There’s About $1 Billion Worth of Unredeemed Gift Cards in America

I never liked getting store gift cards as a present. The intent is certainly nice. The person giving it to you usually has no idea what you actually want and they’re giving you some money towards something you can get for yourself. This is what annoys me though. Many gift cards have expiration dates and restrict you to buying from a certain store. If that store has what you really want then that’s fine but what if it doesn’t? What do you do then? Gift cards are incredibly easy to re-gift and you could always sell it off on a site like Cardpool for some actual cash.

There are some people who absolutely love gift cards and those are the stores that sell them. Why is that? There is a good chance that a customer with a gift card will either spend more than the entire value of the gift card on their trip or they’ll spend less than the card’s value. Either way the store makes more money than if the customer was paying the total sticker price of their purchases. Also every year about one percent of the total balances on gift cards go unredeemed. Considering that about over $100 billion worth of gift cards are sold each year, that comes out to about $1 billion in pure profit retailers get every year. I’m not against businesses making money but I hate seeing stories of consumers wasting money. If you’re considering buying someone a gift card for Christmas this year, just give them some cold hard cash instead. It may seem a bit more impersonal but the recipient has way more options on what they can do with it and it will be more appreciated.

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