What Happens To A Gift Card If You Don’t Spend It?

Despite the popularity and uses of gift cards, many still go unused annually? Now, what happens to these gift cards? This article aims to address what happens to unspent gift cards.

There was a report by CNBC that gift cards worth $3 billion go unused every year. There are various reasons why gift cards may go unused. Gift card owners may forget they have one; it may be misplaced, expiration date, or be inaccessible to the retailer’s store due to location.

When you are being gifted a gift card, it’s advisable to redeem them immediately so it won’t be among the number of unused gift cards. Keep reading to find out what happens to gift cards not being used.

Reasons Why People Do Not Spend or Redeem Their Gift Cards

  1. Gifting options: this is one of the major reasons why people buy gift cards. It’s a win-win situation for both the giver and the recipient. The convenience of purchase and the ability to buy whatever you want, respectively. Unfortunately, many still end up not using their gift cards. Now, let’s find out why people do not redeem their gift cards.

  2. Misplaced/Stolen: it’s normal human behaviour to misplace items, including gift cards. When your gift card is misplaced, well, it’s obvious there is no way to redeem it.

  3. Location: there are certain gift cards that can’t be redeemed outside the country it was issued. So, if you got an Amazon UK gift card and are currently not in the country, it can’t be redeemed until you go back.

  4. Expiration dates: some gift cards are attached with an expiry date. Always read the terms and conditions on gift card packaging. If such gift cards are not used before the expiry date, they will be invalid.
    Unwanted gift card brand: this can happen if you are being gifted a gift card. Imagine getting a Steam gift card and you aren’t a fan of games. It’s likely to go unspent.

So What Happens To Unspent Gift Cards? 

The simple answer is that the issuing company or retailer gets to benefit from that. Once a gift card reaches its validity period and it’s still unused or there is a leftover balance, the issuing company gets a certain amount back. Let me give an example. Let’s say you have a $500 Apple gift card and you only redeem $125, once it expires, Apple makes a total of $875 from the gift card purchase. It’s a term known as gift card breakage. It’s a total of the current gift card balance plus the original price. Now, think about it, why make the gift card make twice their money instead of spending it.

What You Can Do With Unspent Gift Cards

  1. Swap them: this is recommended especially when you don’t like the gift card’s brand. Just find a friend, family or colleague that deals with gift cards and mostly wants to swap with you. Confirm they have the one you like and go ahead with it.

  2. Gift them out: it’s understandable you don’t like the gift cards given to you. Instead of making it go to waste, why not gift it out? To avoid the mistake your giver did, ensure the person you want to give actually likes the gift card and there is a chance they will redeem it.

  3. Donate to charity: donating your gift cards to people who may need them is a better thing to do than waste them.

  4. Exchange for cash: this is mostly recommended if you still need to enjoy the value of your gift card. Whether you bought it yourself in the past or got it as a gift, it’s easy to exchange them for cash. To know the equivalent in your currency like Naira, leverage the rate calculator feature on Nosh.

Best Place To Sell Unused Gift Cards For Cash

The best place to sell gift cards for cash is Nosh. This is a great gift card exchange platform that will provide the best trading experience. Nosh offers the best rates for all gift cards and you can exchange them anytime any day. The platform is easy and convenient to use even for a new user. In case of questions or queries, you can easily contact customer support via live chat, email, or contact number.

two gift cards

How To Sell Gift Cards In Nigeria

Here is a step-by-step guide to selling gift cards on Nosh

  1. The first step to creating an account. You can do this on the Nosh website or download the mobile app.

  2. Enter the correct details to sign up.

  3. Login to your account to access a personal dashboard.

  4. Click on “Sell Gift Cards.”

  5. Input your gift cards details like name, sub-category, and the amount.

  6. Click on “Begin Trade”


Many gift cards go unspent annually due to various reasons. This only means a benefit to the issuing brand and a loss to the gift card owner. Instead of losing the gift card, you could gift it out, swap it with friends, or exchange it for cash. You can sell gift cards to naira seamlessly on the Nosh platform.



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