If you gave or got a gift card this year, you're not alone. Nine out of 10 Americans did the same for a total of about $26 billion.
But what if the card you received isn't exactly something you're likely to use?
Don't let it just end up in the drawer. There are ways to get value out of those plastic presents, and spend the money on something you really want or need.
According to the National Retail Federation, over the past eight years, Americans have thrown away or not used $21 billion worth of gift cards.
So if you got a gift card as a present this year, and thought ‘what am I gonna do with that?’ Here’s some advice that could save or even make you some money.
You know the scenario.
“Yeah, I've received a card, and thank you. Thank you so much. Don't really care about it,” said Alexis Lafauci, “Forgot about it. Stashed it to the side.”
According to the financial website WalletHub.com, you're in the driver’s seat if you got gift cards in high demand like Target, Netflix, Best Buy Walmart or Amazon. Those cards can fetch as much as 95% of their face value at online gift card exchanges.
The more obscure the retailer, or restaurant, the less you might expect to get.
But that’s better than nothing, say card recipients we spoke with.
“You're getting something out of it. So, versus sitting in a drawer, you know, expiring,” said Jasmin Guzman.
“I get it as a stocking stuffer,” said Ethan Wall, “I'm like - thanks grandma this is going to be awesome. But if I could make some cash on the side, that would be a great thing.”
“Yeah, I like that idea. Definitely. Definitely, I do like it,” said Guzman. “The gift card doesn't go to waste. You can actually get something you like.”
Also, act quickly, since some gift cards can eventually expire with time or lose value to so-called maintenance fees.
Use it or lose it, said card recipient Connie Mojallal.
“Right away. So you don't forget about it, and waste it.”
WalletHub says the websites in its study have a good reputation for reliability.