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Forgotten money: Survey finds 47% of Americans have $21B in unused gift cards, store credit

You could liken it to finding change in the couch cushions, but on a much larger scale.

A new survey conducted by YouGov.com for CreditCards.com has found that Americans have $21 billion in unused gift cards, vouchers or store credit lying around.

The study surveyed 2,372 adults between July 27 and 29, 2022.

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The survey found that the average amount of unused money is $175 per person in the U.S. in 2022. That’s up from $116 in 2021.

Who has the most money waiting to be spent?

That’s the millennials and GenZ demographics.

Millennials have the most unspent gift cards, with about 52% of people born between 1981 and 1996 not using their gifts and vouchers. They have about $226 waiting to be spent.

About 51% of Gen Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, haven’t spent their cards, vouchers or store credit, amounting on average to $149.

The study found that 43% of Gen X, born between 1965 and 1980, and 42% of “boomers,” born between 1946 and 1964, have still not used their “free money,” amounting to $180 and $133 respectively.

While that money is just sitting there for now, most of it will probably be spent within the next 12 months. The survey found that 45% of all those asked would be spending the money soon, with the following demographic breakdown:


If you find yourself in a position where a gift card won’t be used at all there are ways to make sure that the money doesn’t go to waste.

You can, of course, regift it, making sure that it is still valid. It’s also better to ensure the entire balance is there, not just a partial amount. You can check the value on sites such as giftcardgranny.com and Gift Card Mall.

Bankrate suggests that if you plan on regifting a gift card with only a partial value, reload it to round it up to a more common amount.

Instead of regifting the card itself, use it to buy a gift for an upcoming holiday or birthday, CNBC suggests.

You can also sell the cards or turn them into merchant credit on sites like Raise.com or even eBay, according to CreditCards.com. You won’t get the full amount that is on the card, but you may get up to 92% of its value.

Bankrate.com, which conducted its own survey and found there is more than $15 billion in gift cards waiting to be spent, reminds those who may have them that while gift cards don’t expire, they may have an inactivity fee that kicks in after 12 consecutive months of nonuse.

CNBC also reported that a store could go out of business before you use the card or store credit if you wait too long to use it.