How to exchange gift cards for cash

December 16, 2020

By Kirsten Queen

When it comes to giving gifts, sometimes it’s the thought that counts. But last year, $3 billion worth of gift cards went unused. If you receive a gift card that you’ll never use, you don’t have to let that money go to waste. A gift card exchange site can help you get either cashback or a new gift card to use at another store so you can treat yourself to something you’d really like.  There are a few risks, so we’ll go over some things to be aware of, so you don’t miss out on your money. 

Gift card scams

Gift cards are a scammer’s favorite way to get paid. Why? A gift card is just like digital cash. Once the money is on a gift card, it’s virtually untraceable, unlike a credit or debit card would be. Plus, it’s pretty easy to use the gift card; the user only needs to know the pin number. And since many default pin numbers are only 4 numbers long, it’s only a matter of time before a criminal can crack the pin number and use the money loaded onto the gift card.

To avoid gift card scams, check out a gift card marketplace to sell or exchange your unwanted gift card.

Gift card marketplaces

There are a couple of types of gift card marketplaces: buyers and exchanges. You can exchange your gift card for cash using a gift card buyer. These companies will buy your gift card from you at rate that is often lower than the actual value of the card, but you’ll get cash in exchange. For example, Cardpool offers up to 88% cashback when you sell your gift card. Some allow you to set a price for your gift card, like Raise. In this case, you may have to wait until someone purchases your card to get paid, but it can help you maximize your return.

An online gift card exchange allows you to trade your card for a different gift card. Many of these websites offer a moneyback guarantee too, just in case something goes wrong with the balance on the card you traded for. Many trade sites offer more value for your card than a buyer would, so it can be a great way to get the most out of your gift card. Some websites combine both models, like CardCash.

Tips for using a gift card marketplace

Take some precautions to make sure the gift card exchange site or buyer you want to use is reputable and then follow these tips:

  • Be wary of any gift card exchange sites that offer very good deals for gift cards. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Check the reviews of gift card exchange sites and the Better Business Bureau to research companies before you complete any transactions, so you know what you’re getting into.
  • Research any fees that may be associated with your exchange up front.
  • Avoid exchanging gift cards over Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay.
  • Never give out the pin number or gift card number to avoid that information being stolen.
  • Check gift card balances immediately after exchange and use them as soon as possible to avoid any balance losses due to criminal activity. 

Of course, if you want to be even more careful, you can always get friends and family together to hold a gift card exchange.

We hope you will have a happy and safe holiday season!

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