flag

    If you ever get a gift card that you don't want you can always try selling it on eBay! You won't get full value, but it's better to get some cash than to just let it sit in a drawer for years.

    • Reply
  • Theresa Beale
    Master November 2014
    Theresa Beale ·
    • Flag

    Glenda, Samantha commented that cashiers at a grocery store are more familiar with how to only charge the value of the card than waiters are.

    I agree that it's annoying to have a bunch of cards with a dollar or two on them. What I usually do is add the balance of the card to my MBTA charlie card (it's the public transportation in the Boston area) as I am in charge of the whole transaction and I can add exactly the amount left on the card to my charlie card. That way I can at least consolidate the little amounts and get rid of excess cards.

    • Reply
  • Samantha
    Master May 2013
    Samantha ·
    • Flag

    For the record I love waiters & cashiers equally.

    • Reply
  • Private User
    VIP July 2013
    Private User ·
    • Flag

    I accidentally bought them not realizing they charged a fee beyond what actually went on the giftcard. I was so pissed. Never again.

    • Reply

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