The Simple and Fool-Proof Guide to Dealing with Lost Gift Cards

We Luv Shopping

$41 billion in gift cards haven't been redeemed since 2005! That is crazy! What is unknown is how much of that 41 billion dollars can be attributed to lost or long-forgotten about gift cards.

What if You Receive a Gift Card But Don’t Shop at the Store?

There are plenty of sites where you can buy, sell, or trade gift cards.  A quick Google search turns up plenty of options. Some options include GiftCardRescue and Cardpool.

But let’s say you want it, but aren’t ready to use it quite yet. How do you protect your gift cards from theft or loss…or poor memory?

Three Steps to Gift Card Protection

Store gift cards together in a safe, convenient place

Store all your gift cards together in a location that makes sense to you. Recommended locations include your purse or inside your car. Keep it with your cash so that you’re never out shopping and ready to use your gift card but not having it with you.

If you have multiple gift cards, there are a lot of cool products to keep them organized:

  • Real Simple Card Wheel. There are so many uses for this product (organize business cards, photos, frequently accessed information, loyalty cards, etc.), why not add storing your unused gift cards to the list? Cards fits into a plastic sleeve for easy scanning.
  • The Container Store Key Card Holder. This product is actually for your store loyalty and gym membership cards, but it’s a cheap and nice option. I wouldn’t recommend attaching the gift cards to your key ring; however, you could easily stash this in your purse or car.

Record the gift card information

Write down all the information on your cards (vendor, gift card number, codes, vendor customer service number). Or even better: take a picture of the front and back of the gift card and store it someplace that you’ll remember (a special folder on your computer or phone).

Register the gift card with the merchant

If you store your unused gift cards in your car, understand the risk of losing them if your car is broken into or stolen. One gift card recipient had his car, with his beloved Starbucks gift card inside, stolen. Because he had registered the gift card, the cops were able to pull surveillance footage after the thief used it to buy a caramel Frappucino at Starbucks. #NoSmartALatte

I’ve Lost My Gift Card…Now What?

Unlike credit cards, you can’t be credited for any unauthorized gift card purchases. Quick response is key here: the sooner you report the gift card lost or stolen, the less likely you’ll lose money. If you have an image

That’s all the more reason to keep your gift cards organized and in one place.


Image: we luv shopping by Matej Toman