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Retail gift cards

Credit Cards » Compare 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

  • 7-Eleven

    • Loading limits: $100 maximum.
    • Loading limits: Gift cards purchased in store: $15-$100. Gift cards purchased through email, Facebook or printed: $0.50-$2,000. Gift cards in a gift box online: $50-$2,000.
    • Free 1-day shipping of physical gift cards in contiguous 48 states; shipping charges added in HI, AK.
    • Facebook and email delivery/redemption available.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy

    • Loading limits: $10-$500 online; May purchase other amounts by phone: 1 (888) BR-STYLE.
    • Reloadable in store only.
    • Email and text delivery available. If card or email is lost, only the remaining balance can be transferred to another card/e-card number (no protection against any amounts used).
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
    • Loading limits: $10-$350.
    • Shipping: $0.95.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $25-$200 online; can purchase other amounts in store. E-card: $5-$300.
    • Gift card reloadable in store. E-card is not reloadable.
    • Expedited shipping: $5.99 (free on gift card orders of at least $25); express shipping: $8.99.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Best Buy

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $15-$200. E-card: $5-$500.
    • Gift card reloadable in store only.
    • Expedited shipping: $5.99 (free on gift card orders of at least $25); express shipping: $8.99.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Bloomingdale's

    • Loading limits: $10-$1,000.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • Shipping surcharge: $5.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Costco

    • Loading limits: $25-$1,000.
    • Cash Cards can be used until empty without membership requirement.
    • Shipping fee: USPS: Free; Express UPS: $12.60.
  • CVS

    • Loading limits: $5-$150.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $5-$500. E-card: $10-$500.
    • E-card redeemable only online.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Dillard's

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $10-$1,000. E-card: $10-$250.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • eBay.com

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $25-$200. E-card: $15-$200.
    • E-card code is sent to the email address associated with purchaser.
    • To use an eBay gift card, you must set up eBay and PayPal accounts, and link a bank account or credit card.
    • Lost, stolen or damaged gift cards will not be replaced except in limited circumstances or where required by law, and only if the gift card has never been used (and with proof of purchase, as required by PayPal). Processing fee may apply. If you have already used a portion of your gift card, the remaining balance is attached to your PayPal account and can be applied to future purchases, even if you lost the card.
  • Home Depot

    • Loading limits: Online plastic: $10-$500. In-store plastic: $5-$2,000. E-card: $25-$500.
    • Express shipping: $6.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • iTunes

    • Loading limits: Online: $25, $50, $100. In store: $10-$100.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • JCPenney

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $10-$250. E-card: $5-$500.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Kmart

    • Loading limits: $10-$500.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Kohl's

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $10-$100. E-card: $5-$250.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Kroger

    • Loading limits: $10-$250.
    • Shipping fee: USPS: $0.50; Priority: $7.75; Express: $13.
  • Lowe's

    • Loading limits: $5-$500. E-cards: Up to $100.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • E-card has to be printed to use.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Macy's

    • Loading limits: $10-$1,000.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • E-card has to be printed to use.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Marshall's/TJ Maxx

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $25, $50, $75, $100, $200. E-card: $10-$500.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Meijer

    • Loading limits: $5-$500.
    • Only cards bought in store are reloadable.
  • Nordstrom

    • Loading limits: $25-$1,000.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • E-card must be printed for use in store.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Office Depot

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $10, $15, $20, $25, $30, $40, $50, $75, $100, $200. E-card: $5-$500.
    • Only e-card has loss/theft protection.
    • Rewards available with registration in the rewards program. Program number needed at time of purchase.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Overstock.com

    • Loading limits: $10-$1,000.
  • Publix

    • Loading limits: $5-$500.
  • Rite Aid

    • Loading limits: $5-$500.
    • Purchase in store.
    • After a certain amount of time, usually more than 2 years, gift card may be deactivated from immediate use at a cash register. The deactivation date is not an expiration date on the gift card balance, however. The available card balance, as of the deactivation, will remain available for use, but you may be required to exchange a deactivated gift card, at no charge, for a new gift card in the amount of the available balance. If you have problems obtaining a replacement gift card after deactivation, please contact Rite Aid.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue

    • Loading limits: $25-$500.
    • E-card must be printed for in-store use, or displayed on a mobile device.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Sears

    • Loading limits: $10-$500.
    • Rewards available with registration in the Shop Your Way Rewards Program.
    • E-card must be printed for in-store use.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • SpaFinder.com

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $25, $50, $75, $100, $125, $150, $200, $250, $300, $500. E-card: Same as above and in increments of $50 between $300 and $500.
    • E-card may need to be printed depending on location/franchise.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Sports Authority

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $5-$500. E-card: $25, $50, $100, $200.
    • Only e-card has loss/theft protection.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Staples

    • Loading limits: Gift card: $25, $50, $75, $100. E-card: $5-$500.
    • Secure shipping fee: $1.99.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
    • Loading limits: $5-$1,000. Some card offers have a max of $200.
    • E-card is not reloadable unless converted to mobile.
    • E-cards can be used only online unless converted to mobile.
    • Shipping fee can be $1.95.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Toys R Us

    • Loading limits: $10-$1,000.
    • Gift card is reloadable. E-card is not reloadable.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Walgreens

    • Loading limits: In-store cards: $5-$500. Online cards: $25, $50, $100.
    • Loading limits: Gift card: $10-$1,000. E-card: $5-$200.
    • If a non-Sam's Club member receives a gift card (either type), there is a 10% service fee.
    • E-cards must be printed to use in Wal-Mart or Sam's Club.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.
  • Whole Foods Market

    • Loading limits: $20-$500 online. $5-$500 in stores.
    • Virtual and physical gift cards cannot be used online.
    • A gift card cannot be replaced if lost or stolen. Gift cards should be treated like cash. For this reason, Whole Foods advises using UPS for shipping because it is more secure. Under certain circumstances, and if the card has not been redeemed, Whole Foods may be able to reissue a card if you have your gift card number and proof of purchase. Lost physical cards will be replaced with e-cards.
    • To buy a mobile/e-card gift card, you must provide email address or phone number.

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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