Gift cards are popular Christmas gifts for some people, though recipients might not always be thrilled to receive one, and might even forget to spend them later. But Walmart has figured out what to do with gift cards, The Boston Globe reports, in order to motivate customers to actually use them.

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According to CEB TowerGroup, up to $1 billion worth of gift cards will be unused this year, which is why Walmart started its online gift card replacement program.

‘‘We recognized that this was an opportunity,’’ Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said. ‘‘A large number don’t get redeemed. We figured this was a good way to get gift cards in the hands of more customers.’’

Starting on Christmas Day, customers who visit will be able to exchange their gift cards for Walmart gift cards.

The retailer is ready to replace gift cards from more than 200 companies, airlines and restaurants with a Walmart card of similar value. If it’s successful with consumers, the program may become permanent.

However, that doesn’t mean Walmart will match the exact value shown on other gift cards in this promotion. For Amazon cards, customers will get 95% of the value back. For Staples and Gap cards buyers get 90% and 85% credit, respectively.

Other cards might be valued even less when exchanged for Walmart cards.

These Walmart cards can be used both offline and online, and they won’t expire. Users simply have to go to Walmart’s special web page and input their gift card’s information in order to receive a Walmart gift card in exchange via email.

The retailer revealed that 95% of Walmart holiday cards are usually redeemed by February, with Walmart partner CardCash saying that Walmart gift cards are the most sought-after cards on its gift card exchange website.