Buying and Selling Gift Cards

Gift cards have become popular purchases. They are easy to buy, easy to give, they suit numerous purposes and occasions, and a wide variety of merchants now offer the plastic presents. Some even have discounts associated with them.

However, sometimes that perfect gift is not so perfect, and the gift card gets relegated to a desk drawer or the bottom of your purse and soon forgotten.

Recently, an online marketplace has developed for the buying and selling of unwanted gift cards.

It can be a win-win for those looking for a bargain and those wishing to turn a card into cash. Buyers can pick up cards at discounts of as much as 50%, and sellers can receive as much as 92% of the remaining balance on the card.

Buying a Gift Card

On PlasticJungle.com, buyers have a wide range of merchants to choose from. PlasticJungle also offers electronic cards, in addition to hard plastic cards which are mailed to the buyer. The site is currently offering Target gift cards at a 5% discount, Home Depot for as much as 7% off, and American Airlines cards discounted 9%.

Availability of cards varies widely on GiftCards.com. Today, the site has 283 gift cards for AMC Theatres discounted 15% but only one card for RadioShack, discounted about 12%. Search for gift cards featuring a “red tag” on the GiftCards.com site and rack up bonus savings. The red tags are a tip off that a coupon is available at mycoupons.com for that merchant.

GiftCardBin is another alternative, but it has an extremely limited inventory of cards at the moment. An AMC Theatres card on this site only offers an 11% discount.

Selling a Gift Card

Generally, cards do not have to be unused to be sold. Most sites do, however, require at least a $25 balance on the card in order to make the transaction profitable for them. If you are unsure of the value of a card you’ve had around for a while, there is generally a toll-free number, located on the back of the card or on the merchant’s website, that will allow you to determine any remaining value if you have the card number and security code (also usually found on the back of the card).

Sample Selling Offers

A $50 Wal-Mart gift card will earn you $45.00 in cash or a $47.50 amazon.com gift card on PlasticJungle, with all postage paid by the site.

GiftCards.com offers $45.50 in cash for the same Wal-Mart card, but you pay the postage. GiftCards.com also imposes a $500 selling limit per household for a six month period.

GiftCardBin only offered $37, and you pay the postage. You can counter their bid with one of your own, which, of course, is then subject to acceptance.

Cardpool.com offers two ways to sell gift cards, by mail or via electronic submission of the card’s codes. In order to sell electronically, a credit card number must be on file for the seller. A $50.00 Wal-Mart card is worth $45 regardless of which selling method you chose. The site pays shipping.

CardWoo.com offers free shipping and a lower $20 minimum card balance, but it does not pre-determine the value of the card. Once the card is received, the site will send you a check. If you do not like the offered amount, you can return the check for the return of your cards. CardWoo only accepts retailers’ gift cards, not those branded by MasterCard, Visa, etc., but it also accepts gift certificates.

GiftCards.com works with a partner site, Swapagift.com, which offers walk-in certified partner locations in addition to the mail-in option. The site does warn that in-person swaps may result in less cash than mail-in swaps, so be advised to contact the certified partner for a quote prior to making the trip.

This article is meant only as a brief overview of gift card buying/selling sites. Each site has its own terms and conditions, so be sure to shop around and read the fine print.

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