State Treasurer of Iowa

Treasurer Fitzgerald’s Tips to Protect Your Gift Cards this Holiday Season

November 15, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa -- Gift cards top many holiday wish lists and State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald wants Iowa consumers to protect the value of those cards by following a few basic tips. “Each year, gift cards go unused because the cards are lost or forgotten,” Fitzgerald said. “Nobody can afford to let money go to waste. Too many times I have heard a story about a gift card that was saved for a rainy day only to find out there was no money on the card.” Whether you give or receive a gift card during the holiday season, these tips can help protect the value of the card throughout the year:

  • When purchasing a gift card, buy from a known and trusted source.
  • Ensure the card is valid. Make sure none of the protective stickers have been removed or codes on the back of the card have been scratched off.
  • Include the original receipt and disclosure information with the card when given to the recipient. This is helpful if the card is lost or stolen.
  • Verify if the card has an expiration date or fees that reduce the card’s value over time.
  • Use the card as soon as possible

Holding gift cards too long increases the odds they will never be used. By using a gift card promptly, it reduces the likelihood it will be lost, stolen or reduced in value. “Roughly ten percent of money spent nationally on gift cards will go unredeemed,” Fitzgerald added. “I want Iowa consumers to make sure they take full advantage of their gift cards.”

Consumers with questions or concerns regarding an expired gift card not being honored by a retailer are encouraged to contact the state treasurer’s office. Please 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

Unclaimed Property Reporting Desk

State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319



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