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Exclusive   2006 Gift Card Study
  STATISTIC: Retailers have eliminated fees and expiration dates to be more  
  customer-friendly. But those terms remain on major credit card gift cards.  
   
 

2006 Gift Card Study

If you want a gift card you can use anywhere, you'll pay for the privilege, while gift cards from individual retailers are less costly and sprouting more options.

Those are the major findings of the third annual Bankrate.com Gift Card Study.

Retail store gift cards continue to be a consumer-friendly credit product, with fees and expiration dates the exception rather than the rule. The retailers can make a profit from the merchandise users buy.

Gift cards from the major credit card issuers, though, still carry an assortment of fees. All continue to charge monthly "maintenance" or "dormancy" fees, ranging from $2 per month to $3, if the gift card isn't used within a certain period of time. All but American Express have expiration dates.

Bankrate surveyed the top 25 retailers, as identified by the National Retail Federation, about the costs, terms and conditions of the gift cards they offer, both plastic and electronic. We also surveyed the four largest credit card companies: American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard and Visa.

Among the other findings in the study:
 
 
Next: Gift cards are going to give the paisley tie a run for the money.
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 RESOURCES
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