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Asher Cooper
Asher Cooper

Where To Buy Visa Gift Cards Without A Fee


One of my favorite deals is back! Staples is selling $200 Visa gift cards without any purchase fees. These gift cards act like debit and credit cards, and you can use them anywhere Visa is accepted.




where to buy visa gift cards without a fee


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For the week of 3/5 to 3/11, Staples is offering the $200 Visa gift cards with no purchase fees. This is available in-store only. Typically, these $200 gift cards come with a $6.95 activation fee per card.


You can get a Visa gift card without fee from several locations, including banks and select retailers. Many banks offer Visa gift cards with no additional purchase fees, but the activation fee is usually not waived.


Aside from random gift card purchases for birthdays or teacher gifts, some people also go out of their way to buy gift cards with a credit card, usually to earn rewards or save money on a specific purchase.


Buying gift cards in person is a breeze regardless of how you decide to pay. When you buy a gift card with a credit card in person, you simply bring the gift card to the register and choose credit as your form of payment.


Just make sure you pick the right type of rewards credit card for your gift card purchases. Some rewards credit cards only let you earn cash back, while others offer flexible rewards or points you can use in a specific airline or hotel program.


As a side note, buying gift cards from small businesses can also be a helpful move if you are looking for a way to help small businesses recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. By buying gift cards now, you can send businesses some much-needed cash and wait to redeem your gift card for goods or services at a later date.


Generally speaking, gift cards code as a cash advance when you buy them directly from a financial institution or when you buy a prepaid card instead of a gift card. However, you can get around this by buying gift cards within your normal shopping, such as in your weekly grocery haul at the supermarket.


You can also get around dealing with surprise cash advance fees by asking retailers if their gift cards code as a cash advance or purchase before you buy, or you can call your card issuer and ask them to turn off cash advances on your card altogether.


The best credit cards to use for gift cards are ones that let you rack up as much in rewards as you possibly can. With that being said, you should choose a credit card for gift cards carefully and based on the type of rewards you hope to earn.


Why this card is ideal for gift cards: Use this card for gift card purchases made at office supply stores in order to earn 5 percent back on up to $25,000 spent each account anniversary year.


Why this card is ideal for gift cards: This card lets you earn 4 percent back on gift cards purchased at gas stations, up to annual limits. Costco.com and Costco stores also offer a broad selection of gift cards you could earn 2 percent back on, including gift cards offered at a discounted rate.


This legal guide answers common questions about gift certificates and gift cards sold after January 1, 2004, with respect to California law. Since most of the answers also have exceptions, be sure to read the entire answer. Please be aware that the federal government has also recently enacted regulations on the topic of gift certificates and gift cards, effective August 22, 2010.1 Federal law may pre-empt California law where the terms are inconsistent and federal law is more protective of consumers. Because the federal regulation is so new, specific issues of pre-emption have not been decided by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve system, nor have they been litigated. It is the opinion of this office that, where the laws are inconsistent, the law that is most protective of consumers should be followed. For an overview and comparison of federal and California gift card law, please see Tables A and B, attached.


Q.1. Are a "gift certificate" and a "gift card" the same thing? A. Yes. However, the terms exclude a gift card that can be used with multiple unaffiliated sellers of goods or services (for example, a card that can be used at all or some of the stores at a particular mall)6 provided the expiration date, if any, is printed on the card.7 Also, the rules described in this Legal Guide do not apply to prepaid calling cards issued solely to provide an access number and authorization code for prepaid calling services.8


A seller of unaffiliated, multiple seller cards without an expiration date -- many of which are sold by banks like pre-paid debit cards -- may take the position that such cards are not included in the definition of "gift certificate," and therefore service fees or dormancy fees can be imposed without being disclosed. Buyers should beware when purchasing "unaffiliated, multiple seller" cards that not all questions about the terms of these cards have been answered and ask carefully about their terms before purchase.


Q.4. Can the holder of a gift certificate or gift card redeem it for cash? A. This depends on the policy of the seller. The gift certificate law states that a seller must either redeem a gift certificate or gift card sold after January 1, 1997, for its cash value, or replace it with a new certificate or card at no cost.18 However, California's Legislative Counsel has concluded that a seller is not required to redeem a gift certificate in cash when requested by a consumer.19 Thus, some gift certificate sellers redeem the gift certificate for cash or a combination of merchandise and cash, while some issue a new certificate for any balance remaining after the original certificate is redeemed. A gift certificate or gift card without an expiration date is valid until it is redeemed or replaced.20


Q.6. What happens if the seller of the gift certificate or gift card files bankruptcy? A. A gift certificate or gift card sold by a seller that seeks bankruptcy protection may have no value. However, the holder of the certificate or card may have a claim against the bankruptcy estate. Sellers that file "Chapter 11" (reorganization) bankruptcy intend to stay in business, so they typically will ask the bankruptcy court for permission to honor gift certificates in an effort to maintain good customer relations. If the bankruptcy court does not allow gift certificates or gift cards to be honored, or if the seller files "Chapter 7" (liquidation) bankruptcy, holders of gift certificates or gift cards are creditors in the bankruptcy case. They have relatively high priority among unsecured creditors in a Chapter 7 case, and may receive some percentage of the certificate's or card's value, but only if the bankruptcy estate has enough assets to pay claims. For information on filing a claim, and other basic information on bankruptcy, see "Consumer Tips on Retail Store Bankruptcies," under the "Publications" tab at www.dca.ca.gov, and then go to the "Consumer Publications" section, for the list of consumer publications. A recently adopted California law is intended to help gift certificate and gift card holders when the seller declares bankruptcy. It requires a seller in bankruptcy to honor gift certificates issued before the date of the bankruptcy filing.25 No court has ruled on the effectiveness of this law.


