NEW YORK (CBSNEWS.COM) — A prepaid gift card may be a popular holiday present, with more than half of U.S. consumers purchasing one this season, but that doesn’t mean they’re used wisely: About $3 billion in cards will go unredeemed this year alone.

(credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

As much as 3% of gift card dollars are never redeemed, according to an estimate by the Mercator Advisory Group. In 2019, consumers spent about $98.6 loading up gift cards, which means almost $3 billion was left on the table, according to C. Sue Brown, director of the group’s prepaid advisory service.

“The biggest waste tends to be in your retailer gift cards that for some reason the recipient chooses not to spend,” Brown told CBS News.

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