Have you ever been given a gift card that you can’t use? How about a voucher for a website you’d never dream of buying from? It might be tempting to pass the card on to someone else, but instead of regifting you could always try and sell or exchange the card online.
It’s unlikely that you’ll receive the full value of the gift card, but then again something is better than nothing. On the flip-side if you’re thinking of making a purchase from a retailer that offers gift cards you might snag a bargain by buying some discounted store credit beforehand.
The most logical and obvious choice for such a task, eBay is full of discounted gift cards being sold both as auctions and Buy It Now items. The price is often determined by the store itself – iTunes and Walmart are widely-used and thus will probably sell for closer to the retail value of the card than smaller, niche businesses. Popular gift cards are often auctioned, and it’s not surprising to see the final bid only shave a couple of dollars off the full value of the card.
Buy It Now auctions work better for smaller brands and services, and success entirely depends on the price you’re willing to let the card go for. Don’t forget once your auction has ended you’ll also lose some of your winnings as fees to both eBay and PayPal so take this into account before setting your price too low.
Conversely, I’ve seen a number of auctions with final bids that are higher than the gift card’s actual worth and that even before postage has been added. Don’t forget that the usual eBay warnings apply, though with PayPal buyer protection you should be able to shop with relative confidence.
CardPool is a service established specifically for the sale and purchase of unwanted gift cards. Selling a gift card via CardPool will earn you a maximum 92% of the card’s worth and shipping won’t cost a penny thanks to the free postage. According to the website, buyers can enjoy up to 35% in discounts when they purchase a card online.
Buying is easy – simply browse or search the catalogue. Selling requires you choose your merchant from a very long list, enter the card’s value and then decide whether you want to send the card via snail mail or enter the code online. For a $100 Walmart gift card I was offered $92 mail-in or $87 for online code entry. There is also an option over whether to receive the amount via cheque or on an Amazon gift card and CardPool offers a guarantee on your purchase, making it safe to buy.
The only problem I’ve found is that despite CardPool’s claims that they want to take the service international it seems to only work for US stores or cards with values in US dollars at the moment. Non-US users might want to keep an eye on this one just in case international support is added.
A service designed to deal in the sale of credit cards, prepaid cards and gift cards, CardHub is an international service operating in eight countries: US, Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland, Greece, Philippines and Romania. Unfortunately the bulk of the sales seem to be located in the US, though it’s nice to have a service that caters for international users too.
US sellers will be given the choice of selling their gift card directly to a partner site (I was offered $95 for a $100 Walmart card) or publicly listing the card for sale on CardHub at a price of their choosing. If you want to list the card then you’re going to need a Facebook account, and this is your only option outside of the US at this time.
Buyers can save anywhere from 5% to 50%, so it might be worth checking out CardHub before making a big purchase from an established retailer. Unfortunately there is no guarantee, and CardHub recommends doing deals in person using cash in order to avoid being stung.
Gift Card Converter (UK only)
The UK equivalent of services like CardPool, Gift Card Converter turns your unwanted high street gift cards into cash. Sellers will be pleased to know the website recently dropped the listing fee, making it free to list your unwanted card on the service. All you need to get going is a spare gift card and a PayPal account to receive the funds.
Sellers can list cards with a value of £10-£600, and there is also the option of donating old cards with little value to charity. The website doesn’t handle any transactions themselves and only exist as a marketplace, making PayPal your best friend when it comes to disputes.
CardLimbo (Australia only)
For Australian sellers there’s CardLimbo, a service which will buy unwanted gift cards, sell discounted ones and provide a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. A quick test reveals that CardLimbo are willing to give me $85 for a $100 Coles gift card, not a bad fee though eBay may be a more profitable route.
Seeing as you’re protected by the company, you can buy with confidence from CardLimbo. Just like Gift Card Converter in the UK, CardLimbo also encourages you to send in your old unwanted gift cards so that they can be donated to charity.
It’s time to stop pretending you might use that gift card and do the right thing – sell it, collect some cash, and buy something you really want. Most gift cards have expiry dates – the longer you wait, the closer obsoletion becomes. Do something today, help someone snag a bargain, buy what you really want—and while you’re at it, why not donate your old low-balance cards to charity?
For more on gift cards, see how to use your Fandango gift card.
Image Credit: Gift Card Intro Via Shutterstock
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