The average Australian has $95 sitting on forgotten or unused gift cards, and every year millions of people forget to redeem the cash, new research has revealed.
According to the Finder research, Australians have around $1.8 billion sitting in unused gift cards, with 33 per cent having wasted money on gift cards they never used.
“Gift cards have a reputation of being a lazy present, but it’s more practical than forking out for a present you’re not sure someone will like or use,” Finder senior money editor Sarah Megginson said.
“However, letting gift cards go unspent is effectively donating millions of dollars back to retailers.”
Women (26 per cent) are more likely to let funds on gift cards expire than men (21 per cent), but across both genders, 7 per cent have let cards expire.
Shoppers now have more time to spend their gift cards, with all cards purchased after 1 November 2019 to come with a minimum three-year expiry period.
“Even though cut-off dates have been extended, cards can easily be forgotten if buried in the back of a drawer or wallet,” Megginson said.
Additionally, retailers may collapse or the cardholders may move to a location where it’s harder to spend the card.
She said people who think they won’t use their gift cards should consider selling it online, exchanging it with a friend for money or spending it on a gift for someone else.
“I actually have a folder on my desk where I store all my gift cards,” Megginson said.
“I also put print-outs of any travel credits with airlines, and even store credits on items I’ve returned in the past there too. Keeping them altogether in one place means I know where they are before I go shopping, so I always end up making use of them.”
It’s also worth setting a reminder for when the gift cards are due to expire, so shoppers can keep them handy for when and where they can be used.