Shouldn't EVERY GIFT CARD be Easy to Use, Fraud-Free, and Guaranteed?

Put your gift card program to the test.

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Curious how your gift card works for the average consumer? Now's your chance.

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Consumers are increasingly cautious about where they buy their gift cards due to concerns about security and usability. But where can they turn for accurate and unbiased gift card recommendations? 

Shelley Hunter (formerly "Gift Card Girlfriend") has been using and testing gift cards from the consumer viewpoint for well over a decade. When you sign up for this assessment, Shelley and her consumer team will perform an end-to-end review of the average customer's experience buying and redeeming your gift card. Then, she will post an honest review (plus benefits, tips, and a link to your gift card landing page) on


Customers served! $ 0 m  Americans reported more than $233m in losses related to GIFT CARD FRAUD
Customers served! 0 k  nearly 40,000 people reported $148 million stolen using gift cards
Customers served! 0 %  Nearly nine in ten consumers think lawmakers MUST PROTECT CONSUMERS from fraud and scams

A. When consumers got stuck with the following problems:


From unclear instructions to complicated redemption processes, consumers can no longer take just any gift card to the checkout stand (or online checkout) for a predictable payment experience. Instead, they must know the balance of their cards, read instructions on how to use their gift cards, and sometimes even train cashiers on how to process their gift cards. Gift card policies and laws that vary by state and type make gift cards even more confusing.


Scammers tamper with physical gift cards in stores and steal funds that get loaded onto the cards. They also engage in online schemes by tricking people into buying gift cards so they can drain their balances. In both cases, consumers are forced to detect gift card fraud on their own and prove money got stolen if the card doesn't work.


Consumers often have difficulty getting assistance when a gift card is compromised or doesn't work. They are instructed to talk to a store manager, call law enforcement, come back with proof of purchase, or contact another company--none of which helps when the gift card holder didn't buy the gift card (it is a gift, after all) or they are stressed that the money spent on the gift card is gone forever.


As part of the certification process, you will be coached on how to meet basic requirements and make the following improvements that will have a ripple effect across the entire gift card industry:

online shopping with a card
1. Easy to Use

Create consumer-first gift card policies that are BETTER than what is currently required by law.

gift card with cash
2. Fraud-Free

Implement fraud-fighting technology and practices that place HUMAN SAFETY above profit.

customer service agent on the phone
3. Guaranteed

Work with customers to investigate and RESTORE FUNDS when gift cards are compromised.


Shelley Hunter

In 2009, Shelley Hunter launched to show consumers how to turn gift cards into thoughtful gifts. However, she quickly discovered that consumers had more significant concerns, like what to do when a gift card doesn't work or when you receive a gift card you don't want. So, on her blog, later acquired by and then by Blackhawk Network (BHN), Hunter spent 14 years answering those questions (and thousands more) as the one-and-only consumer advocate in the gift card industry.

But it wasn't enough.

Hunter believes consumers are more confused than ever, thanks to increased gift card scams, fraud, store closings, varying state gift card laws, financial practices, and inconsistent products.

Back as an independent consumer guide to gift cards, Hunter is enlisting the help of retailers, gift card issuers, and lawmakers to return gift cards to their original function as easy-to-use, fraud-free, and guaranteed GIFTS.

Learn More

Recent Media Coverage

Widely recognized as the go-to expert on gift cards, Shelley Hunter has been quoted and featured in countless interviews on TV, radio, live stream, podcast, and various other platforms—from local to national.

Don't Wait 'til the Holidays to Get Started.

Yearly membership secures your spot on our Trusted Gift Card List. Spots are limited, so early sign-ups will get the most cost-effective rates and most media coverage. Enroll early to lock in your 2024 rate for one year from the date of purchase. (Cancel anytime.)

Certification Includes:

  • End-to-End Review of Your Gift Card Experience
  • Results You Can Use to Improve
  • Featured in Media Interviews
  • Listed on for 1 Year
  • And MORE!

Let's Talk

 3 Easy Steps 



SIGN UP FOR A REVIEW. When you sign up for certification, you'll fill out this questionnaire. Then our consumer team will "mystery shop" your gift card and rate the experience based on consumer-facing criteria.


GET HONEST FEEDBACK. Per FTC ACT and 2023 Endorsement Guidelines, we will post an honest and unbiased assessment on with a link to your gift card landing page.


GAIN VISIBILITY AND RECOGNITION. Through traditional media, social media, and other PR initiatives, we educate consumers and help them find the gift cards they can trust on


Did we miss a detail? Here are some answers to help.

Why should we get our gift card reviewed?

Brands that choose to get certified will enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Independent Evaluation: You'll get an impartial and objective assessment of your brand's gift card. The honest review can enhance credibility, as consumers often trust unbiased evaluations. Plus, information allows you to make changes that will give your loyal customers a more enjoyable gifting experience.
  2. Transparency and Trust: Paying for certification underscores your brand's commitment to improving your gift card program and a willingness to be transparent.
  3. Marketing and Promotion: Not only will your company be listed on our website as a brand striving to create a positive gifting experience, but you can also leverage certification in your marketing efforts to enhance your brand's reputation, attract new customers, and drive sales.
  4. Targeted Improvements: Our reviews help your team pinpoint areas where your gift card experience could improve to create a more positive gifting experience for your customers. The cost of this investment is minimal compared to the potential reward.

As this service grows, certified brands will also be the first to have access to reports, PR opportunities, webinars, and other opportunities.

What is the Rating Criteria?

Our consumer team will review and rate the gift card experience based on the following criteria:

Is the gift card easy to use? 

  • Are your gift card policies consistent across all locations nationwide?
  • Do you charge fees?
  • Expiration dates?
  • Can you cash out a small remaining balance nationwide?
  • Can the gift card be used online and in stores? Are there any exceptions?

Does the gift card appear to be fraud-free?

  • Did the cashier confirm that the card, screen, and receipt numbers match?
  • Is the gift card packaging secure with a CVV, PIN or other security device?
  • Are there limits on large or repeated gift card purchases?
  • Are gift card purchases anonymous?
  • Is redemption anonymous?

Is the gift card guaranteed?

  • Is there a clear place to call or email for customer support? 
  • Will customer service respond and help resolve issues?

Did you have a positive gift card experience overall?

Can we review or approve the results?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States has guidelines and regulations regarding sharing honest reviews online, particularly when there is a relationship between the reviewer and the product or service being reviewed. As such, our consumer team will post honest feedback about the gift card experience. There is also a disclosure statement about our relationships with brands on the list of certified gift cards.

Brands are not permitted to review or approve the results. However, they can submit requests for corrections in cases of inaccurate information (e.g. misspelled brand name, number of locations, etc.) to ensure data accuracy and fairness in the evaluation process.

what if our gift card doesn't meet all of the requirements?

Gift cards are reviewed objectively, ensuring that the results accurately reflect the real experiences of your potential customers. Since this is a new program, few (if any) gift cards will check every box. What we're asking is new and will require change. But when you sign up to get certified and listed here on (and, it’s a show of goodwill and your commitment to improving the gift card experience for your customers. And in return, we will provide constructive feedback and suggestions for ways you can improve the gift card experience for your customers.

Where will my gift card review be listed?

Visit our list of to see what brands are striving to restore the intended function of gift cards and create a more positive gifting experience for their customers.

Get Certified TODAY and give your customers the BEST POSSIBLE GIFT CARD EXPERIENCE.