State Treasurer of Iowa

Treasurer Fitzgerald’s Advice on Gift Cards: Don’t Save Them, Spend Them

August 12, 2020

DES MOINES, IA – Gift cards are easy to purchase and can be the perfect gift for the family and friends who are hard to buy for. It’s no wonder gift cards are the go-to gift for many, and it is the popularity of gift cards that prompted State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald to share his tips for Iowans who receive gift cards, including tips on how to protect its value. “Over the years, I’ve heard stories from many Iowans who saved a gift card for a rainy day only to find out it had expired,” Fitzgerald said. “I want Iowa consumers to make sure they take full advantage of their gift cards to ensure they get the full value.”

Here are tips to make using a gift card easy:

  • Check to see if the card has an expiration date.
  • Resist the urge to save the card for a later date. Some cards expire; whereas other companies may charge fees, which deplete the value of the card.
  • Keep the receipt if it was included with the gift card. Some retailers require proof of purchase before they will replace a gift card that has been lost or stolen.
  • Never throw away expired gift cards. Contact the issuer and ask for an expired card to be replaced or have the fees reversed.  


Gift cards are the second-most gifted item according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. “By using a gift card promptly, it reduces the likelihood it will be lost, stolen or reduced in value,” Fitzgerald added. “Holding gift cards too long increases the odds they will never be used.”  

Consumers with questions or concerns regarding an expired gift card that a retailer will not honor, are encouraged to contact the State Treasurer’s Office. Provide a copy of the gift card and a brief letter stating the circumstances. The information can be sent to the address below or emailed to

Michael L. Fitzgerald

Treasurer of the State of Iowa

Iowa State Capitol Building  

Unclaimed Property Reporting Desk

Des Moines, Iowa 50319



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