Ways To Sell Unwanted Gift Cards: A Comprehensive Guide.
Gift cards can be a little tougher to sell than other types of merchandise. There's some inherent risk on both ends of the sale that has to be accounted for, and some popular e-commerce platforms don't allow them to be sold at all. However if you have received a gift card (maybe for Christmas or a birthday or some other event) that you do not want, it is still possible to sell them for cash. Or, if you would rather just have money than a GF, you can also take the steps indicated below.
The reseller policies can be challenging. Amazon requires sellers to apply for approval to list gift cards, and that's usually only given to retailers listing their own cards. Jet entirely prohibits third-party sellers from listing gift cards, as does Mercari.
Each years millions of gift cards go unused or are resold. Do not be one of the people that lets the card go to waste! Or, sell your gift card to get some cash that you can reallocate for any expense you may want…whether food, bills, or just getting cash to buy some other goods.
Fortunately, there are still some decent options for selling both physical gift cards and digital codes. You won't get the full value in most cases, and the more secure and convenient the sales method the less you can expect to get back. You can usually get maybe 60 to as much as 90% of the value of any given card you might be trying to sell, however. Here's how to do it.
1) Gift Card Marketplaces
The easiest and most direct method of selling a gift card is to go to one of the marketplaces that specialize in buying them, and most of them are online websites. You usually sell them directly to the company that runs the marketplace rather than trying to connect with individual buyers.
Most online marketplaces simply ask you to enter the store name and amount of gift card, and they'll make you an instant offer. In rare cases, you can get 95% of the gift card value; this seems to happen most often for Amazon gift cards. Other cards can go as low as 60% of the remaining balance, but 80% to 90% is a reasonable expectation for cards from most big-name national chains.
Keep in mind that some of these marketplaces won't accept a gift card code, they will only take a physical plastic card that you mail to them. Sites that do accept codes will usually require you to send them a picture of your photo ID and keep a credit card number on file to prevent fraud.
Some of the biggest names in the gift card marketplace space are Raise, GC Spread, CardKangaroo, CardCash, Carpool and GiftCards.com. You can use Gift Card Granny to quickly compare offers from a number of these sites (though not all of them), along with a reputation rating based on previous user experiences with them. Gift Card Granny also allows you to potentially swap a gift code with another interested party, which will get you a much larger return (often 95% or higher). The site also has an interesting rewards program that gives you points for selling and swapping cards, reading their periodic newsletters and referring other people; points can eventually be cashed in for gift cards listed on the site.
2) eBay for selling gift-cards
It is possible to sell gift cards on eBay, at least if you have the physical card. You can usually get some money transferred into your paypal account within hours as well. There are a number of unwanted Christmas gift cards that go on sale each holiday season, so you can even buy one there if you want too. An emailed code or mailing a printout is against their terms of service and could get you in trouble.
eBay is often the most inefficient means of selling a gift card, however. Buyers don't show much interest until the card gets south of 80% of its value, and then you still have to pay listing and final value fees at the very least.
3) Craigslist, LetGo or Facebook Marketplace
If you don't mind meeting someone face-to-face in the local area to sell your gift card, you can put up a listing on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. This will work much better with physical gift cards, as the safest way to verify the balance is to meet the buyer at a store location and have a cashier or kiosk verify the amount.
It's possible to sell a code this way, but it's dicey. You'll probably have to reveal the code to the buyer before they pay to verify the balance on your phone, and the buyer has to trust you not to use the code before they have a chance to.
4) Reddit's Gift Card Exchange (GCX) Sub
The GCX subreddit is the site's central location for listing gift card sale and swap offers. The sub has a stickied safe trading guide, which suggests only trading with users who have a long Reddit history. Repeat traders with a good history can get special flair from the sub's mods that indicates their status.
5) Gift Card Sales Kiosks
There are a few options for selling gift cards in person. Cardpool is the biggest name in this space at present, and they are located across the United States (mostly at shopping malls). They buy gift cards for up to 92% of the value, depending on the retailer. This can definitely give you and your family some quick cash for an unwanted GC.
Some of the ubiquitous CoinStar kiosks also have the ability to make offers on gift cards. Look for kiosks with the "Coinstar Exchange" label. However, the card must have at least $20 left on it, and their offers max out at 85%. You'll also need to let the machine scan your driver's license and a credit card, but you'll get cash in hand for your trouble (or a voucher you can use to shop at the store).
6) Small Balance Refunds on your gift card
Some states have laws that require a store to give you a cash refund if a gift card's balance is below a certain amount. For example, in California, you can get cash back from the store for any card that is under $10, and in Massachusetts, it's 10% of the original total value if the card cannot be reloaded. In every other state with these laws, the threshold is no higher than $5, however.
7) Retailer Trade-In Programs
Some major retailers, such as Walmart and Target, are running their own trade-in programs for gift cards from other stores. They often ramp up the programs during the Christmas holiday season. You simply hand over your unwanted gift card, they check the balance, then give you a gift card for their own store in exchange. They generally take a 10% to 15% cut, however.
One Final Tip
If you have a digital code to sell but want to take advantage of the wider range of options and better prices of selling a physical card, see if a store location will do an exchange for you. If not, see if the store offers a reloadable card. For example, at Starbucks, you can load the value of any gift card or code onto another. You could always buy a card in the smallest denomination, load your code onto it, then sell the combined cards if the math makes sense.