The Dallas Morning News and Consumer Affairs both say you should use those gift cards as soon as possible—otherwise you risk losing them, forgetting about them, or having them decline in value due to maintenance fees or expiration dates. We know this isn’t new news, but the idea that “$7.8 billion in gift card value will go unused this year” makes us cringe. If you really don’t want the card, consider selling it online, or giving it to a shelter or other charity that can make use of it.
A recent survey by Consumer Reports found that many gift cards go unredeemed. In fact, 27 percent of respondents had not yet used gift cards they received last year. Tower Group, a research and advisory firm in Needham, Mass., found that $7.8 billion in gift card value will go unused this year. Last year, the firm’s study showed that $8 billion had been left unspent.
Most survey respondents said they didn’t have time to use their cards. Others said they couldn’t find anything they liked or forgot they even had the cards.