From the reasons not to give gift cards to safeguarding your checking account from ID thieves

One for the Money: Why not to give gift cards this holiday season

Here's a look at Danielle Serino's consumer news for Tuesday. It's 'One For The Money.'

Checking for Checking
When we talk about ID theft, we usually focus on thieves opening credit cards in our name. Well here’s something else to worry about. Thieves are opening bank accounts in their victim’s names.

Making matters worse, it probably won't show up on your credit report. That's why you need to order a Checking Account Report instead. Haven't heard of that huh?

Checking Account Reports show your check-writing and banking history. Some banks and credit unions use these reports to help decide whether to offer you an account.

The information can include whether an account was closed due to unpaid overdrafts or fees. You can also find accounts you might not have closed after you moved or switched banks. Those open accounts could be costing you money or leave you with negative marks. 

But just like credit reports, you're entitled to a free copy every year. 

 

Benefits of Buying with Credit

That brings up to the topic of cash versus credit for your holiday shopping. A study by Wallet Hub shows some cards are better than others depending on the coverage you want.

For example, we've all heard about price match guarantees, where you can get a refund for the price difference if you find a lower price somewhere else within a certain time frame. Well about fifty two percent of major credit cards do the same.

Wallet Hub say the winners here are Chase and Discover cards which provide up to $500 in coverage per item and $2,500 per year.

When it comes to manufacturers warranties, most major cards will extend the original warranty on certain purchases, free of charge. So if an item breaks after its original warranty runs out, you may be eligible for a refund.

The ones that have the best protections are all Citi cards and American Express cards.

Now, for credit card protections from damage or theft, again, top honors go to all Citi cards, followed by Chase Sapphire Reserve and J.P. Morgan Reserve.


To Gift Card or Not? 

Whether you use cash or credit, apparently the number one gift people want this holiday is a gift card. But some consumer experts say they're a terrible gift, especially ones for retailers or restaurants.

Major retailers closed more than five thousand stores this year. While several mall-based chains, including The Limited, and American Apparel, shut down all of their stores.

It's the same with restaurants. Applebee's, Outback Steakhouse and Joe's Crab Shack are a few of the chains that also closed locations.

So if you give someone a gift card and they don't use it right away, they could be out of luck if the store goes out of business. And with some restaurant gift cards, you can't use them for gratuity. 

Even prepaid cards from Visa, Mastercard and American Express have their drawbacks because there are fees to buy them.

The better gift this holiday season? Cash. There's no expiration date and you can use it just about anywhere!
 

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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