Personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly rounds up some of its readers' comments from a recent post about the pros and cons of gift cards, and unearths a few strong tips and things to consider in the process. For example, one reader advises against making those checkout-aisle impulse card buys:
It is better to buy a card directly from the issuer versus at the grocery store, because the issuer will have greater control over adding refunds directly to the card (if you or your recipient should need to do so). Shell accidentally charged me a $1 or $2 inactive fee, but since my card had been purchased at Safeway, they could not add the balance directly back onto the card. I would have to write to them for a refund (in the form of another gift card). At that point it just wasn't worth it!
Another reader who worked in retail points out that buyers almost always spend more when they're toting gift cards—a good reason to avoid giving them to less money-savvy friends. How do you decide whether to buy a gift card or straight-up gift for those on your holiday list? Share your thoughts in the comments. Photo by misocrazy.