Gift Card Replacement: Is this Real?

Did you know that if your gift card is stolen or you lose it, most retailers are sympathetic and will replace it free of charge, but only if you can prove that you actually purchased it, or it was gifted to you?

When it comes to replacing a gift card, it is easy to prove that you actually owned the stolen or missing card to the merchant if you have:

• The activation receipt
• The gift card number

Some retailers, with the above information, can replace gift cards over the phone or online for no additional rate. But bank issued gift cards like a Wells Fargo Visa or a SunTrust MasterCard charge as much as $10 to replace the card.

Here are some strategies that you may want to use to ensure the overall safety and protection of your gift card:

Register your gift card with the merchant.

A lot of retailers offer automatic balance protection and hassle-free card replacement to cardholders who register their gift cards through the store’s online website. Some of these retailers also offer additional benefits when you register your gift card with them. For example, Starbucks treat registered gift cards like a rewards card. As customers swipe it for purchases, the earn points that can be redeemed for free coffee refills, sandwiches, and scones.

Store your gift card information in your mobile wallet.

There are plenty of mobile apps available like Gyft, MyWallet Pro, and GoWallet that allow you to enter your gift card number and will keep it secure. On some of these apps you will even have the ability to check balances, send you friendly reminders about cards’ expiration dates, and allow mobile gift purchases from the mobile device.

Don’t wait to use your gift cards.

A lot of the time people receive gift cards with the full intention to use them, but over time they forget about them or misplace them, and the card goes unused. According to recent research by the CEB Tower Group, there is still about $1 billion worth of unspent purchased gift cards out there waiting to be used.

Make your purchases online.

All you need is the gift card number. Some stores like offers a “Save Your Gift Card” option that allows customers to enter the gift card number once and the information will be stored and made available for future purchases.

Don’t become a victim of gift card fraud.

Keep in mind that even if you are in possession with the gift card, someone can steal the balance. High-tech thieves copy the card numbers down in stores and patiently wait for the card to be activated so that they spend the money online quicker than the actual cardholder.