Don’t Let Those Christmas Gift Cards Go to Waste


Recently, there have been reports that indicate 15% to 19% of gift cards purchased from retailers are never redeemed. Huh? Up to 1/5 of people don’t spend that gift cards they’re given??? What a travesty!

But there is hope. Websites like Cardavenue, Plastic Jungle, Gift Cards Again, Gift Card Buy Back, and help people trade gift cards or turn them into cash. Some sites generally have a small fee for selling a card, but it’s a small price to pay in order to swap a gift card for one you’ll really use. Other sites buy the cards directly from users, paying them 60% to 75% of the remaining value on the card. The sites then resell those cards for full value.

Another option to unload your gift card is eBay. Look for the “gift certificate” category. Often buyers can get deals on gift cards, so they’re actually receiving more value at the store that they’re paying for the card.

The market for gift cards is estimated to be about $60 billion. That’s a lot of money, and think about how much retailers are keeping from those who never redeem theirs.

16 thoughts on “Don’t Let Those Christmas Gift Cards Go to Waste

  1. And if you don’t spend them… and a certain state legislator from Milwaukee gets his way… that money will go directly to the state. Now that’s a travesty.

  2. Tracy

    I was trying to pretend we don’t live in such a tax hell, where every dime a business makes is being grabbed by our politicians…

    From yesterday’s Journal Sentinel:

    Madison – Rep. Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee) said Tuesday that the value of unused gift cards should go to the state treasury – not to the merchant – and that change will be part of a bill he’ll introduce in the legislative session starting in January.

    Kessler said millions of dollars a year go unused by gift card recipients, and retailers are allowed to book the unused values after the cards expire. He cited figures from Consumer Reports showing that 19% of all gift cards are not used because they are lost or expired.

    Kessler called that a “windfall,” which he said could be used to support schools, health care or roads. Under his bill, after a one-year expiration date on all cards, 80% of the value of unused cards would go to the state treasury. Merchants could keep 20% of the value of an unused card to pay for processing, Kessler said.

    “I’d rather have people spend the money and use the gift card, but if they aren’t, I’d rather the state get the money,” Kessler said.

  3. I can’t believe people don’t use them! That is like throwing away cash. Thanks for the sites that buy/sell didn’t know they were out there!

  4. Mr. Kessler is doing exactly what government-types always do. They believe they are better at spending our money, or businesses money, better than we can. Frustrating. If a person does not redeem it, it should go to the merchant. Period.

    By the way, great tips and ideas. Unfortunately no one gave me any gift cards this year.

    Here via Carnival of Family Life

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