State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is urging New York residents to use the holiday gift cards they received in a timely fashion.

DiNapoli says if not, the money could eventually get turned over to the New York State Office of Unclaimed Funds.

After five years of dormancy, money from unused gift cards issued by New York businesses is turned over to the Office of Unclaimed Funds as abandoned property.

He says in the last seven years, the amount of unused gift cards returned to the Comptroller’s office has risen sharply from $5.8 million in 2014 to $16 million in 2021.

“Misplacing your gift cards after the holiday season is easy to do,” DiNapoli said. “Don’t wait too long to spend your gift cards to avoid possible inactivity fees or having the money turned over to my office as lost funds.”

DiNapoli is urging gift card recipients to read the fine print on any gift cards they received for details about fees and expiration dates and to register the card with the retailer.

Holiday Gift Card Photo Credit: Rob Laughter (@roblaughter) on Unsplash
Holiday Gift Card Photo Credit: Rob Laughter (@roblaughter) on Unsplash

He says gift cards may have other terms and conditions that can decrease the value. These may include:

  • Service fees when the card is purchased;
  • Dormancy fees if the gift card is not used within a certain time period;
  • Fees to call and check the balance remaining on the card; and
  • Replacement fees for lost or stolen gift cards.

DiNapoli’s office is currently holding more than $17 billion in unclaimed funds. He urges New Yorkers to visit to see if they are owed money.

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