Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

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    wprager
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    Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

    Post by wprager on Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:16 pm

    Doing some Christmas shopping the other day, I was going to get a gift card for my son to give to his brother. I didn't see any EB Games cards at the pharmacy, but this shiny new "Vanilla" Master Card caught my eye. They were all sold out of the $50 denominations (if that sounds like a lot for one kid to give another, he also missed his birthday present), but I found a $25 card on the other side. So I asked the clerk if they had any more -- either a second $25 card or a $50 one. She returned with a second $25 card and I was on my way to the cash register.

    This is when it got strange. As the cashier was swiping the cards to activate them, the cash register flashed a $3.95 activation fee. While paying $4 extra was annoying to begin with, it was doubly so because, in reality, I just wanted a single $50 card. But wait, it gets worse.

    I googled these cards and found a blog where the guy recommends to just give cash (I don't know why I've been brought up to think that cash is somehow not a good gift, while a gift card is OK). But the comments in the blog made me even more upset. I won't go into details of the comments, but here is the skinny on this card (and, I can only assume, the Visa version as well):
      It is not a gift card; it is a pre-paid credit card (you can top it up and continue using it)
      It is apparently difficult to find out the balance (a lot of people reported various issues)
      If not used, the card expires and you simply lose your money
      In addition to the $3.95 activation fee, there is also a monthly service fee of $2.50 -- better use that $25 Master Card quick or it will cost you $30 in fees in 12months!


    Bottom line, stay away. Far, far away. The only advantage of these cards over cash is that they can be used online. Not a good enough reason, IMO, to overlook all the other crap.

    Needless to say, I'm going back to Shoppers to try and return them.


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    Re: Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

    Post by The Silfer Server on Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:02 pm

    That's insane and immoral. Kind of surprised the Better Business Bureau or some other governing agency hasn't put an end to it.

    For an interesting site, www.plasticjungle.com sells Giftcards for discounted rates. Although I'm not sure if it's USA exclusive. There is a Canadian one called www.cardswap.ca, with some pretty huge deals on it. Personally, I've never used either one, so I don't know how trust worthy it is, but I figure after xmas, there will be a huge selection on some gift cards, for pretty much free money (in a way).
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    Re: Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

    Post by Ev on Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:51 pm

    I received a Mastercard Gift Card a while ago. I had nothing like this attached to it. It was just like a MC with a $50 limit you could use anywhere. The only thing was that you couldn't use it online.

    I'm not sure if all that stuff you googled is up to date or true. I had no problems with mine.
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    Re: Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

    Post by wprager on Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:43 pm

    Big Ev wrote:I received a Mastercard Gift Card a while ago. I had nothing like this attached to it. It was just like a MC with a $50 limit you could use anywhere. The only thing was that you couldn't use it online.

    I'm not sure if all that stuff you googled is up to date or true. I had no problems with mine.

    Googling just alerted me. The monthly fee and expiry date are true. The latest comment in that blog was from mid-November, btw.


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    Re: Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

    Post by Ev on Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:54 pm

    Oh wait, I remember now that mine was a Visa gift card. Maybe their policies are different?
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    Re: Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

    Post by Number Twenty Nine on Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:57 pm

    I was going to send a Visa gift card to my Mother until I read the small print (you mentioned most of the caveats above).

    It's worse if you send a USA version to a Canadian as they jack the bearer with currency exchange fees.

    So I just bought a Sears Canada one online and had it delivered to my mother in Brampton.
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    Re: Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

    Post by wprager on Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:07 pm

    Big Ev wrote:Oh wait, I remember now that mine was a Visa gift card. Maybe their policies are different?

    Could be. Although I think they are all b*stards and if one of them is stabbing you through the heart, you know the other one is taking notes.


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    Re: Master Card "gift" cards -- STAY AWAY!!!!

    Post by hemlock on Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:01 pm

    Why is it a surprise to anyone that these financial institutions are looking to gouge anyone?

    Frankly, this is old news.

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