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Unused Gift Cards Become Unclaimed Property

State

Young woman holding a credit card and a gift box against the background of Christmas decor and gifts, close-up. | Image by Lipa23, Shutterstock

If you were gifted a gift card this Christmas, make sure you use it before it gets turned over to the state as unclaimed property.

In Texas, unredeemed gift card balances may be considered abandoned and can become “unclaimed property” sent to the Texas Comptroller’s Office.

If you call the office, you can claim the card balance and get your money back, but most people have not. In 2021, Texas had $27 million in unused gift card balances.

 
In 2023, that number has reached over $28.5 million.

 
Gift cards become unclaimed property either three years after the card was issued or by the expiration date on the card, whichever comes first.

 
The section of Texas law regarding stored value cards is Sec. 72.1016. It explains that “if the existence and location of the owner of a stored value card are unknown to the holder of the property, the stored value card is presumed abandoned to the extent of its unredeemed and uncharged value.”

Such cards are considered abandoned “on the earlier of:

  1. the card’s expiration date;

2. the third anniversary of the date the card was issued, if the card is not used after it is issued, or the date the card was last used or value was last added to the card; or

3. the first anniversary of the date the card was issued, if the card is not used after it was issued, or the date the card was last used or value was last added to the card, if the card’s value represents wages, as defined by Section 61.001, Labor Code.”

 
So, use your card in a timely manner, and if you think you may have any unclaimed property, check on this website or submit a search request.

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