Here's how to get rid of unused or unwanted gift cards

Michael Collins
October 5, 2020

Let’s face it. We don’t exactly use gift cards as much as we should. We all have that relative that gives us gift cards from major retailers, that we know, probably won’t be used. Many times, gift cards sit in our drawers and in our wallets, just waiting to be used. We don’t throw them away because they have money on them, yet we don’t use them. More often than not, unwanted gift cards are never used or the full amount on the gift card is never spent. 

In a time where digital wallets and online purchases are king, it is very easy to forget to use those many gift cards you have. Consumers spend their money at hundreds of different stores and restaurants, so it can be hard to make use of a gift card that is just for one specific place. Even if it’s a prepaid  Mastercard or Visa gift card, it can still be hard to remember to use it! 

Hundreds of thousands of gift cards are never used every single year. Want to hear something crazy? Nearly 3 billion dollars of gift cards are never redeemed by the buyer! That’s a lot of card value left on the table. 

If an unused gift card is never redeemed, you have no way of getting the money from it. If you have a $25 gift card to ITunes that has been sitting in your drawer for 4 years, that $25 is still trapped in there. You cannot make use of that $25 unless you use that gift card for ITunes. If you never use the card, the $25 is practically given back to Apple for free! 

You or whoever gave you the card paid $25 to Apple. Yet, in the end, if you don’t use your card, you never really had the $25 and instead Apple gets paid. That 3 billion dollars of unused gift cards goes straight to the companies that offer the gift cards and not the holders of the card. It’s your gift card that has your money on it.  Shouldn’t that money still be in your pocket instead of the stores your gift card is for? 

Before, you would have been out of luck. If you had a gift card you weren’t going to use, that was too bad. The money was lost unless you redeemed the card and used that money. Today, there are many companies that allow you to free that money trapped in your gift card. You can trade in your unused and unwanted gift cards and get cash that goes straight into your wallet. Let’s take a look at some of your gift card exchange options so you can start getting rid of those unwanted gift cards!

Cardpool 

Cardpool is an online gift card exchange platform that allows you to both sell your unwanted gift cards as well as buy gift cards at a discounted price. You can sell your gift cards, both physical and digital, to get cash. Like every other card exchange, you don’t get 100% of your card’s value back to you. However, getting back most of your money on your unused card is better than getting nothing! Cardpool allows you to trade in your cards and get up to 88% of your cash back. 

While you probably aren’t going to be able to trade in a gift card for a local restaurant, you will be able to trade in gift cards for a majority of the big names. Cardpool buys and sells gift cards from 250 different companies, including Disney, Netflix, McDonald’s and Nike. Chances are, you are able to sell your gift card on Cardpool. 

The amount you can sell your card for or buy a discounted card for depends on the demand of the card.A Target gift card or Walmart gift card can be bought for much more, while cards of less popular places do not sell for as much, but are highly discounted if you want to buy one of their cards. 

To sell your card, just go online and enter the barcode. If successfully sold, you will have the option to get your money in the mail via a check or in the form of an Amazon e-gift card. You will actually get paid slightly more if you chose the Amazon card, but the check still gives you a good amount of your card’s value. 

Gift Card Granny

Gift Card Granny not only has one of the best names for a company, it is arguably the biggest unwanted gift card trader. Gift Card Granny has nearly 14 million yearly visitors and claims to have saved $150 million for its customers. While online gift card traders can be slightly sketchy and untrustworthy, Gift Card Granny has a long reputation of being a safe and effective place to trade in your unused gift cards. Gift Card Granny also offers an app so you can trade in egift cards on the go!

Like Cardpool, there are hundreds of different retailers and restaurants you can sell your unwanted cards from. Gift Card Granny is always doing market research on spending trends of people so that they can always offer the best and most popular cards for their customers. If the company of your gift card does not show up on the website, chances are that Gift Card Granny may add it sooner or later. 

Gift Card Granny offers slightly more options than other gift card traders. For example, you can buy and sell cards in bulk. You can also make your own personalized Visa and Mastercard cards that you can use or give to your friends. Gift Card Granny also partners with companies like “Gift Ya” to allow you to text your friends and families gift cards so they can redeem them right on their phone. 

