Unhappy with the gift card in your stocking? Wal-Mart has a solution

Not a fan of that department-store gift card that you found under the Christmas tree? Wal-Mart says it can help you out.

The world’s largest retailer is offering a savvy promotion targeting the gift-card crowd, promising to exchange gift cards for a Wal-Mart-branded (WMT) e-gift card.

Wal-Mart is offering to exchange gift cards from over 200 merchants, and says it can give back up to 97% of the face value when exchanging for a Wal-Mart card. Customers can retrieve estimates here.

As expected, there can be some fluctuations. A Target (TGT) gift card worth $100 can be exchanged for $96.60. A Gap (GPS) card worth the same amount is a less lucrative $84, while a Starbucks (SBUX) card gets only $72.45. Wal-Mart doesn’t explain how it comes to those estimates.

The offer could potentially have broad appeal: 62% of shoppers earlier this year said they would like to receive a gift card, according to the National Retail Federation. The average person buying gift cards will spend $172.74 this year, the NRF said, with total spending expecting to reach $31.74 billion.

Retailers like gift cards for a few reasons. They can immediately redeem the revenue generated at the time the card is sold, it can lead to more spending beyond the value of the card when customers shop in their stores, and at times, the cards can go completely unused.

And while a majority of Americans want to get a gift card, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be happy with that they receive, leading to a lot of waste. Americans have reported left $44 billion in gift cards go unused since 2008, according to a study published at the beginning of this year.

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