When reading the Terms for gift card reviews, it's common to see a portion which states "same as cash". However, this shouldn't be taken at face value because it usually means something vary different.
For example, the Neiman Marcus Gift Card has Terms which state:
"NM Gift Cards may be treated the same as cash."
I think that sounds great; however, this couldn't be further from the truth because the following four bullets are:
NM Gift Cards are not redeemable for cash, nor can they be returned for a cash refund.
NM Gift Card actual cash value is 1/10 of one cent.
NM Gift Cards cannot be purchased with an NM Virtual Gift Card, nor can they be used to purchase an NM Virtual Gift Card.
NM Gift Cards cannot be applied as payment on Neiman Marcus Credit Card accounts.
When I see "same as cash" I immediately think the gift card will not be replaced if lost, stolen or even damaged. The final bullet in the Terms of the Neiman Marcus Gift Card confirms my assumption and reads:
Neiman Marcus is not responsible for lost or stolen NM Gift Cards.
Here are a few things one should be able to do if a gift card were truly treated as the "same as cash" by the merchant:
- Exchange the gift card for cash.
- Or at least receive cash back for the remaining balance of the gift card after a purchase.
- Pay down a charge account with the the gift card.
- Use it for gratuity, alcohol, lottery tickets or any service which cash is accepted as a payment.
Mother's Day Gift Card Advice
Merchant's using such wording (or not fully disclosing limitations) can be confusing to consumers. In fact, simplifying the terms of a gift card is one of the reasons Gift Card Score was created. We wanted a great way to help consumers find the best gift cards and understand the restrictions which might apply to their purchase.
Naturally, gift cards which are not replaceable will have their Gift Card Score lowered by our algorithm. So, if you're shopping for a Monther's Day Gift Card be sure to check the Gift Card Score before making a purchase decision; it will save you time and help you find a great gift or at the very least understand the terms of the product you purchase. Below is an example of what a gift card review currently looks like on ScripSmart; the second bullet down let's you know the gift card is not replaceable.