SOURCE: Blackhawk Network

Blackhawk Network

December 02, 2010 09:00 ET

Blackhawk Network and Network Branded Prepaid Card Association Offer Consumers Helpful Tips for Using and Buying Gift Cards This Holiday Season

PLEASANTON, CA--(Marketwire - December 2, 2010) - Blackhawk Network, a leading provider of prepaid and financial payments products for consumers and businesses, has teamed up with the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA), a leading industry organization, to offer consumers valuable tips to make the most of their gift cards this holiday season. NBPCA is a non-profit, inter-industry trade association that supports the growth and success of network branded prepaid cards. Blackhawk Network's Gift Card Mall™ features over 300 retail partner gift cards in a variety of leading grocery, mass, convenience, drug and specialty stores, as well as online at www.GiftCardMall.com.

For the 2010 holiday season, Blackhawk Network and NBPCA offer the following consumer insights:

  • Give the gift of time and choice: The funds on branded gift cards don't expire for at least five years and those sold at Gift Card Mall never expire, meaning your friends or family can use your gift for what they want, when they want.
  • Enjoy the convenience of your prepaid gift card: Use your gift card anywhere the logo on the card is accepted -- even online. Before you go shopping, make sure you know your available balance; most cards offer free online balance tracking, text or telephone alerts. When a cardholder makes a purchase, they should record it to keep track of their balance.
  • Select gifts that are both versatile and personalized: Shop around this season and you'll find lots of festive options, including gift cards that come with fun packaging and cards that can be personalized specifically for your recipient.
  • Register your American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa cards to take advantage of all of their protections: Be sure to register the card and keep the customer service number. If your gift card is misplaced, you can receive a free replacement card. Call the customer service number as this enables you to dispute transactions not authorized by you.
  • Split payments: If there is not enough value on the card to pay for a purchase, the difference can be paid with a second form of payment, such as a credit, debit card, cash or check. The cardholder should let the cashier know that they'll be paying with two forms of payment.
  • Be aware of special transactions: At gas stations, given the settings in the card systems, it is highly recommended that the card is swiped with the attendant rather than paying at the pump directly. Gas pumps will automatically hold at least $75 when the card is swiped as a credit transaction. If the balance of the card is less than that, the card will be declined. If the card has a sufficient amount to cover, but the transaction is cancelled, the hold can remain on the card for at least three days.
  • Restaurants, bars, taxis, beauty and barber shops, and health and beauty spas: When using a prepaid gift card at a merchant where a tip may be included, the transaction may be authorized for an additional 20% above your total bill. However, the tip amount is at your discretion. The actual amount processed to your card will not exceed the amount of the bill plus the tip added by you.
  • Understand the restrictions: Gift cards are not reloadable, redeemable for cash, except as required by law, and cannot be used at ATMs or for gambling. Cards can also not be used at merchants requiring a manual card imprint. They also cannot be used to make preauthorized or recurring bill payments.

To learn more about branded gift cards and to view consumer experiences please visit www.NBPCA.org or the NBPCA Facebook page. You can also view NBPCA's videos showing consumers sharing why they love gift cards at the following link: http://www.nbpca.org/en/Consumer-Corner.aspx.

About the NBPCA
The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) is a non-profit, inter-industry trade association that supports the growth and success of network branded prepaid cards. The NBPCA brings together responsible members of the prepaid industry to provide a fact-based voice to media, government and consumers, developing recommended best practices and promoting education to help consumers optimize their experience with network branded prepaid cards. For additional information, visit www.NBPCA.org, or consumers are encouraged to visit the NBPCA Facebook for education about branded prepaid cards.

About Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network, a subsidiary of Safeway Inc., is a leading provider of prepaid and financial payments products for consumers and businesses. The company's Gift Card Mall™ offers the industry's most popular prepaid gift card and telecom products. Gift Card Mall reaches more than 165 million people each week through an exclusive network of leading grocery, big box, convenience, drug, and specialty stores and is available through Internet retailers including GiftCardMall.com. Blackhawk Network's business solutions include reward and incentive programs that offer choice and flexibility through a wide array of card brands, custom designed Visa® prepaid cards and fulfillment options.

Headquartered in Pleasanton, California, Blackhawk Network Inc. has offices in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Mexico and the United Kingdom. For more information about Blackhawk Network visit www.blackhawknetwork.com and www.giftcardmall.com

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