credit cards

Compare gift cards

Whether you're planning on stuffing it in a stocking or tucking it under a tree, the gift card is a go-to idea for many a harried shopper.

But what kind of gift card should you get for Aunt Sally or Cousin Mike? That's where Bankrate comes in. Using data collected from our sister site,, we looked at the terms and features of 62 different gift cards, including general purpose cards, store-branded retail cards, restaurant cards, airline cards and gas station cards.

Using the chart below, you can compare these cards to find out the one that suits your needs based on factors such as the amount you can put on the card to any fees it costs to buy one. This way, everyone comes out a winner this season.

Select card features:
  • Expires
  • Inactivity fee
  • PIN available
  • Reloadable
  • Loss/theft protection
  • eCard offered
  • Free shipping
  • Purchase fees
  • Online balance check

  • American Express
    Loading limits: $25-$3,000. Denomination availability varies.
    • Purchase fees ranging from $3.95 to $6.95.
    • Personalized gift cards: USPS $2, NextDay (plus processing) $9.95; photo gift cards: USPS $5.95, 2nd Day (plus processing) $8.95; NextDay (plus processing) $15.95
  • BMO Harris Bank MasterCard
    Loading limits: $25-$3,000; maximum card value that can be purchased at a branch is $500
    • Cards expire, funds don't.
    • $3 monthly fee after 12 consecutive months of inactivity.
    • Gift cards may be purchased at branch.
    • $4 purchase fee per gift card.
  • Discover
    Loading limits: $20-$500.
    • Cards expire, funds don't.
    • $2.50 monthly fee if unused for 12 months.
  • Fifth Third Bank MasterCard
    Loading limits: $25-$2,500.
    • Gift cards may be purchased at store.
    • Purchase fees vary depending on the amount loaded onto gift card.
  • KeyBank Mastercard
    Loading limits: $25-$2,500.
    • $2.50 monthly inactivity fee beginning 12 months after card issued, or one month after the expiration date, whichever comes first.
    • Lost or stolen card may be replaced for $15.
    • Gift card may be purchased at branch for a $3.95 purchase fee.
  • U.S. Bank Visa
    Loading limits: $25-$2,500.
    • $2.50 per month after 12 straight months of inactivity
    • $15 fee to replace lost or stolen card.
    • $3.95 purchase fee at branches, $6.95 online.
  • Wells Fargo Visa
    Loading limits: $10-$500 at banks; $25-$500 online.
    • $2.50 monthly charge 12 months after activation for cards that expire August 2014 or earlier; no fee for cards that expire June 2017 and later.
    • $7.50 fee to replace lost or stolen card.
    • No PIN for cads that expire August 2014 or earlier. PINs for cards that expire June 2017 and later.
    • $1.50 shipping fee.
    • $3.95 purchase fee at branches. Bulk orders (10 or more) cost $2.50 per card.

Source: Survey conducted by in early November 2013.

Note: Chase Visa no longer offers its general purpose gift card so it was not included in this year’s study.


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