Millions of dollars on gift cards go unused each year

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. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s