Total holiday spending on gift cards last year totaled $27.8 billion. And if history is bound to repeat itself, 25% of that gift card money will remain unspent by the end of 2012. Gift cards are a very popular holiday gift. They are convenient for the giver and stress free for the receiver. However, gift cards tend to be forgotten as the holiday season winds down, and recipients are less likely to spend the balances as the year goes on.
So what happens to unused gift card balances? The Securities and Exchange Commission allows retailers to count unused gift-card balances as income once they can reasonably say the card won’t be redeemed. Some states require unused gift cards to go to an unclaimed-funds accounts, or put a time limit on the validity of gift cards. Beyond the reasonable timeframe to claim unused balances, retailers can use the balances for general purposes.
So, as we move further into 2012, consider this a friendly reminder to spend your holiday gift card balances sooner rather than later. For more information check out the TheStreet.com.