BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — According to the National Retail Federation more than half of consumers gave gift card, but turns out millions of dollars on gift cards go unused each year.
Buffalo State Department of Economics Chair Fred Floss says sometimes it’s a matter of simply forgetting that you have the gift card, but after a year some expire and if you don’t use it it’s like throwing money away. Floss says after 5 years the state puts unused gift cards in unclaimed funds.
Now so your gift cards don’t go to waste, consider your options. You can re-gift them, sell them, or donate them to charity. Most charities accept gift cards, and because it’s considered a charitable gift you could get a tax break on your taxes.
Floss says even if you did forget about a gift card you received years ago, don’t throw it out.
“No matter what they say in the back of the card or in the small print, if all of a sudden after 3 or 4 years you found a gift card you didn’t use take it back to wherever it was that you were supposed to use it and see if they’ll accept it because in a lot of cases, particularly for example restaurants, they want you to come back,” said Fred Floss, Buffalo State Department of Economics Chair.
Research organization CEB Towergroup estimates that 1 billion of the 130 billion spent on gift cards last year went unused.