2010 Gift Card Study
Gift cards
credit cards
2010 Gift Card Study results

2010 Gift Card Study » Study results

Bankrate.com surveyed gift cards from eight of the major card issuers and from 46 of the largest retailers and restaurant chains, for a total of 54 cards.

Compare features of the cards in the chart below, and be sure to check the terms and conditions of the individual card issuer if you need more information.

Legend

  • No expiration date
  • No dormancy or maintenance fees
  • Card and/or funds replaced after loss or theft?
  • PIN?*
  • Reloadable?
  • E-card available
  • Online balance check?
  • Free shipping/delivery?
  • Purchase fees?
Retailer gift cardsNo expiration dateNo dormancy or maintenance feesCard and/or funds replaced after loss or theft?PIN?Reloadable?E-card availableOnline balance check?Free shipping/delivery?Purchase fees?Other details
7-Eleven
    Available in stores only.
Amazon.com     PIN must have four-digit number on card to make purchase; all other retailers just require it for checking balance.
Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy
       
Barnes & Noble
      Security code needed to redeem card online
Bed Bath & Beyond
      No PIN, but security code on back of card needed to purchase online.
Best Buy
      Must have card security code number to make any purchase.
Bloomingdale's        
Borders
     With $40 or more purchase.
Brinker Gift Cards
(Chili's, Romano's Macaroni Grill, On the Border, Maggiano's Little Italy)
      
Costco      
CVS
      Cards with certain numbers (presumably old cards) require a PIN to check the balance; others do not.
Darden Restaurants
(Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, The Capital Grille)
     
Dillard's      
eBay
      Replaced only in limited circumstances, such as if the card has never been used.
H-E-B     
Home Depot       
iTunes       
J.C. Penney        
Kmart        
Kohl's        
Kroger     
Lowe's        
Macy's        
Marshalls, T.J. Maxx     
McDonald's      
Meijer        
Nordstrom        
Office Depot      
OSI Restaurant Partners
(Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's, Roy's)
    
Overstock.com     
Panera Bread     If card has zero balance for more than 90 days, it will become inactive and no longer reloadable.
Pilot Travel Centers
   An inactivity fee of $1.20/month may be applied to balance if 24 months elapse in which card is not used; only sold in stores.
Pizza Hut    If a card is marked "reloadable," it's reloadable; otherwise, it's not.
Publix     
RadioShack     
Rite Aid Corp.
    Only available in stores; to get a replacement, you must know the card number
Saks Fifth Avenue
      Shipping free only if shipping with merchandise.
Sears        
SpaFinder      Allows you to print out card or buy e-card, but to ship an actual physical card will cost you.
Staples       
Starbucks      Only if card is registered
Taco Bell
     
Target        
Toys R Us       
Walgreens      
Walmart        
American Express     Valid through date, after which the physical card is invalid.
Chase Visa
   Monthly card fee: A $2.50 monthly fee after the first 12 calendar months following the date of purchase; replacement fee.nbsp;
Discover
     Has valid through date; will assess a $2.50/mont maintenance fee if the card is not used for 12 consecutive months after activation.
Fifth Third Bank MasterCard
   Current cards expire in 2019; only available online.
Harris Bank MasterCard    Expires no earlier than five years after date of purchase; if card's lost, card won't be replaced -- you'll get a check.
KeyBank MasterCard
    Valid through date; if card's lost, card won't be replaced -- you'll get a check. There is a monthly fee charged against any unused balance on the card beginning 12 months after the date the card was issued/purchased, or one month after the expiration date, whichever comes first; have to buy at branch.
U.S. Bank Visa   Monthly fee: After the first 12 calendar months following the issue date of the card, a $2.50 fee will be charged to your gift card each month until the card expires; $15 replacement fee.
Wells Fargo Visa    Expiration depends; replacement fee.
*PIN defined as a cardholder-created security code needed to conduct a transaction involving a card, whether it's checking a balance, making a purchase or something else.

Source: Joint study conducted by Bankrate.com and CreditCards.com.

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