Most people still have the gift cards they got during Christmas or on their birthdays dumped somewhere.

If you are one of those people, there are many others. CreditCards.com carried out a new survey where they discovered that 47% of Americans have one unused store or voucher credit, or unused gift card making $21 billion nationwide.

The survey findings were finalized after the commission of YouGov by CreditCards to do a survey about gift cards used in July with 2,372 people. Unused gift cards, coupons, and store credit amount to $175 on average per individual, a $61 jump from 2021.

According to Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, “they’re not going to get more valuable over time.” “In reality, the value is being eaten away by inflation, which is the exact opposite. Additionally, the longer you keep these unused gift cards, the more likely it is that you will misplace them, forget about them, or the store will close its doors.”

Younger people are not using gift cards

It was discovered from the survey that younger people are not making use of their gift cards. 51% of Gen Z and 52% of millennials own at least one unused gift card at home. On average, Gen Zers have $149 in credit, compared to $226 for millennials.

The results suggest that only 43% of Gen Xers and 42% of baby boomers had one. Boomers had $133 in leftover gift cards, while Gen Xers have around $180.

Income factors

According to CreditCards.com, people tend to have more gift cards that are still unredeemed the more money they make.

The findings show that 41% of Americans with annual family earnings of less than $50,000 own gift cards with an average value of $128.

Averaging $227, 57% of people with earnings between $80,000 and $99,999 have unused cards. 56% of those who make at least six figures had unused cards with an average value of $265.

How to make sure those gift cards are being used

Even if you are aware that you recently received a gift card, one issue people have is keeping them for too long (29%) or not knowing where they are (25%). Having a gift card for so long that the store closed before you could use it was another issue. 47% of gift card owners ultimately forfeit the money received as a gift.

People should empty their wallets, junk drawers, glove boxes, and any other possible locations where gift cards could be, according to Rossman.

Experts revealed that gift cards can be regifted or sold for cash on a variety of websites if you don’t want to use them yourself or are unable to do so. This will ensure that no money is lost.

Rossman mentioned that everyone is finding different methods to save money with inflation at a 40-year high. He noted further that a simple method to uncover hidden value is to put your unused gift cards to use.