Gift cards
6:48 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Advice To Consumers: Use Gift Cards Right Away

Did you get a gift card this holiday season? You're not alone.

Consumers were expected to spend about $80 billion on gift cards this year, and advocates suggest using them right away to avoid a lost or stolen card.

"It's also important not to overspend," said Odysseas Papadimitriou, the CEO of CardHub, a clearinghouse for credit and gift cards. "Sometimes we tend to think about [gift cards] as not real money, as something we have and we have to spend. Gift cards should be used to subsidize purchases we were going to make anyway. They should not be used as an excuse to spend more."

For those who don't plan to use a gift card right away, Papadimitriou suggests keeping the card in a safe place, and making a copy.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman