Gift cards are more thoughtful gifts than money, mainly because if you’re gifted money you might be tempted to spend it on something boring and sensible, but with a gift card you have to treat yourself! However, sometimes the store isn’t right for you, or you just can’t find something you like. Rather than wasting the card and losing the money (although in 2009 the law changed to make it that you have five years to spend your gift card money!), here are some things you can do to turn that plastic card into real cash.
Be careful where you sell
Although we sell most things through eBay, Craigslist and Facebook, when it comes to gift cards you run a high risk of being scammed and so it is better to look for a site that specializes in these sales. For example, GiftCardGranny.com, MonsterGiftCard.com and GiftCardZen.com, all offer various types of fraud screening and protection with guarantees to ensure you get paid! If you want to sell your gift card to a stranger, make sure you go through a reputable site, so you don’t get stung.
As wonderful as it might seem to be able to sell your gift cards and use the money for something you really want, they will not always sell as well as you might hope. For example, the time of year and where the card is for is going to affect the interest in buying the card. If your gift card is somewhere big such as Target, for example, you could get up to 92% of the face value! More niche stores are a little harder to sell (although there is likely to be less competition so this may work in your favor), and if you are selling in off-seasons such as October, you could be looking at as low as 65% of the value. Make sure you do your research and have reasonable expectations as to what you are likely to get.
Cover all your bases
Before you sell your gift card, there are a few things that you need to check to ensure a quick and easy sale. Make sure you double check and validate the amount of the gift card. Even if you have been told by the gift giver that it is a certain amount, be sure to check anyway as mistakes happen and you can sell in good conscience. Approved sellers will check the amount anyway, but this will help you sell and build up trust. Be wary of cards which do not let you check the balance until you link it to your account, for example, iTunes and Starbucks. Once it is linked to your account, it is almost impossible to sell and will end up looking as though the buyer has stolen your card.
Buy more gift cards
This might sound strange but bear with us. A lot of stores, online and offline will offer certain special deals if you buy a gift card. For example, buying a gift card might get you a discount on other items or even get your rewarded with another, smaller denomination gift card. Although there are some places where you cannot buy a gift card with a gift card, it is sometimes worth looking out for the places that do. Sometimes, if you buy a gift card and use it at somewhere like Home Depot, you can get points towards free gas which is a great bonus if you needed to shop at Home Depot anyway!
Whether it’s a gift card you were given as a present or one you buy yourself to get bonuses’, if you’re smart, you can turn your gift cards into cash. If all else fails, just wait until Christmas to use your gift cards and buy other people’s presents with them. Easy!