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Restaurant gift cards

Credit Cards » Best Gift Cards

Gift cards are getting cheaper to buy and they offer more protections. That's the conclusion drawn from Bankrate's 2015 Gift Card Survey, which found a decline in the number of cards that charge purchase fees and an increase in the number of cards that offer loss and theft protection.

Gift card with gold bow in a box © iStock

Using data we collected Sept. 14-21, 2015, we looked at the terms and features of 60 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 the one that suits your needs based on factors such as the amount you can load onto the card or whether it can be purchased on and downloaded to a smartphone. This way, everyone comes out a winner this season.

Select card features:
  • Expires
  • Inactivity fee
  • Loss/theft protection
  • PIN available
  • Reloadable
  • Mobile/e-card
  • Online balance check
  • Card shipped free
  • Purchase fees
  • Rewards

  • Brinker Restaurants

    (Chili's, Romano's Macaroni Grill, On The Border, Maggiano's)
    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN not available.
    • No loss/theft protection.
    • Not reloadable.
    • E-card requires email or phone number.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Shipping fee for gift cards: $1.95 (USPS); $10.95 (UPS 2-Day); $17.95 (UPS Overnight)
    • Loading limits: $10-$100 (gift card and e-card).
  • Darden Restaurants

    (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52)
    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN not available.
    • Loss/theft protection available for e-cards only.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • E-card requires email or phone number.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Free standard shipping; $8.95 (2-day); $14.95 (next day).
    • Loading limits for restaurants

      Darden: $5-$2,000 (gift card); $10-$2,000 (e-card)
      Olive Garden: $5-$250 (gift card); $10-$250 (e-card)
      Longhorn: $5-$250 (gift card); $10-$250 (e-card)
      Bahama Breeze: $5-$250 (gift card); $10-$250 (e-card)
      Capital Grille: $25-$2,000 (gift card); $25-$2,000 (e-card)
      Seasons 52: $25-$1,000 (gift card); $25-$1,000 (e-card)
      Eddie V's: $25-$1,000 (gift card); $25-$1,000 (e-card)
      Yard House: $5-$250 (gift card); $10-$250 (e-card)
      Wildfish Seafood Grille: $25-$1,000 (gift card); $25-$1,000 (e-card)

  • McDonald's

    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN not available.
    • Loss/theft protection available.
    • Gift card is reloadable.
    • Not available in mobile/e-card.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Can only be purchased in-store.
    • Loading limits: $5-$50
  • OSI Restaurants

    (Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's, Fleming's)
    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN available.
    • Loss/theft protection is not available. Card is handled by a 3rd party, website says "treat card as cash."
    • Gift card is reloadable.
    • E-card requires email address or phone number.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Loading limits: $5-$250
  • Panera Bread

    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN available.
    • Loss/theft protection is available.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card not reloadable.
    • E-card requires email address or phone number.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Shipping: $0.65 (USPS); $4.50/business, $6.50/residence (FedEx ground) ; $11.50/business, $13.50/residence (FedEx 4-day delivery); $18.50/business, $20.50/residence (FedEx next day delivery).
    • Loading limits: $2-$200
  • Pizza Hut

    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN available.
    • Loss/theft protection is available. Replacement card available with original store receipt or printed confirmation page.
    • Gift card is reloadable.
    • E-card requires email address or phone number.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Shipping: $3.95 (USPS standard); $13.50 (FedEx Ground); $18.50 (FedEx 2-Day).
    • Loading limits: $10-$100 (gift card); $10-$200 (e-card).
  • Starbucks

    • No purchase fee.
    • PIN available.
    • Loss/theft protection is available. Unregistered cards or registered cards without a balance will not be replaced.
    • Gift card is reloadable.
    • E-card requires email address or phone number.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Free shipping.
    • Loading limits: $5-$500 (buying a gift card in-store), available amounts may differ at other retail outlets; $5-$100 (e-card).
  • Taco Bell

    • No purchase fee but cards purchased in other stores that carry multiple business cards may have a purchase fee.
    • PIN not available.
    • Loss/theft protection is available. Unregistered cards or registered cards without a balance will not be replaced.
    • Gift card is not reloadable. Cards purchased in other stores that carry multiple business cards have reloadable Taco Bell cards.
    • Not available in mobile/e-card but once a physical card is purchased, it can then be transferred to the mobile app and used from there.
    • Balance can be checked online.
    • Can be purchased in store or at stores that carry multiple gift card types.
    • Loading limits: $10, $20 (non-reloadable); $15 - $100 (reloadable).

Source: Bankrate.com

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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