One of the easiest money-saving hacks is to get discounted gift cards.
By buying another person’s unwanted gift cards online, you can get them for less than face value. You can use gift cards to save money on every online purchase and even in-person retail and restaurant purchases!
It’s no secret, I’m a huge fan of discounted gift cards. My wife and I scoured the web for gift cards when we were building our house and needed to go to Lowe’s for a supply run. I also use discounted gift cards for online purchases to save some extra cash.
In most cases, you will save between 5% and 10% on discounted gift cards. But depending on which store or restaurant you need a gift card for, you can save up to 30%. That means you’d only pay $70 for a $100 gift card.
Table of Contents
- Places to Get Discounted Gift Cards
- Other Unique Ways to Get Free or Discounted Gift Cards
- Tips for Buying Discounted Gift Cards
Places to Get Discounted Gift Cards
There are many places you can get discounted gift cards online, but not every marketplace is legit. Speaking from personal experience, only buy gift cards from places with buyer protection.
Unfortunately, credit card thieves buy gift cards and sell them to make a quick buck. Once the credit card is reported as stolen, the gift card balance is canceled. Without the buyer protection, you can’t get a refund.
All of the recommendations below offer buyer protection. In most cases, you’re protected for up to one year from the purchase date. I’ve had three voided gift cards and never had an issue getting a refund.
Get Extra Cashback on Every Gift Card Purchase
In addition to buying gift cards at a discount, you can save even more money by using cashback sites. Before I browse the gift card marketplaces, I look for the best cashback offer.
Read our Ebates review to learn how to get up to 40% back on every online purchase!
1. Gift Card Granny
Gift Card Granny is a “gift card search engine” that helps you quickly find a great offer. Type in the retailer you’re looking for and Gift Card Granny retrieves the prices from the various online marketplaces. To make sure you never miss out on a gift card opportunity, you can install the Otto browser extension to find gift cards for every online purchase.
Besides getting discount gift cards, Gift Card Granny also has a loyalty program. You earn points for buying gift cards and opening sponsored emails. These points let you get free gift cards in the future!
One of the largest gift card marketplaces is Raise. You will constantly find flash sales that help you save extra money too. I usually find myself using Raise more than the other marketplaces because of the selection and discounts.
There’s a quick turnaround in the Raise gift card inventory, which means prices and discounts are constantly changing. Most gift cards sell within 24 hours, so it pays to check back daily if you’re looking to buy several gift cards at once.
Some of the discounted gift cards you can enjoy include:
- Cold Stone Creamery
All purchases are covered by a one-year guarantee. If your card is inactive, you can receive a full refund. The Raise customer support team has been very supportive when I have a question, too.
You can make extra money by selling your unwanted gift cards on Raise too!
Cardpool is another marketplace with competitive discounts and a one-year purchase guarantee. You will find many restaurant and retail brands here, too. Since Cardpool also buys physical gift cards, you’ll find a large selection of them as well.
There can be hundreds of available cards for one brand, but Cardpool’s Swift Buy search tool helps you quickly find the best offer for your budget.
If your spending limit is $75, Cardpool shows the most relevant search results first. With other marketplaces, you have to scroll through the listings by face value or discount amount. If your desired amount isn’t at the top of the list, you can be scrolling for a while.
Swagbucks offers multiple opportunities to get free or discounted gift cards. Unlike the other gift card marketplaces, you don’t buy discounted gift cards from individual sellers.
You have these two options for getting discounted gift cards:
- Buying gift cards from MyGiftCardsPlus.com
- Redeeming rewards points for gift cards
When you purchase a gift card on MyGiftCardsPlus, you pay face value for the gift card (i.e. pay $25 for a $25 gift card), but you get cashback as Swagbucks rewards points. You can redeem these points for future gift card rewards. MyGiftCardsPlus also offers bonus cashback days and “Swag Ups” that let you earn extra points.
The second redemption option is redeeming your SB rewards points for gift cards on Swagbucks.com. You can begin redeeming your points for gift cards when your balance reaches $3.
In addition to earning points from gift card purchases, Swagbucks also pays you for these activities:
- Filling out online surveys
- Watching videos
- Conducting web searches
- Playing games
- Printing grocery coupons
For local restaurants, Restaurant.com offers excellent gift card options. My wife and I have purchased a certificate for date night from Restaurant.com. Not only did we enjoy a meal alone, but we also got to try a new restaurant, too.
