Before you buy gift cards or vouchers, make sure you check the terms and conditions so you can answer these key questions. You can often find the terms and conditions on the card or voucher itself, or if purchased online, in the email.

Is there an expiry date?

If there is, tell the recipient so it does not sit there unspent until it is too late. Expiry dates are often 1–2 years from the date of purchase.

If you have brought a voucher online, such as from a daily deal site, there are often limits on when and how the voucher can be used. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully.

What happens if the expiry date has passed?

If the gift card or voucher is now expired, the store does not have to honour it. You could try and take the card into the store and ask if they will still let you use it.

Is there an activation or transaction fee?

Check the terms and conditions about this, and let the recipient know if there is a fee.

Can I get change if I only spend part of the amount on the card?

The store might not offer change on a gift card or voucher so a $20 and a $10 might be a better option than a $30.

What happens if I lose my card?

If you lose your gift card or voucher, the store does not have to honour it. Register the card in the store's system if you can – that way if it is lost the money is not.

What about if the store has gone out of business or changed ownership?

If the issuer goes out of business it is possible the gift card will be unusable. This may also be the case if the business is sold to another owner. So spend it as quickly as possible.