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Gift cards a risky present amid COVID-19 store closures | Don't Waste Your Money

If you're holding on to gift cards from the holidays, you may want to use them before you lose them!

Did you get any gift cards during the holidays? If so, it's more important than ever during this pandemic that you use them as soon as possible.

Eileen Pike loves to support local shops and small businesses. Last Christmas, she bought her aunt $75 in gift cards to a movie theater that shut down for good during the pandemic.

"So there was no way to get my money back for my aunt to get the gift we had bought her last Christmas," Pike said.

That's a concern with more and more stores and restaurants on the verge of shut down this pandemic winter. The savings site RetailMeNot.com is warning shoppers this year to be careful buying gift cards to struggling retailers.

Just look around you: Stein Mart is now closing almost all of its stores. New York and Company is running its final closing sale, and Pier One is now gone for good.

From the Doesn't That Stink File, the main reasons almost one third of holiday gift cards are never redeemed.

Yahoo finance says reasons include:

  • the store is too far away
  • inactivity fees have ruined their value
  • the recipient loses the card
  • or forgets they even have the card.

So with many shops and restaurants on the bubble this winter. Use them or lose them is more important now than ever with those holiday gift cards.

If a business you have a gift card to goes under, try calling similar businesses nearby. They may honor them to get you as a customer.

As always don't waste your money.