Companies make millions while your gift card gets lonely or forgotten.

As much as we all enjoy receiving gift cards as presents, sometimes we don’t use them. Whether its because your mom gave you one to a store you never use or you lose the card itself, a lot of times the stores end up reaping the benefits of you never using the card. In yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, they had a breakdown of the amount of money that companies “gained” by people not using the cards given to them:

Home Depot – $43 million dollars
Best Buy – $43 million dollars
Limited Brands – $30 million dollars
Nordstrom – $8 million dollars

So, as you can see, selling giftcards can be downright profitable for companies, which is why we see kiosks full of them now at the grocery store, the mall, online catalogs, drug stores and the like. It’s like printing free money for these companies.

If for whatever reason you find yourself with a gift card you cannot use, you should try to either sell it on Ebay for a little less than face value, trade with a friend who could use it, re-gift it to someone else, or trade/sell it on a gift card trading site. Just make sure one way or the other that someone somewhere gets to use it. That way, the company that issued the card does not get to take in free money from the gift giver!

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