Wal-Mart has launched a new test program that allows customers to exchange gift cards from more than 200 retailers, restaurants and airlines for Wal-Mart gift cards. The Wal-Mart cards will be worth between 70% and 95% of the original value of the gift cards for shoppers to use in stores and online.
A European Union agency is advising online shoppers about how to protect themselves from fraud. For example, the E.U. says consumers should ensure that online retail sites are legitimate, check accounts after making payments online and create electronic-transaction limits for payment cards. "Just as the online shopping environment provides the consumer and retailer with many benefits, it also provides criminals with the opportunities to defraud unsuspecting consumers and retailers, to steal money and to steal financial and personal data," the European Network and Information Security Agency said.
The Canadian government has decided to adopt a nine-point code of conduct regarding credit and debit cards. The move has lined up major credit and debit card issuers against business groups and retailers. The most controversial point is that the code would allow retailers to choose which types of debit cards they will accept.
The National Retail Federation and Retail Industry Leaders Association are planning to merge this summer, integrating their staffs and joining forces to lobby for retailers' interests. "The challenges and opportunities before our members are unprecedented," RILA Chairman Robert A. Niblock and NRF Chairman Myron E. "Mike" Ullman III said in a joint statement. "Now is the right time to bring these associations together." NRF President Tracy Mullin also announced her pending retirement, which she told NRF's leadership about in 2008.
With statistics showing $8 billion in gift cards were not redeemed last year, Consumer Reports has created a public education campaign that includes a Web site with advice on the best ways to give and redeem the cards.