In the case of a gift card usable with multiple, unaffiliated sellers, ask about expiration dates and any applicable fees. In addition, ask about the locations where the unspent portion of the value can be redeemed, and the manner in which that amount can be redeemed. This is important even for "single seller" cards, many of which can be purchased at an unaffiliated location.27


Consider purchasing a gift certificate or gift card from a retailer for use with it and its affiliates. These gift certificates and gift cards are subject to the protections of the gift certificate law. On the other hand, gift certificates and gift cards that can be used with multiple sellers that are not affiliated are not entirely covered by the gift certificate law.28


112 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 205.20. 2California Civil Code Sections 1749.45-1749.6. 3California Civil Code Section 1749.5(a). 4California Civil Code Section 1749.5(b). 5California Civil Code Section 1749.51. 6California Civil Code Section 1749.45(a). 7California Civil Code Section 1749.45(a). 8California Civil Code Section 1749.45(b). California Business and Professions Code Section 17538.9 permits certain fees and practices with respect to prepaid calling cards. This exception was modified effective January 1, 2005, to clarify that a redemption date was not another name for an expiration date. (Stats. 2004 ch 319 (AB656) [Assembly Floor analysis August 11, 2004].) 9One argument has been made that sellers in a single mall are actually "affiliated" under the law because they have each agreed to honor the cards. This argument has not been tested, and it is doubtful that it would be successful. In addition, many "multiple seller" cards are issued by banks, usable similar to pre-paid debit cards. A seller of these unaffiliated, multiple seller cards may take the position that such cards without an expiration date are exempt from the definition of "gift certificate" under Civil Code section 1749.45(a), and therefore service fees or dormancy fees can be imposed and do not have to be disclosed. This argument has not been tested to our knowledge. While such an argument could be made on the face of Civil Code section 1749.45(a), such fees could in fact use up the value of the card, violating the spirit of the law. Buyers should be aware when purchasing "unaffiliated, multiple seller" cards that not all questions about the terms of these cards have been answered by the Legislature or the courts. 10California Civil Code Sections 1749.5(a)(1),(f). 11California Civil Code Section 1749.5(d). 12While the term "capital letters" is found in the statute, we deduce that this requirement would not apply if the expiration date listed consists of only numbers. 13California Civil Code Section 1749.5(d)(1). 14California Civil Code Section 1749.5(d)(2). 15California Civil Code Section 1749.5(d)(3); 83 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 243 (2000). The Attorney General's Opinion concluded that a gift certificate for a meal sold by a restaurant may not contain an expiration date. In our opinion, the 2008 amendment to this section clarified and affirmed the Attorney General's position by limiting the exemption to "perishable food products," not just "food." 16California Civil Code Section 1749.5(a)(2). 17California Civil Code Section 1749.5(e). These rules have no effect on service fees imposed before January 1, 2004. (Statutes 2003, chapter 116, Section 4 (AB 1092).) Moreover, they would have no effect if a seller of a card usable with unaffiliated, multiple sellers successfully take the position that these prohibitions do not apply to the card because it does not contain an expiration date, and therefore is exempt from the definition of gift certificate under section 1749.45(a). 18California Civil Code Section 1749.5(b)(1). 19California Legislative Counsel, Opinion No. 1488 (February 11, 1997) Gift Certificates; see also California Civil Code Section 1749.5(b)(1), regarding gift certificates sold after January 1, 1997. 20California Civil Code Section 1749.5(c). Stats 2004 ch 319 (AB656) closed a "loophole" by allowing an expiration date to be called a redemption date. See Assembly Floor analysis dated August 11, 2004. 21California Civil Code section 1749.5(b)(2). Statutes 2007, chapter 640 (SB 250). 22California Civil Code section 1749.5(b). For the same reasons asserted in the Legislative Counsel opinion referenced in endnote 16, in our opinion, whether the value of the gift certificate is redeemed in cash or by check would be dependant upon the policy of the seller. In our opinion, any seller that accepts the card should be able to redeem the unspent portion. 23California Civil Code Section 1749.5(f). 24California Legislative Counsel, Opinion No. 1488 (February 11, 1997) Gift Certificates. 25California Civil Code Section 1749.6(b) (Statutes 2002, chapter 997 (AB 2473)). 26California Code of Civil Procedure Sections 1520-1520.5. 27For example, a supermarket such as Safeway may sell Borders gift cards usable only for merchandise at Borders stores. While those cards could not contain any expiration date or fees, there may be a question about where any unspent portion can be redeemed. 28California Civil Code Section 1749.45(a). 041b061a72


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