Get that expired gift card from the bottom of your sock drawer because you may be able to turn it into cash.
The Texas Comptroller’s office is holding nearly $12 million in expired, or in some cases unused, gift cards or store credits. If you are the rightful owner you could be able to claim the cash from the comptroller’s office.
Texas mandates retailers and banks send money from expired gift cards and store credits to the state. So NBC 5’s Consumer Team asked the comptroller’s office for a list of companies that reported gift cards and store credits as unclaimed property. The list tracks companies since September 2005.
The latest news from around North Texas.
Topping the list is Men’s Warehouse with $1,367,841.17 remaining unclaimed. Second is Walmart with $1,276,107.21 unclaimed. U.S. Bank ranked third with $750,637.84 unclaimed. Luxury jeweler, Tiffany, even made the list with $153,578.93 unclaimed.
According to the state more than 350 companies were on the list. Others included Land’s End, Hobby Lobby, Hilton, Foot Locker, Southwest, Ann Taylor, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Calloway’s Nursery.
If you have an old gift card and you want to see if the state is holding money from it. Here’s what you can do:
- Check with the store to see if it’s still good.
- If it’s not, and there’s still money on it, go www.claimittexas.org.
- Search unclaimed property by you name.
- If it doesn’t pop up, call 1-800-654-FIND and give the representative the gift card number. That will start the claims process. The representative will walk you through the rest.
Gift card: Most requested gift
According to the National Retail Federation, gift cards remain the most requested gift of the holiday. Consumers will spend $31.74 billion on them as holiday presents.
“Most people appreciate getting gifts cards. I do. So that’s why I buy them, said North Texan Kathleen Lee.
But gift cards have their critics because some have purchase fees. Others have expiration dates or dormancy fees. And many are as good as gone if they’re lost or stolen.
“They’re really not a good choice. There are all kinds of problems with them,” said Tony Giorgianni, associate finance editor at Consumer Reports.
Giorgianni believes cash or a check is a better option.
“Why not just give a check or cash if you can’t think of a traditional gift,” he said.
Consumer Chace Twitty agrees. When asked whether he preferred cash or a gift card he said: “The money, plain and simple, the money.”
But for consumers who receive gift cards, using them quickly is a smart move.
CEB TowerGroup, a financial research company estimates consumers will spend $124 billion on gift cards in 2014. The company estimates $850 million will go unused.
“You’re going to get them so utilize them. That’s the point,” said Patrick Raines, who said he gives gift cards to his kids, but tells them to use them quickly.