Gift cards

Gift cards are popular and welcome presents to receive. They are easy to use, hold their value, and most importantly, you can choose what you want as a present instead of receiving yet another pair of socks or box of cookies. So what can you do if the business that accepts this gift card is going bankrupt? Many people assume that the card is useless and reluctantly throw it away. In most cases, this is true, but there may be some options left open to you. Let’s take a look. 

Get in there quick

So, this may seem fairly obvious, but it may be your best bet. Try and spend your gift card immediately, before the business closes down for good. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as this, and it depends on the reasons behind the store closing, so check with the store first to find out if your gift card is redeemable. You may be able to redeem the full amount on the gift card, or at least a percentage of it. When a business files for bankruptcy, they can only accept gift cards if a court authorizes them to do so. In a lot of cases, it’s unlikely that the court will allow it, but it’s always worth trying this as the first point of call.

Where was the gift card purchased?

If the gift card was bought from either a specific shop or online, contact the initial place the card was purchased and ask what they can do to help. You may be able to exchange the gift card for a different store or get a refund on it. Also, if you or your loved one paid for the gift card with a credit card, try contacting the credit card company, as in some cases, consumer protection laws may allow you to get a full refund.


No this doesn’t mean charge back to the store and demand that they accept your gift card (though that is tempting…). This option is similar to contacting your credit card company, though it’s by no means a guarantee for success, and is not a form of legal protection. Chargeback is designed so that if you pay for something, and then the order isn’t fulfilled, your bank can make a Chargeback and collect the payment. This is available on Visa or Mastercard for any amount, or Visa, Mastercard or Amex credit card up to £100. It’s essential you do this within 120 days of hearing there’s a problem — not 120 days since the transaction. In other words, make a note of when you first heard about the business’s financial issues, so you can claim before the deadline.

Don’t let go…

Letting go of things is never easy, so why should gift cards be any different? Well, in this case, it may be a good idea to hold onto your gift cards for a little while just in case the bankruptcy falls through, or the business makes a comeback years later. If the company does resume business, they may accept old gift cards that were issued before bankruptcy was declared. Well, we can live in hope, can’t we? Overall, there aren’t a great many options available to you if this scenario arises. The first thing you should do is see what information you can gather. A lot of companies will make clear their gift card policies, so you know where you stand and can act accordingly.  

Of course, the best advice that can be given is that you spend your gift cards quickly, especially if there are rumors in the air about possible company issues.