Click through the slides for five ways to spend gift cards wisely, and don't forget to check out the results of our 2010 Gift Card Study.
"Astonishingly enough, some retailers won't accept gift cards for online purchases," says Joe Ridout, spokesman at Consumer Action, a consumer advocacy group based in San Francisco. "They'll only accept them in-store."
So take a close look at a store gift card, and find out where the retailers will accept it. You may have a whole lot more shopping options than you think.
"I would hesitate to do business with a company that did not have a BBB report online."
"Consumers who received a gift card purchased prior to Aug. 22 should be sure to review any documentation that came with the card. Often, this is printed on the back of the cards themselves," Breyault says. "Watch out for fees labeled 'dormancy,' 'inactivity,' 'maintenance' or similar-sounding fees."
Unused and partially used gift cards can also be donated to charity. PlasticJungle.com offers gift card sellers the option of giving part or all of a gift card's value to a nonprofit organization.