Buying a gift card is simple, but not all cards are alike. Store-issued cards generally don't have any associated fees or expiration dates. But bank-issued cards, such as the Discover gift card or Visa gift card have fees and expiration dates that can turn a good gift sour.
Your best bets are flexible store cards that are good at several different retailers like the Gap GiftCard, which can be used to shop at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta and Piperlime.com. And among bank-issued cards, the American Express gift card is the best pick; the company recently dropped maintenance fees entirely. Our updated gift card report has the scoop on buying and using gift cards, plus best-bet picks.