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, BusinessPundit.com, GRI Financial Services, Inc., Wall Street Journal