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Best, Worst Gift Cards For Christmas

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A variety of gift cards for use at various stores and restaurants are seen at a convenience store in Brunswick, Maine, in this Dec. 12, 2007 file photo. [File photo] A variety of gift cards for use at various stores and restaurants are seen at a convenience store in Brunswick, Maine, in this Dec. 12, 2007 file photo. [File photo]

Emily Wood, News 9

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The National Retail Federation reports 57 percent of American ask for gift cards. But before you pick up those last-minute gifts, you probably want to know which ones could have some hidden costs.

There are new rules to make gift cards more user-friendly, like fewer restrictions and fewer fees. The new rules keep cards from expiring for at least 5 years and retailers have to spell out any restrictions on the cards.

Scripsmart.com tracks gift card policies, from restaurants to retailers. According to the website, some of the top-scoring gift cards are:

  • Bass Pro Shops- Lets customers redeem online and in store. There are no hidden fees no expirations, and you can even check your balance online.
  • Verizon - Unused gift cards are refundable. They're redeemable online and at all store locations.
  • Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy - Allows you to reload your card as you spend. No hidden fees. You can also get refunds on unused cards.

According to the Scripsmart.com, some of the lowest-scoring gift cards are:

  • Zales - The card is not replaceable if lost or stolen. You can't buy the card in the store and it is not refundable.
  • Borders- Cards are not reloadable or refundable.
  • Blockbuster - There is no FAQ website for the cards and no help line for you to call with questions about the card. Blockbuster is still operating, but did file for bankruptcy.

ScripsMart.com also tracks the best and worst restaurants in terms of gift cards.

Best Restaurants Gift Cards:

  • Steak-n-Shake - scores an 83 percent for its policies. The card never expires, you can always check your card balance online, and it's reloadable.
  • Cracker Barrel - rates an 81 percent. You can purchase it online or in store, there are no hidden fees and you can use it as payment for a credit card balance.
  • Applebees – scores an 80 percent for its policies. You can purchase a gift card there for as little as $5 and it never expires.

Worst Restaurant Gift Cards:

  • Applebees E-Card – The gift cards you buy in the restaurant is great, but there is a difference with the ones available online. That's because The Applebees E card, the web version, is not accepted in all the restaurants.
  • Dave and Buster's - There's very little info available on these. No FAQ online, no way to check your balance online, and no way to replace if it's lost or stolen.
  • Ryan's Buffet - They also make the "buyer beware" list. The company won't replace the card if its lost or stolen and it is not refundable.
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