back to top
DIY

How To Get Rid Of Gift Cards You'll Never Use

So you can get what you actually want.

Posted on

And if you don't use your card quickly, chances are you might just forget about it: according to this survey, 51% of people who have gift cards never use them!

giphy.com / Via youtube.com

Luckily, there are several ways you can exchange or sell unwanted gift cards. Most of the time you won't get 100% of the value back, but pretty much anything is better than letting it go to waste.

Advertisement

1. Evaluate the value of your gift card by comparing its worth across sites.

consumerreports.org

There are a lot of websites that will buy your unwanted gift cards, but they won't offer 100% of the card's value. Consumer Reports compared the exchange price for gift cards from 13 retailers on four different sites. The rates depend widely on merchant and site.

Walmart, Whole Foods, Tiffany & Co, Home Depot, and Bed Bath & Beyond received the largest cash back amounts. Notably missing from the list, however, were Amazon and Target. View the full comparison here.

Don't see your retailer on the Consumer Reports list? Check out the sites' price calculators: Giftcards.com, Cardpool, Giftcardrescue.com, and Monster Gift Card. There is also CardCash, which was not featured in the comparison.

3. Use Raise, an app where you set your own prices, if you think you can get more $$ than what those sites estimate.

Raise

It's like a Stubhub for gift cards. Listing a card is free, and you set your own price. Keep in mind that Raise takes a 15% commission off of the selling price.

CardHub works the same way, but it doesn't have a slick mobile app.

4. You can try to exchange your gift card for something specific on Reddit's /r/giftcardexchange.

Reddit

Here, you'll see people from all over the world selling and seeking gift cards in various denominations. Note that you need to be an active Reddit user to join the community. Read the Safe Trading Guide to avoid getting scammed.

5. In some states, it's legal to get partial cash refunds for unused gift cards.

Saovadee / Getty Images

According to giftcards.com, if you live in California, you're entitled to cash back on any card with $10 or less. In Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts, cash can be redeemed on cards with $5 or less. In Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, and Montana, the policy applies to cards with less than $5.

There are some stipulations however (like no prepaid phone cards) so read the fine print here.

Advertisement

6. For prepaid Visa or Amex cards, you might be able to cash them using Square's free reader.

Square

You'll have to pay 2.75% per swipe, but at least you might be able to cash out the gift card amount. Deposits take one to two business days.

Don't run more than one card, because Square will freeze your account. It's best if you have a friend that's a merchant and can transfer the money for you.

7. If you'd rather sell of a gift card in person, a Coinstar Exchange kiosk can help.

Coinstar

You can trade gift cards for cash at a Coinstar Exchange kiosk, which beats the trouble of shipping it. The machine will offer you a deal, and you'll need to verify your ID (with a driver's license or credit card) to get a cash voucher. You'll then take the voucher to a cashier to receive your dolla bills. Check to make sure your gift card is accepted first.

8. Love Target? Try their new trade-in program.

Target

Exchange gift cards from over 600 brands for Target store credit. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, an estimated 1,500 retail stores are hosting the in-store program at the mobile phone counter in the electronics department. Find out if there's one near you.

Like card exchange sites, you won't get 100% of the card's value (you might even get less than online offers), but if you want convenience, Target's new program is the way to go.

11. For the gift cards you *do* want to keep, use Slide (free, iOS and Android) so you don't forget about them. You can also give them away or share with friends and family on the app.

If you think your roommate or partner can shop for better apartment things than you can, Slide can help you share the gift card wealth. Enter in your gift card information into Slide, and see the remaining balance right on your phone. It'll even generate a barcode for the cashier to scan, so you won't have to carry around your cards anymore.

For more clever tips, follow Game Changer on Facebook.

Facebook: gamechangers

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss