I purchased a $25 Visa gift card a few years ago, and was surprised to find this morning that it had 0 balance. On questioning I learned that 1) they don't track activity older than one year and 2) the card is charged a $2 per month inactivity fee if it is not used for a period longer than 12 months.
So an unused $25 gift card will be empty in just over two years, and if you wait a year longer than that to check it, you won't be able to discover why.
Is there anything I can do that would count as activity that won't use the balance?
Are there any other options to avoid inactivity fees in the future?
Background and purpose of this gift card:
I was robbed at gunpoint many years ago, and there was a visa gift card in my wallet. They didn't even attempt to use the other cards, but I suppose they figured the gift card wasn't traceable. It was, and they were caught and prosecuted solely on the evidence of the gift card transactions. So now I carry one in my wallet as a security measure. I didn't read the fine print, however, so now it's empty. Looks like I'll have to use it yearly, which isn't a big deal, but I was hoping I could find a solution that doesn't require maintenance, or maintenance that doesn't deplete the card.