Options When You Don’t Need Your Gift Cards


Before you throw out your unwanted gift cards, keep in mind that there are many ways you can get a little something in return for them. Below are five things that you can do with unused gift cards:

Sell on eBay Generally, gifts cards sell on eBay for 70% – 95% of the gift card’s value. Before you throw out an old gift card that you don’t intend to use, consider selling it on eBay, and getting some cash for it instead. Keep in mind that when selling through eBay you do pay some fees. But if you are a regular eBay seller, this should be an easy way to turn your unused gift cards into some cash.

Regift: Regifting has a negative stigma attached to it often times, but there if you receive gift cards for establishments you don’t frequent. this is one regifting option that isn’t so bad. Since selling gift cards takes time and effort, regifting them to someone that will use them is an easy solution. Hold onto them for the holidays or a friend’s birthday, and pass it along. In the grand scheme of things, who is going to know any better? You can consider it a nice gift to you that in turn let’s you do a little less Christmas shopping.

Donate: Check with your favorite charities. Many local charities welcome gift cards as donations. Some charities only accept gift cards from certain stores where they can use them to get food and supplies they need. However, some charities will accept any local gift cards. You can always call around or check charity websites to find out if your favorite charities can use your gift cards.

Card Avenue: At CardAvenue.com you can sell or trade gift cards. You do pay a fee as a seller or trader (3.95% of final price plus 50 cents). You can buy gift cards from merchants or buy secondhand gift cards, as well as posting gift cards you wish to trade. You can also show wish lists of what gift cards you are willing to trade for. The system is similar to eBay as cards are auctioned and sellers have feedback ratings.

Plastic Jungle: PlasticJungle.com seems to take this all one step further by allowing you to sell or trade cards for no fees. This one caught my eye because they advertise that you can donate gift cards to charity through them as well. However, on their website it merely states that this donation feature will be “coming soon.” Plastic Jungle also has a QuickCash feature where they pay you 65%-75% cash value of the cards up front (depends on the card). Or you can trade with or buy from other individuals through the site.

Beyond all this, you may have some used gift cards, or cards with small dollar amounts that aren’t worth trading or selling, that you usually throw out. I will say time and time again that the easiest way to get rid of something you don’t want, without adding to the landfill, is to use Freecycle. FreeCycle is a community where you can generally find someone who thinks that your trash might just be a treasure. So next time you are ready to throw out an old gift card with a minimal or $0 balance, consider checking something like Freecycle. I always find it nice to keep whatever I can out of the landfill a little longer, and the freecycle folks are usually very appreciative of any offerings. Since there are people who collect old gift cards, most will be taken. They are also valued for use in children’s school projects and adult art projects.

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3 Responses to Options When You Don’t Need Your Gift Cards

  1. disneysteve says:

    I second the ebay suggestion. I’ve sold gift cards on ebay a few times. Most recently, my wife found a Ruth’s Chris card while cleaning. We had gotten it a couple of years ago and forgotten about it (we don’t eat meat). I called to verify it was still valid for $100 and listed it on ebay. It sold for $99.01. After fees, we still cleared over $90.

  2. Brenda says:

    If you have several cards from one merchant with nominal balances on each, you can usually return to the merchant where they will combine the amounts into one new card–which you can use, or do as suggested above.

    On the reseller options, there have been reports about the number of people who have defrauded buyers–that is, sell gift cards without any value. One can’t do that many times and get away with it, but the purchaser should beware. (Perhaps ask the seller for the card number and a toll-free number to check the balance before bidding or making payment.)

  3. Jason says:

    As an alternative to the FreeCycle option, Craigslist is another free and simple way to get rid of a card with a minimal balance. Offer it up in a ‘Free Stuff’ or similar catagory, and either pay the $.41 to mail it or request a SASE from whoever wants it.

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