$20 Billion In Unused Gift Cards

Posted on March 9th, 2020 · Deals Music/Events/Other

* 20 Billion In Unused Gift Cards.

As the late Arte Johnson use to say-”Very Interesting”…

$20B in unused cards a ‘gift’ to businesses
By Gregory Bresiger
March 7, 2020 | 10:53pm New York Post

Millions of Americans pay billions of dollars for nothing.

They subsidize some of the biggest companies in America by buying gift cards that are never cashed in, and getting store credits that go unused. Others wait so long that an inactivity charge reduces card value.

The outstanding collective gift card/store credit balance is $20 billion, according to a new survey by That’s about $167 for every adult American.

“I have to admit these amounts are amazing. People are just getting these cards and then forgetting about them,” said Bankrate card industry analyst Ted Rossman, adding that some corporations have “billions of dollars in unused value.”

The Bankrate study found that 22 percent of respondents say their unused credits range in value from $50 to $99; 21 percent between $100 and $199; 14 percent between $200 and $499; and 5 percent $500 or more.

Millennials tend to have the highest amount of unused credits — about $234 — compared with Baby Boomers ($151), Generation Xers ($128) and Generation Zers, ($103). And those with an annual income of $80,000 or more are the most likely to have unused value, the study said.

“According to the 2009 Card Act,” the study said, “an issuer can charge a monthly inactivity fee pulled from your card’s balance on gift cards that have gone unused for a year or more. You do, though, have five years from activation until your gift card can legally expire.”

There are ways to stop subsidizing big companies besides just using your credit. Rossman said sites such as will buy the unused value on cards for about 60 cents on the dollar.

Leave a Comment