Bankrate Releases 2009 Gift Card Study

New Bankrate.com Research Reveals Fees and Trends for 2009's Gift Card Season

NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (AllPayNews) -- A new study released by Bankrate, Inc. reveals key tips and data regarding gift cards, an industry which reported $24.9 billion worth of consumer spending last holiday season. Bankrate surveyed 29 gift card issuers to determine fees that come from major gift card providers as well as where consumers can get the most value for their money. The full 2009 Gift Card Study can be viewed at: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/2009-gift-card-study-1.aspx.

"As has been the case for five straight years, gift cards are expected to be the number one present this holiday season," said Ellen Cannon, managing editor of Bankrate.com. "Consumers need to be aware of the fine print on their gift cards to make sure they get the most out of their holiday gift."
Bankrate's study reveals the following data about different types of gift cards:
Beware of fees on your major credit company gift cards if you don't spend the card after the first 12 months: Three credit issuers charge a $2.50 monthly maintenance fee after 12 months of inactivity on their gift cards;

All store gift cards don't charge a fee for purchasing their card in-store (Starbucks charges a $1.50 handling fee for cards purchased online), however all credit issuer gift cards charge a $3.95 fee upon purchase;

Keep an eye on your credit issuer gift card's "Valid Thru" date: While it's not an expiration date, your gift card will have a date on it which indicates when it's valid through (reportedly due to the shelf life of the magnetic strip). Gift card owners will have to call the issuing company to swap that card for a new one to use it;
When buying a retailer gift card, make sure that the card you're buying can also be used online. While most retailers do allow online purchasing, major retailers such as CVS, T.J. Maxx, and Marshall's do not allow their gift cards to be used online;
February 2010's Credit CARD Act will also have an impact on the gift card industry: While the CARD Act does not prohibit an inactivity fee, it does mandate that gift cards cannot expire in less than five years;

Some gift card issuers also offer free shipping on their cards, increasing the true dollar value of your gift card purchase. You can view a list of which retailers and credit issuers offer free shipping on their gift cards here: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/2009-gift-card-study-result....

About Bankrate, Inc.

The Bankrate network of companies includes Bankrate.com, Interest.com, Mortgage-calc.com, Nationwide Card Services, Savingforcollege.com, Fee Disclosure, InsureMe CreditCardGuide.com and Bankaholic. Each of these businesses helps consumers to make informed decisions about their personal finance matters. The company's flagship brand, Bankrate.com is a destination site of personal finance channels, including banking, investing, taxes, debt management and college finance. Bankrate.com is the leading aggregator of rates and other information on more than 300 financial products, including mortgages, credit cards, new and used auto loans, money market accounts and CDs, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees. Bankrate.com reviews more than 4,800 financial institutions in 575 markets in 50 states. In 2008, Bankrate.com had nearly 72 million unique visitors. Bankrate.com provides financial applications and information to a network of more than 75 partners, including Yahoo! ( YHOO), America Online ( TWX), The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times ( NYT). Bankrate.com's information is also distributed through more than 500 newspapers. Bankrate, Inc. was acquired by Apax Partners, one of the world's leading private equity investment group, in September 2009. Apax operates across the United States, Europe and Asia and has more than 30 years of investing experience. For more information on Apax, visit: www.Apax.com.

NOTE TO EDITORS: The information contained in this release is available for print or broadcast with attribution to Bankrate.com.
For more information contact:

Chris Spagnuolo
Public Relations Manager
cspagnuolo@bankrate.com
(917) 368-8671
SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.