Dollars thrown away? You might have $175 in gift cards lying around

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Buying someone a gift can be a tough business. Sometimes you don’t know the person well, or maybe you just forgot and need something last minute. Enter the almighty gift card! Very often, people collect gift cards and leave the burden of choosing a gift, meal or service to the recipient. But are these cards used?

According to a new study per CreditCards.com, 47% of American adults have at least one unused gift card, voucher or store credit. The average value of these averages $175 per person. That would make an approximate total of $21 billion in unspent cash for the American adult population.

The study shows that millennials have the most funds on gift cards. Next come Gen Xers, GenZers, and finally Baby Boomers.

Income also appears to be a factor as 41% of Americans with an annual household income of less than $50,000 have gift cards available to them. The probability increases as household income increases. In other words, if you are in the lower income bracket, you are less likely to have unclaimed funds.

Of those surveyed, 45% said they would redeem their unused gift cards within 12 months. But the study showed that 71% of them would still have a gift card that hadn’t been used for more than a year and 23% of them would have at least three.

Gift cards can be easy to forget or misplace. Hopefully, this can serve as a friendly reminder to check your drawers, wallets, purses, and other junk drawers for those little nuggets that may mean a lot more than you think. If by any chance you don’t use them, you can always save on gifts for other people by giving them back.

Michael N. Clark