Need help with a gift card you can’t use?
Gift cards can make the perfect present for many people, but only sometimes if we do research. At some point, a friend gave you a gift card of $100 to celebrate a promotion, birthday, or retirement. While appreciative, it was to a restaurant you don’t like, so you put the card in a drawer and forgot about it.
Did you know you can sell gift cards in several ways and use cash well? Save the money for things you need to buy. At the very least, you can get rid of unwanted gift cards productively and feel good about them.
What To Do About Unwanted Gift Cards
- Sell gift cards on websites or apps.
- Exchange your card at kiosks for a merchant more preferable.
- Auction your gift card on sites like eBay.
- Donate the gift cards to friends, family, colleagues, or non-profit organizations.
Gift cards are like cash and often feel like free money, but their values typically don’t reflect the face value of the card. It depends on several factors:
- Typically, you buy open-loop or closed-loop gift cards. You can use open loop cards anywhere that accepts that brand, while you may only use the closed loop cards at a specific merchant.
- You can use your plastic gift cards at stores or online, while usage of electronic or eGift cards is online or by phone. Retailers can impose restrictions or fees. It may be easier to redeem physical gift cards than digital ones. However, you can lose physical gift cards, making them harder to replace than digital cards.
- Some credit cards like Visa issue gift cards, but you may need help recouping cash, as their use is for purchasing items.
- Resale value depends on the respective retail stores and restaurants, with significant national well-recognized restaurants and retailers like Walmart commanding a higher amount than more limited merchants than may only provide 50%-60% of the stated amount. Local gift cards will be less in demand outside your community.
- Before selling gift cards, check the details, notably the terms and conditions of your card, as the merchant may impose restrictions or fees. Legally, gift cards may not expire for at least five years after the stated expiration date.
With the highest inflation rates in 40 years, after paying more for groceries, gas, rent, and entertainment, selling gift cards to recoup cash before the holidays is a win-win proposition for those with tight budgets or who want to live more frugally. A recent Coresight Research Study uncovered holiday shoppers’ continued popularity of gift cards, especially physical ones. Nearly six out of ten shoppers would like physical gift cards this year.
Popular gift cards or certificates can be for gaming, restaurants like Starbucks, Subway, and Cracker-Barrel, fine dining, and large retailers like Amazon, Target, Netflix, Walmart, Costco, Spafinder, and Best Buy sell apparel, footwear, electronics, and accessories. They make excellent holiday gifts all year round.
If you are looking for free gift cards, we found 36 easy ways to get them legitimately.
Why Do Retailers Offer Gift Cards?
Mcdonald’s and JCPenney first introduced plastic gift cards in the 1970s before the practice caught on in the mid-1990s. They make convenient presents and tend to boost retailer revenue. It is relatively inexpensive for vendors, ranging from $0.23 to over a dollar, to produce plastic gift cards and profitable. People spend over 38% over the gift card limit once they redeem the cards. According to Paytronix, more than 70% of people are quick to redeem within six months. That rate stagnates afterward.
12 Best Ways To Sell Gift Cards You Don’t Want
Founded in 2009, CardCash was among the first companies to sell unused gift cards online. They work with over 200 brands, and you can get paid up to 92% cash. It’s an easy process to sell your gift cards and earn money via check, ACH direct deposit, or PayPal.
Alternatively, you can trade your unwanted gift cards for a card you prefer and get paid 11% more. You can donate your gift card to the St. Jude Hospital through CardCash.
CardSell is an app that acts as an instant gift card exchange kiosk to sell unwanted gift cards through hundreds of retailers. You enter your gift card information that CardSell will verify, and you’ll receive payment via PayPal within 48 hours.
ClipKardYou’ll be asked to create an account and confirm your gift cards are physical and haven’t expired. They accept your cards from over 100 well-known retailers. Use their online quote tool to inform you how much they’re willing to pay for your gift card. An attractive ClipKard feature is that the dollar amount converts into points, and if you accumulate 1,000 points, they’ll give a $10 reward. You need to ship your cards to the mailing address they provide and receive a check or direct payment to PayPal.
