Iowa Christmas shoppers beware! The state Treasurer’s office wants to make sure you get the most for your money when buying universal gift cards. It’s estimated 19-billion dollars will be spent on gift cards nationwide this season. Iowa Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald says the trouble is — that plastic is sometimes stacked with hidden fees. If a bank issues a gift-credit card, they’ll tack on a fee usually between two-50 and ten-dollars.
Fitzgerald says you should read the fine print before buying gift cards and use them as soon as possible if they have expiration dates. Some retailers won’t accept the cards if they’re not used within six months, or they’ll charge a maintenance fee to keep the card active.
Fitzgerald warns still-other fees may be plugged in quietly as well.Fitzgerald says some cards will see their value cut in half if they’re not used for six months. He says card givers and recipients need to read all of the instructions, which can be confusing. Fitzgerald says he’ll introduce legislation next year that would prohibit expiration dates and fees on all gift cards sold in Iowa.