Forgotten money: 51% of adults have one or more unused gift cards, new study finds

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – When we receive money as a gift, we put it in our wallet or bank account. But get the same amount of money via a gift card and there’s a good chance it’ll be thrown in a drawer and forgotten. And even if the cards are remembered, they may still not be used.

Melissa Gialdini showed 7 On Your Side her unused gift cards – it was very hot.

“I have 50 gift cards lying around,” she said. “I have a special pouch that they even go in that stays in my glove compartment, because like that, I always have it, and I always never take it out or use the gift cards.”

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Gialdini is not alone. New study shows how many of us receive gift cards, but don’t use them.

Ted Rossman, Senior Industry Analyst for, said: “We found in our survey that 51% of American adults have at least one unused gift card or credit or store voucher, and the amount average is $ 116 per person, so it’s real. money.”

Rossman says part of it is a perception issue: “If we find $ 20 in an old jacket pocket we’re happy with it and put it to good use, I don’t think we still have the money.” same feeling about the gift. cards and we probably should. “ gift card girlfriend Shelley Hunter says the problem sometimes starts with the gift card giver. “A gift card should be a gift, not a coupon. So if I give you a gift card at a really good restaurant, I have to make sure that there is enough money on that gift card for you to spend it at the restaurant, “she advises. .

Gialdini’s mother gave him a lot of these cards. She makes sure they even feel and look like a gift. So Michael Finney of 7 On Your Side asked him, “Maybe in the future you should buy him some physical gifts?”

“I thought it would be a better idea, but I think it’s not. I mean I even put the gift cards in a box that I wrapped them up,” says Pattie Bowling. “I mean, I go to great lengths to put presents under the tree, to make the gift cards look bigger. Yeah, I think – yeah, no, not anymore.”
One last thought. The stores get more money if you use the cards. Rossman of says complex accounting rules often don’t allow retailers to put money on the books until the card is used. And if not used, the government often takes a cut.

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Hunter and Rossman both say to keep the cards where they’re handy, next to your computer or in your wallet next to your credit cards, but maybe the glove compartment isn’t not a good choice.

Check out more stories and videos from Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE!
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