NY comptroller urges New Yorkers to track holiday gift cards

Large selection of Gift Cards at Target store in time for the holiday season, queens, New York. (Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is advising New Yorkers to monitor the gift cards they received during the holidays.

If gift card balances remain unused for five years, they can be transferred to the Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds (OUF). 

In 2023, the office successfully recovered over $27 million from such gift cards, prompting a call for everyone to check for unclaimed funds.

"Many people don’t realize that after five years, unused gift card balances are turned over to the Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds," DiNapoli said. 

Statewide, New York City residents top the list of those owed the most in unclaimed funds from gift cards, with a total nearing $40 million. Long Island residents follow at $10.8 million, and Hudson Valley residents at $7.4 million.

DiNapoli's office consistently returns an average of $1.5 million in unclaimed funds daily and collaborates with retailers to identify owners of unused gift cards. Retailers can supply OUF with a name if the person registers the gift card online, receives a refund, or purchases the card using an existing store account.

If the owner's information is unknown to a New York retailer, they report the card details, including the card number and balance. Recipients can use this information to claim the balance. The Comptroller’s office also sends letters to newly reported owners of unclaimed funds.

DiNapoli reminds gift card recipients to carefully review the card's fine print for details about fees and expiration dates and to consider registering the card with the retailer. 

Currently, DiNapoli’s office holds more than $18.4 billion in unclaimed funds.

To learn more about unclaimed funds click here.