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Get the most out of unused gift cards
Published Tuesday, January 8, 2019 2:36PM CST
With the holiday season officially over, the season of gift card redemption has just begun.
Gift cards can be a convenient and easy gift solution, but some consumers have conflicting views on how they should be used.
“I get them from grandparents and parents and I really appreciate them,” said gift card consumer Dominic Orr. “It helps me save my own money and I always use them and never let them go unused.”
But there is a downside to gift cards. Sometimes people receive cards they just can’t use.
In 2018, over $1 billion worth of gift cards go unused in North America.
This number is mainly due to people buying gift cards for others without knowing if the person receiving the gift will actually like it.
“I still have probably three gift cards in my wallet that have been sitting there for four or five years and they just ride around in there until maybe one day the need will arise I guess,” said consumer Brittney Moore.
Many companies have set gift card standards to prevent returns.
“A gift card is not returnable and it’s not able to be used for cash back so it’s only good for purchase,” said Canadian Tire Yorkton owner David Dungey.
There are gift card exchange companies, however, offering consumers a solution.
Companies like CardCash and cardswap.ca are giving Canadians the option to sell, buy and donate their unwanted gift cards.
“CardSwap is similar to kijiji but we are very specific in that we only deal with gift cards,” said CardSwap CEO Frances Ho. “So you can swap your unwanted gift card and get cash for it.”
Regardless, consumer advisors say to always check the gift card for tampering and never use a card if the PIN is shown and be mindful of card trade-in fee.