Gameflip has over five million gamers on its website and a free mobile app where you can sell any unused, prepaid, and nonreloadable gift card. The most popular cards in high demand are Steam cards, PSN, Xbox Live, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play cards. They suggest setting sale prices between 2% to 15% off the original amount to attract thousands of gift card buyers. Gameflip will deposit sale proceeds into your Gameflip wallet, from which you can withdraw cash anytime.
- Gift Card Granny
It is easy to sell your gift cards online via Gift Card Granny. You can quickly sell your gift card online.
Their payouts are usually between 60 to 90 percent, depending on the demand for specific cards. Payment options vary, including cash, check, ACH, PayPal, or an exchange gift card to an alternate store. The amount varies by where you sell, the transaction, and the gift card.
For example, a top brand in high demand from consumers, like Walmart, may receive an average of around 90% cash back. If you’re looking for the largest payout, selling your gift card online is usually the best option.
GiftCardPlace is a comparison-shopping site aggregating prices from several resellers of discount gift cards. You can cash your unwanted gift cards for up to 93% of the card value. Their site accepts cards from over 950 retail brands. GiftCardPlace works only with the most reputed vendors.
You can cash in your gift cards in four easy steps:
- Select the merchant name of your gift card from their list.
- See the exchange rates various vendors offer for your gift card.
- Click the “Sell Your” Card button to navigate the vendor’s website.
- Complete the transaction and receive the payout in cash or exchange for another card.
You can sell your gift cards instantly and in bulk on GiftCash to over 150 brands. They accept gift cards with minimum values of $25 up to $2,000 though some minimums are higher, like Apple/iTunes, Air Canada, and PetCo. They provide several payout methods, including cryptocurrency.
8. Quickcash MI
QuickcashMi is a family-run business that will help you sell your gift cards or store credit online, or if you prefer to mail the physical gift cards. The in-mail method takes the longest (up to ten days), but you’ll receive the highest payment by check. They suggest you mail in your cards with a padded envelope with tracking numbers, as the seller takes the risk of shipment issues.
Founded in 2013, Raise is among the better-recognized online marketplaces where you can list unwanted gift cards or store credits for discounts that depend on supply and demand. They have a comprehensive site backed by thousands of brands, and you can receive funds via direct deposit or PayPal. Raise has generated over $1.6 billion in gross gift card transactions and saved more than $170 million.
Before you sell your gift cards on the auction site eBay, check their card policy, which may limit your cards’ cash redemption. eBay gift policy restrictions are
- Sellers can list the following types of gift cards:
- That eBay’s authorized sellers sell
- Collectible gift cards with no redemption value, as long as the listing specifies that there’s no monetary amount on the card
- They will accept gift cards as a form of payment for stores or companies going through bankruptcy or going out of business. Specify the expiration date in the listing if there is one.
- Sellers must meet all these requirements when listing eligible gift cards:
- The total face value of all their gift card listings at any given time must be $500 or less
- The gift card must be in hand at the time of the listing, and it must ship within five days of the date the card is sold
- Regift to Friends and Family
Of course, you can regift your cards. They may work for friends and family who could make use of the specific gift cards you don’t intend to use it. Paying it forward is always an excellent way to make people happy.
- Donate To Your Favorite Charities
Many charities will accept your gift cards as donations or facilitate your donations. For example, St. Jude Hospital will accept unwanted cards through CardCash, while the websites of Global Giving and Gift Card Partners will redeem your unique gift codes.
With the holidays coming, you may want to stash away some cash. You may have a drawer full of unwanted gift cards you have meant to monetize or give way to others. Selling gift cards is a quick option to earn money to buy things you need for your home, kids, or the holidays.
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With a passion for investing and personal finance, I began The Cents of Money to help and teach others. My experience as an equity analyst, professor, and mom provide me with unique insights about money and wealth creation and a desire to share with you.