SOURCE: RetailMeNot

December 26, 2007 10:00 ET

RetailMeNot's Dos and Don'ts for Making the Most of Your Gift Card

Top Retail Coupon Website Offers Advice to the Millions of Consumers Who Have Received a Gift Card This Holiday Season

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - December 26, 2007) - RetailMeNot, the web's leading consumer destination for online coupons, discounts and promotional codes for merchandise, travel and services, today announced a list of dos and don'ts for using gift cards wisely. A National Retail Federation survey found that 88% of shoppers plan to buy two or more gift cards this holiday season, bringing gift card spending up to a record $26.3 billion, a six percent increase over last year. If you're a recipient of a gift card this year, here is what you need to know:

Do: Stretch Your Gift Card by Using Online Discounts

Online coupons and promotional codes are a great way to extend the value of your gift card and avoid wasting gift card dollars on shipping and handling fees. Before submitting your online order, visit for easy access to over 50,000 discounts from 10,000 online merchants and make sure you're getting the best deal.

Don't: Let Your Gift Card Expire Before You Have a Chance to Use It

Check the terms and conditions on your gift card as soon as possible to see if your card comes with an expiration date or depreciating value. Many states have laws which require retailers to treat unredeemed gift cards as abandoned property after a period of time and turn over unused gift card dollars to the state government. Last year, consumers lost nearly $8 billion because of unredeemed gift cards, according to Massachusetts-based research firm Tower Group.

Do: Protect Your Gift Card against Loss

Thanks to new technology, many retailers have the ability to let shoppers register their gift cards through the store's website to protect against loss. Registering your card online will enable you to check your balance online and receive a replacement if your original card is lost.

Don't: Get Stuck with a Gift Card for a Store You Don't Like

If you receive a gift card to a store you don't like, you still have options. Gift cards sell for close to full value on eBay, and several websites offer to buy back or help you trade unused gift cards. You can also always re-gift cards that don't expire.

Do: Spend Early to Take Advantage of Post-Holiday Sales

Retailers typically do not count a gift card as a sale until the gift card has been redeemed. In order to entice shoppers to use cards quickly, they offer special sales and new merchandise in January.

Don't: Be the Victim of a Card Crook

Gift card fraud is on the rise. One way thieves attack is by copying down the security code on the back of the card and calling the 800 number until the card is activated, then draining the value before the unsuspecting shopper is able to use it. If you're a victim, call the store immediately and be prepared with the receipt from the person who gave you the card.

About RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot is the web's leading consumer destination for online coupons, discounts and promotional codes for merchandise, travel and services. RetailMeNot is an online community that posts, uses, recommends and ranks over 50,000 online discounts and promotions at more than 10,000 retailers, including Amazon, GameStop, Banana Republic, Macy's, J.Crew, Target and Victoria's Secret. RetailMeNot's mission is to help consumers save money and enjoy a hassle-free discount shopping experience online. RetailMeNot, a division of Stateless Systems, is located in Melbourne, Australia. is a registered domain of Stateless Systems. All other domains, names and trademarks mentioned herein are property of their respective owners.