Holiday Gift Cards – What You Need to Know

The holiday season is in full swing and with the holidays comes gift cards.  If you're marketing gift cards this year either as an added value or as a primary gift, make sure to brush up on how to properly market gift cards.
Gift cards have given marketers trouble in the past when not fully disclosing what  the consumer must do to obtain the gift card. There are two main types of gift cards that have specific rules: retail gift cards and bank gift cards.
If the gift cards come with fees or restrictions the marketer must fully disclose this information. Several examples of restrictions that marketers should disclose include:
  • Expiration dates of the gift cards (cannot be less than five years after issuance date and it applies to funds on the card).  
  • Deductions from the gift card amount if the amount goes unused (can only do so if there is one year of inactivity, but this cannot exceed more than one fee charge per month). 
  • If advertising a gift card, do not state that the card is "free" if other actions are required from the consumer in order to obtain the gift card (such as a purchase of a product, or signing up for additional offers). 
For the full list of details surrounding gift cards go to the Federal Reserve System's website.
If you're marketing gift cards this year as part of a holiday promotion make sure to fully disclose any of the conditions that may be attached to the promotion. Consumers then will know all of the details which should lead to happier and more loyal consumers.