Nearly half of all Americans sit on unused gift cards

MIAMI – Billions of dollars are spent on gift cards every year.

For shoppers, like Mickey Freund, it’s an easy gift.

“I have teenage granddaughters and I don’t like to shop, so I use gift cards,” Freund said.

Even though people enjoy giving and receiving them, people often don’t use all the money. A Bankrate survey reveals that 47% of American adults have unused gift cards, vouchers or store credit. The average American is sitting on $175, down from $116 last year.

“About a third of people have either let a gift card expire or lost a gift card. Often people are just their own worst enemy, they hang on to these things too long, the store goes bankrupt,” said said Ted Rossman. , senior industry analyst at Bankrate.

There are websites like Raise, CardCash, and GiftCash that allow you to sell the card and receive between 70% and 90% of the cash value. Another possibility: give the card to someone else, even if there is a small amount left over.

“You can even top up a lot of these gift cards. So even if you have one of those weird leftovers like $6.23, you can actually top it up in many cases at a more socially acceptable amount, then give it as a gift,” Rossman says.

Experts say that if you receive a gift card, it’s important to plan to spend it, because cards only become a gift when you use them.

Michael N. Clark