some are fine and don't lose value. I just turned in an old $50 one for Office Depot we found in an old envelope in my old desk which came in the 90's and got a replacement card for the exact same value this past month. I'd put it in there maybe 7-8 years ago, thinking I'd use it for printer ink at some time and forgot about it till recently. Office Depot for one does not time devalue their gift cards. Unfortunately they'd changed their card system so mine couldn't be used online nor at the store, needed a new one for the amount which would interface with the newer card system. That may be the case with other cards at other providers. I know we've used old Walmart cards before, sometimes a few years old and not had problems getting full value. That happens because the children would get such a card for birthday from friend or relative but want to buy something elsewhere and we'd switch it out for cash with them. They'd end up in a drawer and when cleaning we'd notice and take them in on regular shopping trip to cash in on purchases. I think they aren't such a bad idea really, safer than sending money through the mail.
I came from the dollar store and found hanging, a bazillion(lots of them) debit cards from various logo(name) vendors. The small bundle has the debit card and some immediate usage rules and info and the immediate fee assigned before use. You can re-use(reload cash) to the card, so it remains active.
My thoughts are fees and more fees. I'm sure if you don't use it fast enough some fee kicks-in or administrative, any label you want to put on it. if the service works for ya, good deal, if not then you toss it after all money spend. However, I see if a small amount if left, it gets sucked up, not enough for the user to bother with. -OR- just providing the cash, they've basically gave a reverse loan to that service. they have your money and I'm sure it doesn't just sit, it becomes part of some financial instrument to make more money. Gads, I hate any plastic and these I'm sure have less protection for the user than CCards. any comments? -----Willy