Avoid Leaving Unspent Money on a Gift Card

Avoid Leaving Unspent Money on a Gift Card

Chances are, you are among the millions of Americans who received gift cards during the Christmas holiday season.

CEB TowerGroup, a research firm, estimates that gift card sales will top $100 billion in 2013 and will reach $130 billion by 2015. The firm also projects 75 percent of gift cardholders will spend the full amount of money on the card, while 30 percent will spend at least $25 more than the value of the card.

Despite those numbers, CEB TowerGroup estimates a whopping $1.7 billion in gift cards are expected to go unredeemed.

Don't be among those who leave unused money on gift cards. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your gift card:

  • Keep the gift card on you. Don't stash it in a drawer or in a desk where you will forget about it.
  • Know your card's balance so you won't leave any funds unused or accidentally throw it away.
  • Keep the card number and the four-digit card security code in a safe place. You will need these to check the balance or report it if it was lost or stolen.
  • If you will not use the card, or would prefer to have the cash, you can resell the card. There are several sites, such as PlasticJungle.com, CouponTrade.com, and GiftCardGranny.com, that serves as a marketplace to buy, sell, or exchange gift cards.

CEB TowerGroup research has tracked gift card sales and use since 2006. Brian Riley, CEB TowerGroup's senior research director, says consumers continue to flock to gift cards due to a rising variety of cards available.

"Consumers can now more easily use all the funds loaded on their gift card, thanks to safeguards put in place by Title IV of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure  (CARD) ACT of 2009, which severely restricts expiration dates and fees."

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