You are here: Home - Money Tips -

When does your gift card expire? Six million Brits leave it too late

Written by:
If you’ve got a gift card lying around at home, check its expiry date as soon as possible to avoid losing out.

More than six million Brits have lost money on gift cards due to short expiry dates or companies going bust, according to research.

The survey from GoCompare Money found 62% of UK adults have received a gift card as a present, while 49% have gifted one in the past.

But one in 10 people have lost the value of their present because they forgot to use it, while 3% didn’t know their gift cards had a use-by date.

Following the recent succession of high-street retailers going bust, including Toys R Us and Maplin, 7% of those surveyed said they will not be buying any gift cards this Christmas. Some 4% said they’d been left with worthless gift cards after a retailer went out of business.

Can I use a gift card if a company goes into administration?

Gift cards are not protected when a company goes bust and it’s up to the administrator whether they continue to accept them.

Gift cards are categorised as debt owed by the company, so holders are treated as creditors. However, business creditors, such as banks, take priority over individual creditors, so there’s no guarantee gift card holders will receive anything.

Should I give gift cards this Christmas?

There is now a huge range of online high street retailers and restaurant chains offering gift cards. But giving money may be just as good.

“While it does mean you can tailor the gift card to the individual, while looking like you’ve still given it a bit of thought, cash in an envelope might well end up being the better present,” said Matt Sanders, spokesperson for GoCompare.

“There are no restrictions on where it can be spent, it doesn’t lose its value if a company goes out of business and it can always be saved for a rainy day.”

If you still want to give gift cards…

One option is to buy a gift card accepted by a range of retailers, such as a National Book Token or a National Garden Gift Voucher. Or you could buy a shopping centre gift card which can be used in all of the centre’s shops and restaurants.

Sanders’ advice is to make sure the recipient knows the value and use-by date of the card.

“The simplest way to do this is to enclose the receipt along with the gift card. This will show how much is on the card and when it was bought.”

How long do I have to use my gift card?

Here’s a list of expiry dates for some of the most popular gift cards:

John Lewis: 24 months (but paper vouchers issued through its Gift List service have no expiry date)

Amazon: 10 years

M&S: 24 months

ASOS: 24 months

Selfridges: No expiry date

Apple: No expiry date

Argos/Sainsbury’s/Habitat: 24 months

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Everything you wanted to know about ISAs…but were afraid to ask

The new tax year is less than a fortnight away and for ISA savers or investors, it’s hugely important. If yo...

Your right to a refund if travel is affected by train strikes

There have been a wave of train strikes in the past six months, and for anyone travelling today Friday 3 Febru...

Could you save money with a social broadband tariff?

Two-thirds of low-income households are unaware they could be saving on broadband, according to Uswitch.

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week