Region 8 Gift Card Providers Sort Through the Fine Print

December 2, 2004--Posted at 6:00 p.m. CST

JONESBORO-- While most people are wondering what to buy for friends and family for Christmas, the gift card is making its way to the top of the wishlist.

As good as cash, you can use it in your favorite store until the balance checks out.

WalMart manager, Torrence Stuberbille says, "A lot of people don't like to give straight cash. So, they purchase gift cards which is a lot more convienent for them."

A gift card may be a good substitute when you can't decide what to buy that special someone, but be careful to read the fine print.

"People do not understand certain procedures that go along with gift card purchases," Pat Johnson of Indian Mall Customer Service says.

The procedures are specific, and they are often printed in very small letters on the back of each card.

The Indian Mall hands out information to buyers so that they can expect the unexpected.

"If you don't use your card prior to four to six months, they start charging you a processing fee," Johnson says.

The mall isn't the only card that comes with a small price if used after expiration.

A processing fee seems to be a common trend for gift cards.

Hastings Manager Kim Scott says, "It's good for up till you use it, but after 18 months, it does start charging you a dollar fee."

The processing fees vary from one to two dollars per month depending on where you buy the card.

The fees may end up costing you more than the cost of the card.

So, if you are buying a gift card, it is important to read the instructions.