New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is urging New Yorkers to keep track of the gift cards they received during the holidays. Unused gift card balances can be turned over to the Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds (OUF) after five years of inactivity. In 2023, the Office recovered over $27 million from gift cards. For this reason, everyone should check for unclaimed funds.
“Many people don’t realize that after 5 years, unused gift card balances are turned over to the Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds,” DiNapoli said. “Now is a great time to check for unclaimed funds and use those gift cards you received over the holidays to avoid possible inactivity fees or having the money turned over to my office.”
Statewide, New York City residents are owed the most in unclaimed funds stemming from gift cards, totaling nearly $40 million, followed by Long Island residents at $10.8 million and Hudson Valley residents at $7.4 million.
DiNapoli’s office returns an average of $1.5 million in unclaimed funds every day and works with retailers to identify the owners of unused gift cards. Retailers can provide OUF with a name if the person registers the gift card online, if they have been issued a refund, or if the card was purchased with an existing store account. If the owner’s information is not known to a New York retailer, it will report the card details, such as card number and balance, which can be used by the recipient to claim the balance. The Comptroller’s office also sends letters to newly reported owners of unclaimed funds.
DiNapoli reminds gift card recipients to read the fine print on the card for details about any fees and expiration dates, and to consider registering the card with the retailer.
DiNapoli’s office has more than $18.4 billion in unclaimed funds.