Half of Americans have $189 in unused gift cards, says Bankrate

SEATTLE — There’s a good chance you have money in your wallet, and you may not even know. According to Bankrate, nearly half the population has unused gift cards they could redeem right now.

Nationally, consumers have about $23 million in unused gift cards out there, just gathering dust.

The value of those cards is $189 per consumer in Western states.

“I think the real worry here is we forget and lose it and we never put it to work,” Senior Analyst for Bankrate, Ted Rossman, said.

He said forgetting is exactly what retailers hope you do, and not just with your gift cards.

”Travel credits are another big one because a lot of times when people have a trip that’s canceled, let’s say you get a voucher, you have to use it maybe within a year,” Rossman said.

And remember, when it comes to travel, the cost of inflation could diminish the value of your airline miles and credit vouchers - so don’t wait to use them.

We are lucky, In Washington state gift cards never expire. So, what to do with those unused gift cards? Bankrate said there are a few ways to redeem their value.

First, you can always regift. Most gift cards allow you to load more money on them, so if there are only a few dollars left on the card, you may be able to increase the amount for gifting

You can also exchange gift cards on sites like cardcash.com or Raise.com. On those same sites you can sell your unused gift cards, at a small loss.