Gift cards are a $10 billion waste of money and you should never buy them

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It's estimated that half of Americans will give a gift card this holiday season.

It's easy to see why gift cards are appealing. They take the guesswork out of gift buying and ensure that the recipient won't have to make a return. They're also compact and easy to ship or transport.

Despite their popularity, there are many reasons why the effortless gift is a waste of money.

1. A shocking number are never used.

Almost one in three gift cards never get used at all, CBS reported in 2014, citing Consumer Reports. Americans spend $32 billion a year on the cards, representing nearly $10 billion in wasted money for consumers (and pure profit for retailers).

RELATED: Check out this holiday shopping guide

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Holiday Shopping Guide
These stylish gold hoops are a classic gift for a girl or woman of any age!
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For a loved one in a cold climate - this duo of Bluetooth earmuffs and touchscreen gloves will keep her warm and connected through the coldest days of the year.
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This fun set is the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite fashionista! Filled with metallic stick-on shapes, she's sure to have a blast trying on some nail art.
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This perfectly minimalist watch is the ideal gift for your perfectly fabulous best friend!
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For the yoga-loving, modern-day flower child, this canvas bag is a gift that's sure to get good use!
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Give a truly special gift with this gorgeous angel necklace. With silver angel wings and a heart-shaped jewel, this necklace will mean the world to your loved one.
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These fun red carpet-ready hair jewels are beloved by celebrities like Emma Roberts! Give them as a gift, throw them in a stocking and maybe even keep one set for yourself, too
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This handsome, canvas handbag is sturdy, fashionable and a gift you can guarantee will be put to work! Perfect for the girl bosses, busy mothers and overall power women in your life.
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A lady can never have enough scarves in the closet - making a scarf the perfect gift for anyone and everyone. This lacy, light scarf is great for wearing any time of year!
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2. When people do shop with gift cards, they end up spending their own money.

Those who do use the gift cards tend to spend 20% more than the value, according to Investopedia.

CBS also reports that people are more than twice as likely to pay full price for an item when they're using a gift card.

3. Most people say they don't want gift cards.

It's also likely that your gift card isn't appreciated: only 27% of Americans said they would like to receive one this holiday, according to recent data from Bankrate.com.

Most people said they would prefer cash or a tangible gift instead.

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SEE ALSO: We tried Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks' hottest holiday drink — and the winner is clear

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