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Unused gift-card money piles up as state unclaimed property

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Nicole Anderson
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Unused gift-card money piles up as state unclaimed property

Unused gift-card money reserve is growing at a rapid pace and it is estimated that around $8 billion of this amount is waiting to be reclaimed. In 2008, almost $80 billion was spent on gift-card and gift certificates during the Christmas holiday season. These unclaimed gift card funds are now included under the state unclaimed property, which makes it easier for the US residents to reclaim their unredeemed cards even after the gift card has expired.

As of now, Unused gift cards are legally considered an unclaimed property in at least 24 states and more states are working towards changing the jurisdiction of their state unclaimed properties law. The businesses are required to track the owners of the gift-cards, but it is difficult to locate the real owner because of the absence of any registration process in gift-cards during the purchase.
When a gift-card holder fails to redeem their card, Companies are required to turn over the remaining value of the card, excluding the maintenance amount, to the state treasury after five years. Once the money is with the state, the only way to claim it, is to know the card number. This law applies only to cards where the remaining balance is more than $25.
On a national level, there has been no tracking of the unclaimed gift-card amount as The National Association of Unclaimed Property Fund Administrators does not have the mechanism to track it. The unredeemed gift-cards were treated as a short term, interest-free loans by businesses and many states took notice of this and amended their unclaimed property laws.
As a pro-consumer move, many companies are removing the expiration date and the non-use fees from their gift-cards. Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target will honor the card even after years of being purchased. “One of the benefits of offering gift cards which never expire is that it affords the guest the opportunity to use them at any time,” said Target Corp. spokesman Eric Hausman. “The proposals under consideration would essentially impose an expiration date on our gift cards.”
So, if you remember an unredeemed gift-card even after five years, you can expect to find your name in the unclaimed property holder list of states (assuming your state has enacted the unredeemed gift-card law). You can also utilize the vast database of www.cashunclaimed.com covering almost all the states. CashUnclaimed also has a patent pending Name Match technology which makes the search for unclaimed cash much easier for majority of the states.

Cashunclaimed.com offers a free search for unclaimed money and is one of the largest databases for US unclaimed money in the world. Our current database lists billions of dollars in unclaimed money, property, accounts and assets from all 50 states that could belong to you. There are millions of people who are owed unclaimed money and they don’t even know it!

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When you perform a free trial search on CashUnclaimed.com we display the total dollar amount in unclaimed funds that we show reported by the appropriate government agencies. This does not guarantee that this money is 100% absolutely yours. What it means is that there is that total dollar amount shown by government agencies under your name and common variations of your name at the last time we had the information available to us was reported as unclaimed and is able to have a claim form submitted to be paid that amount. For more information please read our terms of use by clicking the link above.