ScripSmart Releases 2011 Holiday Gift Card Report

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ScripSmart, the most comprehensive consumer resource for gift cards has released its 2011 Holiday Gift Card Report. The report summarizes data from over 600 gift cards issued by leading national merchants and offers insight into both common benefits and pitfalls of gift cards.

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There was a wide range in Gift Card Scores indicating some gift cards are much more consumer friendly than others.

With the holiday shopping season approaching, gift cards will once again be a consumer favorite. In order to shed light on the state of gift card consumer friendliness, ScripSmart (http://scripsmart.com) has released its 2011 Holiday Gift Card Report. The report summarizes data from over 600 gift cards and offers insight into both common benefits and pitfalls. Data is segmented by store-issued, plastic, electronic and bank-issued gift cards. The full report can be found online at http://www.scripsmart.com/gift_card_report_2011.

Positive Results

Gift card expiration dates are rare; 97.5% of store-issued gift cards do not impose an expiration date. Similarly, just 2.7% of store-issued gift cards deduct fees after the initial sale. 91.7% of store-issued gift cards offer a phone number for checking the balance of a gift card. Consumers can expect not to pay an additional fee when buying a gift card, 96.4% are free to purchase.

As the result of new federal legislation implemented in 2010, bank-issued gift cards are becoming more consumer friendly: 63.6% of bank-issued gift cards do not expire funds. Additionally, 100% of the bank-issued gift cards offer both phone and online balance inquiry features.

Room for Improvement

Consumers should ensure a gift card may be redeemed where their recipient is likely to shop; 24.6% of gift cards come with redemption restrictions (i.e. not redeemable via the merchant's website or physical store). Also, if you lose a gift card, you're most likely out of luck; 62.1% of gift cards do not offer a replacement if lost, stolen or damaged.

You can also expect your recipient to spend more than the face value of the gift card in order to receive the full value because just 3.6% of gift cards offer a cash-back policy without being required by law. Terms are also frequently not disclosed, 37.7% of store-issued gift cards do not provide Gift Card Terms when selling online.

Bank-issued gift cards are most likely to charge post-sale fees, 81.8% of those in the report charge fees after the initial sale.

Plastic vs. Electronic

Consumers are increasingly given an option between traditional plastic gift cards and electronic gift cards (egift cards). While both forms of store-issued gift cards typically do not charge fees or impose an expiration date, plastic gift cards have a higher chance of not being accepted online (20.3%) and egift cards have a higher chance of not being redeemed in-store (30.1%).

Gift Card Score®

The average Gift Card Score of store-issued gift cards in the report was 75. Bank issued gift cards faired much worse with an average Gift Card Score of 56.

There was a wide range in Gift Card Scores indicating some gift cards are much more consumer friendly than others. Several companies top the list with a Gift Card Score of 99; others perform much worse, 15 out of a possible 100 was the lowest Gift Card Score.

Top scoring brands include Bass Pro Shops, Whole Foods Market, The Container Store and Jack in the Box.

ScripSmart recommends checking the Gift Card Score before buying a gift card this holiday season.

About ScripSmart
ScripSmart, Inc. is the most comprehensive consumer guide to gift cards. The company reviews and ranks gift cards based on features, limitations and financial stability. Each gift card review on ScripSmart is supplemented with a Gift Card Score, a 100-point scale, reflecting the overall consumer friendliness of a gift card program. The company also offers free services to alert consumers of expiration dates, bankruptcy filings and allows consumers to share their most desired gift cards with friends and family. ScripSmart’s mission is to make gift cards better.

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Judd Lillestrand
ScripSmart
(415) 702-0389
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