The Changing Landscape of Unused Gift Cards
Gift Cards: Use Them Before You Lose Them
Wrapping Holiday Gift Cards
While gift cards may be the perfect solution for that hard-to-please friend or relative on your list, they are a better deal for the retailers who issue them. For many consumers, receiving a gift card is like getting a discounted price on a preferred item. As a result, they do not pay too much attention to the sticker price and may even go on a mini shopping spree, spending more than the face value of the card.
More alarming is the amount of spillage on these cards. According to Brian Riley of the TowerGroup research firm, "U.S. consumers have left more than $41 billion on unused gift cards purchased since 2005." In Canada, the average household has over $300 in unused gift cards, according to www.cardswap.ca. Why are so many consumers not using their gift cards?
It is so easy to toss these cards into drawers, especially during busy holiday seasons, and forget about them. Some cards are lost. Other cards expire. Some retailers declare bankruptcy and the cards are no longer valid.
To get the most from your gift cards, consider the following suggestions:
For 31 years, Joanne Guidoccio taught mathematics, computer science, business and career education courses in secondary schools throughout Ontario. Her articles, book reviews, and short stories have been published in newspapers, magazines, and online. She has bachelor's degrees in mathematics and education and a Career Development Practitioner diploma. Visit her website at www.joanneguidoccio.com
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