Our favorite part of Gift Card Granny is that they are doing their part to help small, local businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. As of September, about 60% of all businesses in America that had to partially close because of the pandemic are now permanently closed and are not coming back. Unlike big businesses and corporations, local small businesses do not have millions of dollars to help them get through a rough period. The majority of small businesses do not have the means to operate more than two weeks without any income. Gift Card Granny is doing their part to help this buy offering a greater variety of gift cards to your local businesses. This way, you can buy and sell gift cards from your favorite local spots so you can help keep them in businesses through these difficult times. Bonus points for you Gift Card Granny!

Raise

Raise is a different type of popular gift card exchange service. Unlike Cardpool and Gift Card Granny, Raise does not exactly buy your gift cards from you at a certain rate. Instead, Raise acts like a marketplace where you can sell your gift cards and put your own prices on it. After the sale of your card Raise takes a 15% cut. This marketplace aspect can be an advantage because some of the other gift card exchanges may not be giving you the best deal for your card. Instead, you can pick your own price and hope someone buys it. However, with Raise being a marketplace there is no guarantee that your card will be sold like there is with Gift Card Granny and Cardpool. 

According to Raise’s CEO, Raise has upwards of 3 million customers that use Raise, so there is always enough traffic and enough people willing to buy your gift card if you give a fair price. 

Think of Raise like Facebook Marketplace. You can post your gift card and someone can see exactly what your gift card is and how much you are offering for it and they can make a bid for it to buy it. Facebook Marketplace can be slightly untrustworthy sometimes, considering some people put fake items up for sale to deceive you. Selling gift cards on Facebook Marketplace is notoriously sketchy, as it is extremely easy for the seller to just sell you a fake gift card or a gift card that has already been used. Raise is much more secure and you need to verify your gift card before you actually sell it, so there is not the deceit and fraud that comes with Facebook Marketplace or other less reputable gift card exchanges. 

Unlike Cardpool and Gift Card Granny, Raise offers thousands of more gift cards on their site. Because it is a marketplace, you are much more likely to be able to buy and sell your local gift cards than on the other sites. 

Like the other sites though, the more popular gift cards like retailer Target and Walmart sell much better than more unknown local brands. With Target and Walmart for example, you could reasonably expect to be able to sell a $100 gift card for anywhere around $90 or more. However, with a local gift card you may have to settle with selling your $100 card for somewhere around $70. Not sure what price to sell your card at? No worries. Raise gives you a recommendation on what price to sell your card at so you can get the best deal and the most cash for your gift card.

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Beware of Fraud 

Trading and trying to sell gift cards online can be fairly untrustworthy. Like mentioned earlier, there are plenty of scammers online that are looking to steal your gift cards from you or simply sell you a gift card that has absolutely no value. They may seem like they are offering you a better price than the websites we mentioned above, but this is to lure you in and you should stay away from them. In general, don’t stray away from these trustworthy websites.

While Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace can be great places to find used items for great deals, they are not great places to buy and sell unwanted gift cards. Even if there are people that are selling and buying gift cards with integrity, the odds you get scammed are too high to justify using these places to sell your unused gift cards. Make sure you are avoiding these websites and so you can avoid being scammed and losing all your money on your gift cards. Be careful!

Tips for Selling your gift card’s balance

Selling the gift cards' remaining balance may seem straightforward, but there are certain tricks you can do to make sure you get the most cash out of your gift cards. 

First off, compare the prices between the three card exchanges we talked about earlier. It may take a little more effort, but it can end up getting you more money for your gift cards. 

Likewise, try selling your more ”popular cards.” The “popular” cards include names that people are more likely to shop and buy from. Such names include, Target, Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Netflix and many many more. If you have one of these cards, you will be able to sell it at a much higher price on these websites. Again, shop around the three websites to see which company will give you the most cash for your popular card.

Finally, try to use your card if you can. I know we just spent this entire article talking about how to sell your gift cards, but you will get the most value for your gift card if you use every cent of it. Selling cards online causes you to lose some money, so you can make the most of your gift card by using it. However, if you know you aren’t going to use the card or likely won’t use the full amount, go ahead and sell it!

Michael Collins

Michael has a passion for writing and has since brought that passion to Possible. He enjoys reading everything there is to know about film, sports, and finance. His studies in college allow him to be on the forefront of business knowledge so he can better inform his readers.

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