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Gift Card Givers Should Be Wary Of Hidden Fees

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

DENVER (CBS4)- E-Gift Cards are becoming popular this holiday season. Instead of getting a card worth a certain value, the credit is transferred right to a smart phone.

Sounds great, but CBS4 Money Saver Suzanne McCarroll is warning shoppers of hidden fees. A recent study shows that one in seven gift cards charges purchase fees to use the card and eight percent have expiration dates.

In 2010, gift cards were a $90 billion industry in the U.S. This year it’s expected to top $100 billion.

“They’re a good option when you don’t know what to give someone,” said one shopper.

“I think it needs to be more personal. I think about what I’d like and go out and find it,” said another shopper.

Half of all gift cards are available as E-cards. They appear right on your smart phone.

A new website, coupontrade.com, allows consumers to get rid of unwanted cards.

“We built a marketplace for users to sell their gift cards in daily deals. We’re not buying and reselling them like others in the marketplace,” said coupontrade.com spokesman Bradley Wasz.

The advantage is that consumers set their own price, possibly even getting 100 percent of the value of the gift card. The site charges 10 percent of your final sale price, not the full value of the gift card.

“I’m more vegetarian, I wouldn’t appreciate something at a steakhouse,” said one shopper.

The most popular gift cards are Walmart, amazon.com, Target, Home Depot and Visa. Twenty percent of gift cards go unused, that’s $20 billion wasted every holiday season.

If you have a money saving tip that you would like Suzanne to check out, call the Money Saver tipline at (303) 863-TIPS (8477) or email her at moneysaver@cbsdenver.com. Also visit the Money Saver section for more stories about saving money for you and your family.

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