Gift cards are the go-to ‘gift’ these days. If you receive a gift card you can buy whatever you want from a certain store and choose exactly what you would like, and what suits your own taste. But what if that card is to a store you would never shop in or just don’t want anything from, or if you just can’t find anything in that particular store that you want? What can you do with unwanted gift cards? The answer is – you can sell them or trade them in – very easily! Gift cards can’t be returned to where they were purchased from, but there are ways to safely and conveniently sell or trade in your unwanted and unused cards.
Millions of unspent dollars is wasted every year with people not using gift cards they have received. If you are not likely to use that card you received, isn’t it better to sell or exchange it? Gift cards do not ever expire – the government stepped in several years ago and stopped expiration dates being put on gift cards, so you should be able to sell that unused card at any time.
Selling unwanted gift cards online
It really isn’t advisable to sell on online places such as eBay, Craig’s List etc. Whilst you might have good luck with this, there are so many people out there who are unfortunately not honest, and the whole transaction process can be very problematic. You not only have to deal with a buyer, but you have to guarantee that the card will arrive safely or its details be sent safely, which is hard to do with online transactions and dealing with strangers yourself. It is far better to use a more secure system and company, which has been set up especially for this purpose.
Use a Gift Card Sales Marketplace
Online marketplaces are especially set up for the purpose of selling or exchanging gift cards. Selling or trading in your cards means you won’t get 100% of the value of your card, as usually there are commissions and fees involved, but these vary and some can be quite low. People are buying your unwanted cards at these marketplaces for the very reason that they can purchase them for a cheaper price, therefore you have to expect that fees will be involved. But these marketplaces are doing all the work for you in selling the cards, and you don’t have to deal with strangers and money transactions yourself.
The highest resale values are on cards for places such as grocery stores and stores that have a wide variety of offerings, such as Target, Walmart, Amazon etc. Check out this list from WalletHub of the most popular gift cards, to give you an idea of what will sell the best.
Gift card sales marketplace companies
There are numerous companies out there who have set up marketplaces especially for buying, exchanging and selling gift cards. The basic way these companies work is pretty much the same, just the fees and percentages vary by company. You enter in your card details, such as the name of the card merchant, and balance, and you will see offers for the card you have entered. If you like a certain offer you enter your card information, and then payment is sent to you. Physical gift cards are usually mailed to you, whilst e-gift cards are usually emailed to you, however some companies pay out in different ways, so always check each individual company’s payment information. Many of these companies have apps that can be downloaded to your own mobile device. Some of the major gift card marketplace companies are:
Cardcash. CardCash was ranked the best by WalletHub for card sellers. Cardcash lets you sell your unwanted gift cards to them for up to 92% of their value. You can either get cash for your card or trade up to other cards. They resell the gift cards at a discount to buyers.
GiftCardGranny. WalletHub ranked GiftCardGranny the best for buyers of cards. GiftCardGranny will show you the best deals from all credit card marketplaces. When you enter your card merchant name and balance, they will find which marketplace can give you the best deal for selling.
Cardpool. Cardpool pays up to 92% of a card’s actual value. Cardpool pays out in either Amazon e-gift cards or an actual physical check is mailed to you.
Raise.com. Raise.com has over 3000 brands of cards on offer. They take a 15% commission and a listing fee for each card you sell. Raise also features a wallet feature, where you can enter your card information and store it for your own use.
Gift Card seller kiosks
Many grocery and other stores feature gift card trading kiosks. These machines accept numerous cards as long as they have at least a $15 balance. These kiosks work by making you an offer for the card, and you just have to accept the offer or not. If you do accept the offer the kiosk will print off a voucher that you can redeem for cash by taking it to the check-out or customer service desk in the store. There are many in-store gift card kiosks run by Cardpool. Check out their locations here.
Target will trade in gift cards!
Target actually offers a great trade-in for unused and unwanted cards. They will trade store credit for cards, and they accept cards from more than 100 retailers and restaurants. However, not all Target stores participate in this program, so check with your local store to make sure they are participants.
How to check your gift card balance
You can check the balance remaining on any gift card that you have by calling the 1-800 number located on the back of the card. You then just need to enter your card’s unique identification number/card number and you can find out immediately the balance as it stands. This is a great tool to know if you have lots of cards just sitting around, and you don’t know if they are used or unused.
When should you sell your gift card?
For the best rate on selling or exchanging your card don’t sell or exchange them at peak periods, such as around the holidays. It is best to delay for as long as possible, perhaps a month or so after the holidays, when less people are looking for deals on gift cards.
If you don’t want to go to the hassle of selling or exchanging your card, but would like to do something worthwhile with it, consider some of the following options instead:
Donate your gift cards to charity
You can do something special with your unwanted and unused gift card by donating it. Many charities will accept donations of cards, just check with the charity of your choice to see if they accept them. This is a lovely way of turning something unwanted into doing something good. You can even itemize this on your tax bill as a donation.
Donate your gift card to a local school
Schools always need to purchase supplies, whether it is books, craft supplies, teaching aids etc. If you have an unwanted card that could be used by a local school to help with teaching consider donating your unwanted and unused cards to them. Check with each individual school first to see what their policy is on receiving gift card donations. Cards that would be especially helpful to schools would be from retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc. Many schools also run auctions throughout the year, and a gift card would make a great auction item.
Re-gift your gift card!
Nothing wrong with this! If you have a card that you really don’t want, why not re-gift it? It may sound cheap, but look at it this way – if you are really not going to use that card, perhaps someone else can really make use of that card, and you can send some happiness their way with the gift of a gift card.