I used to hate gift cards. There was a point in my life where I felt that getting and giving a gift card was one of the laziest and meanest things someone can do for the holidays. To me, a gift card said "hey, I don't know what you want, so you go deal with the public and traffic because I don't care about you enough to do it myself." Then, the world changed, and me right along with it.

They are so easy to get, to give, to wrap, to use, not to mention how people (me) have gotten so picky. Or the amount of choices in any category of gift is staggering, plus the worry they already have the item. In other words, I, and the world, appreciate them a lot more now days. Or Do We?


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According to APNews.com, many people forget they have them and forget to use them. Roughly $23 billion of gift cards go unused every year. The breakdown on average is $187 per person. So with all those cards sitting around going unused, how long do they last?

How Long Does It Take For Gift Cards To Expire.

In a nutshell, it varies state to state. In 2010, a federal law went into effect stating that a gift card can not expire for five years from the time it was purchased/or had money added to it. Some states have added a longer time frame to it, like New York, just last year passed a law that gift cards have to last 9 years.

Other states have removed any form of expiration on gift cards, unless it is for a service or specific sale.

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In Washington state, expiration dates and inactivity fees with gift certificates and gift cards resulting from a retail sale are prohibited, according to KMPG.

Find Your Unclaimed Cash in Oregon
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In Oregon, gift cards can not have an expiration date, UNLESS they were sold at a discount. If that is the case, the expiration needs to be clearly noted and can not be with-in 30 days of the discounted sale of the gift card. This information comes from Oregon's Department of Justice.

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For California, they also do not expire, but, according to L.A. County Consumer & Business Affairs, "the only exceptions are gift cards for a specific food product, or for a business or charity promotion. If a gift card or gift certificate has an expiration date, it must be printed on the front of the card or certificate."


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It is a good practice to use the gift cards and not just hold on to them for a rainy day, there are a few reasons why.

Generic cash cards (VISA/MasterCard) can start accruing fees for simply not being used (read the fine print).

Inflation is a good reason to use the card when you get it, instead of waiting a while. The thing you want now could cost a lot more in 6 months.

And how many businesses have gone bankrupt and forced to close? Good luck cashing in those gift cards.


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Forgetting you have a gift card is such a big deal, a "holiday" was created about 5 years ago called "National Use Your Gift Card Day". The next one will be on Saturday, January 20th, 2024. Will you be celebrating?

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Gifts For The Ones You Don't Love

There's no cap to the amount of thoughtfulness that will go into the presents you give your loved ones... but what about the people you don't like, but you're obligated to gift them something too? Here's a quick rundown of some truly awful presents.

Amazing Amazon Secret Santa Gifts

Amazing Amazon Secret Santa Gifts

 

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