Last week while I was grocery shopping, the gift-card display piqued my curiosity. So I took a few minutes to read the fine print on back of several packages. The cards are all different. Here’s what I found on the $25 version from Visa.
You pay a 15.8 percent front-end fee.
The $25 card costs $3.95. And I thought 2009 bonuses were outrageous. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a 15.8 percent front-end load.
Beginning day 366, you lose 8 percent every month. Guaranteed.
That’s right. After month twelve, there is a $2 maintenance fee each and every month. The card zeros out in March 2012, assuming you buy it today and don’t make any purchases. The packaging says “valid thru 6/2013,” but fees have eaten all $25 given my assumptions. By the way, there’s a $5.95 “replacement fee.” And there’s a $15 “expired card” fee,” which make me wonder who’s getting the gift.
Hey, Visa, we know you’re a proud sponsor of the Olympics. Why don’t you give consumers a break and pull your gift cards from the shelves. And don’t blame them on MetaBank, the issuer. The fine print says you “license” the cards. Why sink this low?