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December 26, 2013

Some very interesting $tati$tic$ about gift cards . . . . . . .

Giving a gift card is an easy solution to a gift-giving conundrum - the recipient can use the card to buy what they want, one size fits all, and, let's face it, they're just so doggone cute in their tiny little envelopes.

But here are some startling facts about gift cards that you might not know:

♥  Purchases made with a gift card are between 20% and 50% higher than the average cash purchase price!  (This really irks me!)

♥  American households have an average of $300 in unredeemed gift cards.

♥  Small, 'mom and pop' stores still issue gift certificates which are even less often used than plastic gift cards.  They're more easily destroyed or lost because they don't fit in your wallet.

♥  40% of all gift cards are discarded with an average balance of $2.30 still left on the card

♥  Between 2005 and 2011 over $41 Billion in gift cards went unused!  Yikes.

More and more companies are finding it harder to stay afloat during this difficult economic time.  Once a store closes or declares bankruptcy, the gift cards they sold become null and void.  Even if the company reorganizes and reopens their stores the cards are still useless.

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve allows stores to tack on a monthly 'tracking fee' for gift cards that remain dormant for 6 months.  The fee averages $3 per month which often uses up the balance of the card in less than a year.  Although this option is rarely used by the bigger chains, stores that find themselves in financial straits can turn to this option to held ease their situation.

So, what advice do financial experts give in regard to gift cards?  They all agree - encourage the recipient to use the card within 30 days.

And, my advice - shop the sales for heaven's sake!  

Sources: National Retail Federation,, GRI Financial Services, Inc., Wall Street Journal


  1. Great advice - thanks. I don't usually give gift cards, but did get some for Christmas this year, so will use them up quickly! I am a new your blog!

  2. I find gift cards to be excellent gifts for hard-to-shop-for teenagers! I'm sure they are used ASAP!:-)

  3. I like giving and receiving gift cards. It is hard to believe there are 41 billion dollars in unused cards floating around! I could have a good old time with those!

  4. I agree shop the sales, I really dislike giving or getting gift cards,

  5. I usually lose the gift cards. I'm one of those who have $300 in unused gift cards somewhere in my house. I like to give them, but please don't give them to me.

  6. Ah - good to know! I did get some gift cards and I will be sure to use them right away! Actually, they are burning a hole in my pocket (or rather, my wallet). Thanks for the info and hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. xo Karen

  7. Staggering statistics Jan. Thanks for the eye opener!!