(This is an opinion article)

Every time a local business closes down or changes hands, one of the first questions I see immediately is...

"But what happens to our gift cards?"

It's a totally valid question, considering you spent your hard-earned dollars on that card, and you should be able to use it. But, what if the place that closed isn't a franchise... just a Mom & Pop business?

Too Bad, So Sad?

Unfortunately, most of the time the answer provided is simply "too bad". However, select businesses HAVE honored gift cards during their wind-down process. But if a business suddenly, and instantly, closes its doors... you're probably out of luck.

Over the years we ALL have gotten a gift card to some business, I'm sure of it. But as I grew up, and would receive an Xbox gift card... or JCPenney... or even a local business gift card, and I grew tired of learning either those cards expired, or the business shut down and my gift card was now useless.

But I Want To Give Someone A Gift!

Totally get that, too. A Gift Card is a perfect example of "You probably have whatever I wanted to buy you, so here, go buy yourself something"... and I am ok with that. These days, I refuse to buy a gift card from ANY business. Why?

  1. All a gift card does is make YOU pay the business ahead of time. Essentially, loaning that business money, until you make that purchase.
  2. If you never use that card, that business just got FREE money.
  3. If they shut down, you lose your money. (Usually)

A Simple Solution - Prepaid Debit Cards

You can still shop local, supporting all your favorite friends around town... but, instead of their branded gift card that is only valid in their store... get someone a Prepaid Debit Card.

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Prepaid Debit Cards work nearly anywhere, and don't have the same issues as a Gift Card locked to a business. They MUST be valid for at least 5 years, too, which is great for you Gift Card hoarders.

Or, fall back to Ol' Faithful. No, not the geyser. CASH $$$$$$$

What are your thoughts?

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