Every year, $1 billion in gift cards go to waste


Buddy Desy, Staff Writer

  Every year, most people receive gift cards from their grandma or aunts and uncles. It’s the easiest thing to buy, therefore it is the most common birthday and Christmas gift. 130 billion dollars is spent every year on gift cards in America, a big chunk of which are never used.

  Many people forget they have a gift card in their wallet and when they find it, it is already expired. Other people use most of the gift card, then when there is only a couple dollars left on it, they just toss it right into the trash. Instead, when they have a little amount left on a gift card, they should wait until they go to the place again, and use the gift card as a little discount on their purchase. This way, no money goes to waste.

  Coach John Carr only uses all of the credit on his gift cards at certain places.

  “ If I had a card to McDonald’s or something like that, I would use all of the balance on the gift card. If I had a gift card to a store, like Dick’s Sporting Goods, I would use it to make my purchase and not use the remaining little amount on the card”

  To help solve the wasted gift card problem, apps have been created where people can buy and sell gift cards for under face value. Zeek, Raise, and Cardpool are all apps that can help save around $10 to $20. People can sell unwanted gift cards and have money deposited straight into their bank account. The apps do take seller fees out. 90% of the gift cards posted on these apps and websites sell in less than 24 hours.

  By not using gift cards, stores are making more money. Every dollar of a wasted gift card, is a dollar the store or restaurant earned for doing absolutely nothing. While it may not seem like it, stores benefit tremendously from gift cards. When they are sold at face value, the consumer doesn’t have to pay for the card getting made, but the store makes up for that in their profit margins, which can be hundreds of dollars per product. Take Nike for example; they sell some shoes for around $200, but they cost  $3 to make. In this case, Nike can afford to not charge for making the card, because they are profiting so much either way. Also, companies get more business with gift cards. If a gift card is given as a gift, you can not spend that gift card anywhere other than the business that offered the card. However, if you were given $25 cash, most people would not spend it the same as a $25 gift card.

  Brandon Clarke thinks that gift cards are a big ploy to just make more money for the business.

  “In reality, a lot of gift cards go to waste, and businesses know that, so they make them knowing that people are going to not use all of it. They just want money”

  Overall, gift cards are extremely important to businesses, as it not only draws business in, but also makes them more money. Gift cards are still a great gift, because not only can you spend a gift card at the certain business, you can also sell it for cash very easily and quickly.