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Gift Cards, the New Currency?

How many gift cards do you have hanging around? Canada passed laws a while ago to stop the practice of “expiring” gift cards, but evidently Canadians on average have 7 gift cards with a value of about $475.00 sitting around not being used. Gift cards in my house get used up very quickly. If they are laying around the house it is most likely because it has $1 left on it.

Gift cards are an easy way for Grandparents and such to give my kids gifts without having to shop. It used to be there was a stigma about giving cash for Christmas . I never had a problem with it myself because you didn’t take the time to buy a gift. With gift cards, that stigma seems to have disappeared.

Gift Cards, Cash
So Many Cards

Ebay evidently has a raging business on selling gift cards, which is interesting. I guess the model is, people who have gift cards at stores they don’t shop at are trying to get cash, while folks that are looking for “cheaper” gift cards buy them (let’s not talk about shipping costs and such, maybe they don’t ship them, maybe they just give the code from the card?). There are actually sites that specialize in gift card trading, so yet another interesting side industry appears on the Internet. Why don’t I ever think of these ideas first, I wonder?

Gift Cards What To Do?

Go find those cards, and spend that money! Put it back in the economy!

Also watch out for gift card fraud as well. The perpetrators go into a store, write down the “codes” from cards on display and then check on-line to see if the cards have been “activated” and will then buy with the codes. Some stores have scratch off codes, others give PIN numbers with the cards for on-line shopping, but be aware!

Feel Free to Comment

  1. When I only have a few dollars left on a gift card, I donate it to charity. They then put all those donations together and shop for what they need. Beats hangin’ around in my purse for years!

  2. 3 points:

    1) Heard on podcast that drug dealers started to use gift card as payment method;

    2) On some other podcast they were talking about getting fresh mind cash (called Christmas Money in banks) and give it instead of gift card;

    3) Too many gift cards never be cashed (same as with mail-in rebates) – good profit for those who sell them.

  3. Also be aware that gift cards being sold at a discount could be someone laundering money. Especially if an online seller (or even not online) seems to sell an awful lot of cards.

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