Unwanted Gift Cards?

Dec 27, 2012 by

gift cardThe most popular holiday gift—named as desirable to receive by about 60% of consumers—are gift cards. (Clothing, named by about 50%, is a fairly distant second.) According to the National Retail Federation, 81% of U.S. consumers were predicted to buy at least one gift card during the 2012 holiday season, spending an average of $157. Total U.S. gift card holiday spending is estimated to be nearly $30 billion.

Make the Most from Your Less Than Desirable Gift Cards

Based on the stats above, if you participated in holiday gift exchanging, more than likely you’ve got a few gift cards sitting on your desk or dresser right now. Some cards, though from well-meaning friends or relatives, may have poorly hit the mark, shall we say, with respect to your needs and wants. Rather than letting cards about which you’re unexcited get lost or sit dormant until they expire or gradually vaporize through “account maintenance” or other fees, why not sell or trade them for something you do want?

Sell Your Gift Cards

Some retailers allow gift cards to be exchanged for cash, especially if you’ve got the receipt, so that’s the first thing to check out because you’d get full value for the card, just as if you’d returned a physical item. Nothing’s better than getting cold, hard cash you can spend anywhere in exchange for a card that doesn’t make the materialistic muscles in your heart go pitter patter.

If you do want cash instead of a gift card but can’t get a refund from a retailer, the next best option may be to sell your card. Like just about anything these days, you’ve got to do some research and be careful not to get ripped off, but many online sites will help you convert your card to cash (for a cut, of course).

Trade Your Gift Cards

Another option is to swap your gift card for a card you do want, and some sites facilitate consumer-to-consumer swapping of gift cards. This approach may be riskier than selling your card to an online business that buys & sells gift cards because swap sites can be scammer magnets. The advantage of a card swap is you may pay less in transaction fees and so keep for yourself more of the value of the card you want to ditch. For example, a business site that buys and sells gift cards may pay you $15 for a $25 card, but you might be able to swap your $25 card for another $25 card and pay a relatively small fee.

Gift Card Exchange Sites to Check Out

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but to get you started, here’s an alphabetical list of gift card exchange sites that might meet your needs:

  • ABC Gift Cards
  • Cardpool
  • GiftCardBin
  • GiftCardRescue
  • GiftCardSwapping
  • Monster Gift Card
  • Plastic Jungle
  • Swapagift.com

You might begin your research with the summary of reviews of these sites at Top Ten Reviews.

Do Your Gift Card Homework

Before you get involved with any gift card exchange business, search the site’s name and learn whether the Internet’s teeming with complaints against the business. It may pay to check the conversation on Twitter about the site too. And comparison shop as you would anything else because you’ll pay a fee to dump your cards, and the fees do vary among card exchange sites.

Are You Looking to Dump a Gift Card?

Do you have any gift cards on hand you’d like to sell or swap? If you have experience with any of the sites listed above or any other, were you happy with the exchange?

 

Image courtesy of www.christmasstockimages.com.

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  • http://twitter.com/prairieecothrif Miss T

    Great list. Unfortunately not a lot of these are available in Canada which sucks. I have regifted mine in the past to people who I know would enjoy them. Worked out well.

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt Fischer

      Regifting is a great idea, especially if you know the recipient will value the card more than you do.

  • Funancials

    It’s unbelievable to me how HUGE gift cards have become. It clearly shows the complete disconnect between economic and social views. Who on Earth would trade money they can spend ANYWHERE for money they can only spend at one place? “Yea, I want my money to be less liquid. That’s what I want.”

    Why is it socially unacceptable now to give people cash in a card? Are gift cards more “thoughtful?”

    Makes me laugh..

    • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt Fischer

      You make a great point. I guess gift cards have gotten so popular because, compared to cash, they convey the illusion of thoughtfulness?

  • http://twitter.com/jpmoneyblogger John Preston

    It seems pretty silly to me, but you are right. Most people love gift cards. Poersonally, I’m surprised that it isn’t the prepaid debit card that is more popular.

    The sheer number of exchange sites bears testament to the fact, that they really aren’t that great of a gift. People are clearly disconnected.

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