A popular gift for stocking stuffers, holiday cards or Secret Santa exchanges is gift cards.
Gift cards remain a favorite gift item, with total spending expected to reach $28.6 billion in 2022, up from $28.1 billion in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation. Shoppers will purchase between three to four gift cards and spend an average of $51.47 per card this holiday season.
Consumers are most likely to purchase a gift card for a restaurant, accounting for 27% of all gift card purchases, followed by department store cards (26%), and bank-issued cards like Visa and Mastercard (25%), an NRF analysis estimates. Another 10% of shoppers plan to purchase cards for food delivery services such as DoorDash and Uber Eats.
But sometimes gift cards don’t hit the mark. For example, if you receive a card for Home Depot but have no upcoming home projects or receive one for iTunes when you already have a subscription to Spotify, what do you do with that unused credit?
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Americans are sitting on more than $15 billion in unused gift card and credit balances, according to a 2021 poll by Bankrate. And most Americans have held onto an unused gift card for more than a year, the poll found.
Instead of letting those unused gift cards clutter up your drawers, there is an easy solution: turn those unused gift cards into cash.
How to Sell Unused Gift Cards Online
Many resale sites will buy gift cards for close to their face value. By comparing offer prices from several sites, you can find the highest value for your card.
Here are some popular websites and apps to sell unused gift cards online:
CardCash allows a user to buy and sell gift cards within its marketplace. You can sell cards to CardCash for less than the balance and buy discounted gift cards from more than 1,100 brands. What you get in return for selling a gift card varies. If the card is popular, sellers can get around 90% of its worth back.
Like an auction site, Raise lets user set the price of their gift card. It is free to list on their site, but the company takes a 15% commission from the final value price the card sold for. You can receive your funds via Direct Deposit or PayPal when you sell. Cards are delivered electronically, free of charge.
GiftCash allows users to plug in the card they want to sell and how much it is worth to receive an offer. If the card is for a popular store like Target or Best Buy, users will probably get most of what the card is worth — somewhere in the 80% to 90% range. Users can even cash out using crypto.
ClipKard has an online tool that allows users to submit information about the gift cards they want to sell and then provide an offer. Once offers are accepted, users can ship the cards to the company for free using USPS First Class mail or using USPS Priority Mail with a pre-supplied label that will be deducted from the final cost. Payment is received electronically via PayPal, or users can opt to get a check mailed to them. Any transaction on the website earns reward points equal to the value of the offer or purchase. Users can redeem 1,000 accumulated reward points for an additional $10 discount.
For the big gamers, Gameflip is a one-stop shop to buy and sell discounted gift cards for gaming apps such as Google Play, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. Users can list the gift card and set their own pricing, and Gameflip takes an 8% commission — and a 2% digital fee, if applicable — once the purchase is completed and the buyer has received the card. Once a transaction is completed, your funds will appear in Gameflip's wallet, where the seller can withdraw using a digital payment system.
CardSell is an app found on the Apple Store or Google Play. Once a user shares the gift card information and it is verified with the retailer, the app will make the sale for you. The user will get cash deposited into their PayPal account within 48 hours.
Of course, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling unwanted gift cards, you can always re-gift them. It is the perfect gift to stick in a birthday or holiday card when you forget to buy a present or a need a last-minute gift.
If you are in the giving spirit, unwanted gift cards can also go towards a good cause. For example, the non-profit CharityChoice will allow users to turn a gift card into a donation for over 1,000 charities. The organization takes 10% of the donation for marketing and administrative costs.
In some states, by law, you can exchange low-balance gift cards for cash. See a state-by-state guide here. However, refunds only apply to retail and restaurant gift cards, not bank-issued cash cards like Visa and American Express and in most states, the cards need to be less than $5.
How to Buy Discounted Gift Cards
To protect yourself from faulty purchases, check to see if the company has a guarantee of your money back. For example, CardCash has a 45-day money-back guarantee on all discounted gift cards and Gift Card Granny offers a lifetime guarantee.