Gift cards are a popular item during the holiday season, but many end up as unclaimed property. Click to hear KMZU’s Kristie Cross talk to Missouri State Treasurer Clink Zweifel:
Zweifel says there are a few things Missourians should do with their gift cards this season. “Number one, try not to lose that card if at all possible,” said Zweifel,” Secondly, if you do find an old card that you haven’t used for a period of time and it appears to be expired, contact the issuer of that card and see if they will work with you. Finally, make a copy of your cards if you plan to hold onto them for awhile so that if you do lose them and they become part of my unclaimed property, there’s an account number that’s in place so that we are able to track it and get it back to you.”
Retailers are lining the aisles for holiday shopping and Black Friday shoppers are making their plans, meaning the holiday season is in full swing. As shoppers prepare, State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (ZWY-ful) is reminding Missourians to keep their expired gift cards and certificates because in Missouri they never really expire and they just might be Unclaimed Property.
“More and more, shoppers are purchasing gift cards and certificates for their loved ones and it is important to remember that even if that piece of paper or plastic doesn’t get used by the expiration date it could be Unclaimed Property,” Treasurer Zweifel said. “I have nearly $6.2 million in Unclaimed Property made up of unused gift cards and certificates. This year my Unclaimed Property staff has returned more than $107,000 from expired gift cards or certificates. Remember, the average Unclaimed Property account returned is $300 – money that would come in handy for all of us this holiday season.”
If a Missourian believes his or her expired gift card may have become Unclaimed Property, they should first check with the business that their unused gift card was originally from to see if it is redeemable. If the business will not redeem the card or certificate, owners should then check www.ShowMeMoney.com to see if their name is listed. If the owner’s name is not listed on the website and he or she has a gift card or certificate with value a business will not redeem, the card owner should email Treasurer Zweifel’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Not all credit from gift cards and certificates is turned over with account owner contact information, so having the physical card or certificate may help an individual claim their property.
Since January 2009, Treasurer Zweifel has returned $136 million in Unclaimed Property to more than 436,000 account holders. There are 58 accounts with more than $100,000. Missourians may check for Unclaimed Property 24 hours-a-day at www.ShowMeMoney.com.
About Treasurer Zweifel’s Unclaimed Property
State law requires financial institutions, insurance companies, public agencies and other business entities to turn over assets to Treasurer Zweifel that belong to a customer, client, employee or other owner if there have been no documented transactions or contact with the owner for five or more years. Most Unclaimed Property consists of cash from bank accounts, stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned. It also can include uncollected insurance policy proceeds, government refunds, utility deposits and wages from past jobs. Treasurer Zweifel does not handle real property such as land and houses or certain types of personal property such as cars and boats. There is $700 million in Unclaimed Property maintained by Treasurer Zweifel. Treasurer Zweifel never charges for the return of Unclaimed Property.