RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Gift cards are one of the easiest gifts to give and most popular to get. While the plastic bundles of joy are typically a safe bet to buy, this year more than ever, make sure you're buying from a retailer that isn't on the brink of going bankrupt.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are struggling and if they go out of business, your gift card will be worthless.
You also need to be aware of the extra fees. Gift cards from Visa, MasterCard, or AmEx each come with activation fees that you have to pay on top of the value of the gift card. Also, look for added bonuses on gift cards. Many restaurants, retailers, and small businesses are offering you a bonus gift card for each purchase.
Make sure you don't forget about cashback offers. Online sites like Gift Card Granny and Raise offer cards at discount. We found discounts for many major retailers, like 4% off on Kohl's gift cards, and 10% off Gap gift cards.
If you buy gift cards in stores, look at the gift card's packaging before giving it. If it's been tampered with or you see the strip on the back has been scratched off, don't buy it. You can foil that fraud by e-gifting.
Again, the biggest thing to remember, if you get a gift card don't forget to use it as more than $3 billion in gift cards go unused each year.