Gift card

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A gift card or gift certificate is a restricted money substitute or scrip that is issued by retailers or banks to be used as an alternative to a monetary or non-monetary gift. Retailers encourage the giving of these cards rather than cash because (1) it ensures that a purchase will eventually be made at that store, (2) it is essentially an interest-free loan of money to the retailer, and (3) a certain percentage of customers will lose the cards or allow them to expire. Because of how common such loss and expiry is, some states have enacted unclaimed property laws governing gift cards, ostensibly for consumer protection but also as a revenue generator, since under most of these statutes, unclaimed property eventually is turned over to the state.