Media Release

$148 Million wasted in unused gift cards

  • One in seven gift cards (14%) expired with leftover funds in the last 12 months
  • Aussies left an average of $77 each on gift cards
  • How to make sure your gift cards don’t go to waste

27 August 2018, Sydney, Australia – Aussies are wasting millions of dollars in unredeemed gift cards revealed new research by finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything.

The survey of 2,011 respondents showed one in seven gift cards (14%) expired with remaining funds over the past 12 months. That represents 1.9 million Aussie adults letting gift cards fall through the cracks.

On average Aussies left $77.70 each unused, putting the cumulative total of wasted gift cards to $148 million across the nation.

Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at finder.com.au, says you’re better off spending gift cards in one go.

“The reality is we generally don’t remember to spend that last $10 or $15 on gift vouchers. Sometimes they don’t even make it into our wallets – staying at home in a drawer, edging closer to expiry.”

“If you can, try and spend the full amount in one purchase. Pick up some wrapping paper or think ahead and tick a Christmas gift off your list.”

Queenslanders let the most go to waste with $50.3 million left on gift cards, while New South Wales residents wasted $37.7 million.

Luckily for those in New South Wales, gift cards issued in the state must now have a minimum expiry period of three years and all post-purchase administration fees have been banned.

“This legislation came into effect on 31 March 2018, so if you were given a card last Christmas, chances are you’ll have one or two years to use it.”

“It’s encouraging to see that South Australia has followed suit and passed a Bill to move towards three-year expiry.”

“On top of these state-led changes, we’ve seen big retailers like Woolworths and JB Hi-Fi abolish expiry dates altogether.”

Which state is wasting the most?

StateNumber of people who have let unused funds expire in the last yearAverage wasted per personTotal wasted
QLD339,803 (9%)$148.20$50.3 Million
VIC593,055 (12%)$74.80$44.3 Million
NSW612,103 (10%)$61.70$37.7 Million
SA108,606 (8%)$58.10$6.3 Million
WA158,916 (8%)$27.80$4.4 Million

Who is wasting the most?

Average wasted per person
Men$58
Women$92
Average wasted per person
Gen Y$106
Gen X$73
Baby Boomers$32

How to avoid wasting gift cards

  • Put it in your wallet straight away

Don’t leave it at home or in the card for a couple months after your birthday. As soon as you receive it, put it in your wallet.

  • Spend it all at once

Let’s be honest, we either forget the balance or leave $20 on there. If you can, spend it all at once. Pick up something small at the counter or buy that early Christmas or birthday present.

  • Keep track of your remaining balance

Before you leave the store, make sure the balance is written down on the card. The retail assistant can easily jot it down in permanent marker.

  • Sell it or swap it

Did you receive a gift card from a store that doesn’t float your boat? Swap it for cash with someone at work or sell it on Gumtree. You could regift it, but keep in mind that the expiry date could give the game away.

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For further information

Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

More than 3 million Australians turn to finder.com.au every month to save money, time and make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, we’ve helped our users make more than 17 million decisions.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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