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Author Topic: BUYER BEWARE: "Visa Gift Cards"  (Read 1621 times)
perkiset
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« on: September 02, 2010, 06:01:50 PM »

OK, so PinkHat and I get given a $100 Visa gift card. Try it at a restaurant. No workee. Try it at a hotel. No workee.

So we call the 800 number on the back.

Seems that restaurants and hotels, particularly, but not exclusively, charge and additional 20% as a matter of course with those cards because they think they will get defrauded. I'm a bit lost at this point, but essentially they say that if you've got a $100 bill and try to use a $100 card they will bounce it because they can't charge $120 on the card.

Astounded, we push harder. Sure enough, common practice. The difference is in stores, particularly retail stores that will charge *exactly* what you ask them to on the card. Again, baffled, but apparently most retail stores have more ability to see what's on the card and the validity of the card than restaurants (fraud protection and such).

This just SCREAMS class action suit in my book. So: I get to pay a %fee as well as a transaction fee to buy the card, give it to someone and then they get 20% less than the value of what I put on it. Astounding.

So, we try the card at a retail shop - works perfectly. Shop owner verifies what we have heard.
UfR. Incredible.

So, be wary friends. While you're scraping content, they're scraping you back. And spammers are called thieves.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 06:17:33 PM »

Those Visa and Mastercard gift cards are a complete scam, in my opinion.  I'd encourage everyone to avoid them.

In addition to the issue you bring up, pretty much all of the Visa and MC gift cards require that you spend the entire balance on the card quickly -- it varies, I've seen them as short as 90 days, but six months is typical -- before they start deducting a monthly service fee, usually something like $5, from the card balance.  So if you stick the card in a drawer for a while and forget it, there may be no value left by the time you get around to using it.

Better off to give store-specific gift cards (Best Buy, Target, whatever store you like) as those generally do not expire or deduct money as a service charge.

I got a Mastercard gift card once that charged a fee in order to check the remaining balance on the card!  That was when I decided I would never, ever buy one of them.
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 08:01:57 PM »

Well they are great for signing up for stuff on the internet and guarantee that they wont be able to auto rebill you....

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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 08:53:11 PM »

also good luck using it at mcdonalds... wont swipe.

i have found that the amex version does work more often.
They charge a flat fee to load it up, so it is in your interest to put more on in 1 shot.
I have been considering using them for my wife and I as our "allowance" cards.
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perkiset
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 09:03:04 PM »

Hmmmm, PinkHat and I were wondering that.
The AmEx ones seem to work better for us as well, we were thinking that we should do those when we want to do gifts.
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2010, 11:07:28 PM »

also good luck using it at mcdonalds... wont swipe.

That's classic!  I used my Visa gift card at McDonald's  ROFLMAO
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2010, 06:43:24 AM »

I really only use them when I need to erm...stay anonymous

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Great if you need multiple AdWords/Facebook accounts 
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