Treat your Gift Cards like Cash

Photo Credit: bill.sarris via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: bill.sarris via Compfight cc

How many times have you seen this phrase and utterly ignored it? I tend to honestly. Every time I use a gift card at a store I don’t check to make sure I get back the right gift card. When I use cash though I make sure to count out what I get back to make sure I get the proper amount. With gift cards though i glance at it and think that it’s the same card I gave my cashier. Learning the hard way about not checking that at all times!

I’ve had a lovely few weeks going back and forth with Home Depot trying to get back the money lost on a gift card that was switched out when checked out. Technically it was my father who this happened to, but I’ve had to deal with it since he told me that it happened at a Home Depot in LA. He had used a gift card to check out and then was given back one that had a zero balance. The situation has been quite confusing indeed because he thought it had happened in my area. Unfortunately he forgot that he went to another Home Depot with that same gift card afterwards where he lives and that’s where it got switched! Only that store can help since they can double check security cameras to verify his story.

Form the day forth…I will always check my gift cards every single time I use them to make sure I get the right one back!

Feels like a card but it’s money

A lot of people I know tend to think of gift cards as free money that they don’t need to account for. It hurts to hand over a $20 but when it comes to a gift card it feels like a credit card. No visible consequences of paying for something thus the same mental thinking. That’s money though on those cards and if you lose it then well it’s gone. I admit I sometimes forget to use them because I don’t always carry them around too. It’s already been paid for so then I’m using extra money instead.

Double-check that card

I highly suspect that my father was a victim of a scam unfortunately. The gift card he had would’ve had a balance of about $150 on it. Turns out we were able to look up the card history through Home Depot’s systems and the card was cleaned out weeks later across the country. He had no reason to believe anything but good of the person helping him that day and it’s the first time he’s encountered this before. It’s been a big hassle and we haven’t been able to get the money back yet. Fingers crossed that we will but already a lot of time has gone into this.

Don’t let it out of your sight

Another thing I’ll be sure to do now is to watch the cashier if I hand over a gift card. Usually they stand right in front of you and you can see everything. If I ever use a self-checkout though sometimes the cashier walks off to a separate station. A bit harder to track but I’ll be extra careful to check it as soon as I get it back.


Gift cards are so simple to use that it’s easy to not think much about it when paying with them. It’s a form of money though so I should definitely be more careful about it.

How do you treat your gift cards?

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