March 26, 2024
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More than half of U.S. adults have more than $15.3 billion in unused gift cards store credit and vouchers, according to a poll released earlier this year. That amounts to an average of $116 per person in gift cards.

Using gift cards sooner rather than later also is a good idea because of the risk of a retail shop or restaurant permanently shutting down with no reimbursement offered for unused gift card balances, North said.

Gift card funds also can be lost when shoppers inadvertently leave it out where others may be able to see it, forgetting it at a store or using only part of it and then forgetting about the remainder or throwing it away, he said.

BBB also recommends researching the terms and conditions of the gift card received, as not all retailers have the same policies. It warns of websites that offer to check a gift card balance when, in fact, some websites are draining the money off your card after obtaining your card’s ID number and PIN or security code

Another tip to avoiding such hassles is to register a gift card, if the retailer allows, according to the BBB. That way, any theft can be reported sooner and potentially save money stored on the card. The BBB also advises to change the PIN on the card.

If a card is lost or stolen, one should treat it as if cash has been stolen and report it to the issuing retailer or restaurant as soon as possible. Most issuers have toll-free…

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