You can usually get gift cards for at least 50% off. For instance, $25 gift card usually costs $10 or a $50 gift card costs $20. With these discounts, you can easily get one of your meals for free.
Keep in mind that most of the restaurants have a minimum spending requirement of $30 to redeem the gift card. So, this can be a perfect option if you bring the family or meet up with friends and split the bill.
My wife and I have also used eBay periodically to get discounted gift cards. Personally, I prefer some of the other marketplaces mentioned above because they tend to offer better discounts. And, they have stronger buyer protection policies.
But you might decide to go with eBay to buy gift cards for online stores that don’t list on any of the marketplaces. One example might be online gaming websites.
When looking for discount gift cards on eBay, pay attention to these three factors:
- Shipping costs
- Seller feedback rating
- Selling price compared to other marketplaces
The shipping costs and seller feedback rating are the two most important factors. I only buy items like these from sellers with a positive track record because it means I’m less likely to get scammed. Since shipping costs aren’t included in the “Buy It Now” price, look for this expense before you complete the purchase.
Personally, we have more success finding discount coupons on eBay than discounted gift cards. When we built our house, my wife purchased several of Lowe’s coupons from eBay (the sellers received from the postal service when they changed their address). For us, these coupons are a better deal than the discounted gift card.
Of course, you can also pay for your purchase with a discounted gift card to save even more.
I recommend Craigslist for buying gift cards to local businesses that can verify the balance before you buy it from the seller.
Once again, when we built our house and it was time to buy flooring, we looked on Craigslist for a deal. We ended up finding somebody selling a gift card at a discount to one of our local flooring stores. So, we met at the store and the cashier verified the balance before I paid for the certificate.
If you can buy used, the savings from using sites like Craigslist can be greater than the savings from buying from gift card sites. It’s something to keep in mind when you need to make every dollar count.
8. Reload Your Amazon Gift Card Balance
When you reload your Amazon gift card balance, you can get a $5 bonus. As you may notice, it’s very difficult to find discounted Amazon gift cards. In most cases, you can only get them through an online side hustle. Whether you buy a gift card from Amazon or at the grocery store, you can qualify for this redemption bonus.
Other Unique Ways to Get Free or Discounted Gift Cards
You don’t always have to pay cash for discounted gift cards. In some cases, you can exchange your time for gift cards. If you’re looking to monetize a hobby or your shopping activities, your effort can be more rewarding.
9. Request Gift Cards Instead of Cash on TopCashback
One reason why I use the TopCashback site is for their 5% payout bonus when you request gift card payment. Your cash balance is worth 5% more with gift card payments.
You won’t have a problem finding a store with a payout bonus because TopCashback partners with some of the largest retailers in the country. Some of the gift card redemption options include:
Of course, you will also earn bonus cash on every online purchase you make through TopCashback. They offer cashback on most of the gift card marketplaces mentioned above.
10. Buy Groceries with Ibotta
With the Ibotta grocery app, you get cashback on your grocery purchases and in-app purchases. Once your balance reaches $20 you can request PayPal or gift card payment. And, you get a $10 signup bonus after redeeming your first offer.
Ibotta also runs monthly promotions for bonus cash. If you’re going to buy a particular product or shop at a certain online store, you automatically receive the bonus cash. I’ve used these promotions to shop online and earn the bonus instead of going through another cashback app.
11. Complete Online Surveys with Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is a leading survey site and you can get gift cards to your favorite retailers or restaurants. Most surveys take 15 minutes or less and you can earn more by participating in focus groups. Instead of ranting on social media for free, complete surveys and receive your two cents for your opinion.
You will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of survey topics regarding the brands you use and your daily routine. And, you can also take multiple surveys every day!
Check out our review of Survey Junkie here.
12. Request $1 Gift Cards on InstaGC
When time is precious, you might prefer smaller yet more frequent gift card payments. InstaGC offers $1 gift cards to most retailers when you complete these activities:
- Answer surveys
- Watch videos
- Shop online
- Search the web
Hustling online with InstaGC can be an efficient way to get gift cards that don’t sell for a discount on the online marketplaces.
For example, Amazon and iTunes gift cards rarely sell at a discount and might not be worth the purchase. But, if you can earn a $1 gift card for doing your normal internet activity, the reward is worth the effort.
Tips for Buying Discounted Gift Cards
I’ve been buying discounted gift cards for the past three years and have learned a few tips along the way that can help you.
Physical or Digital Gift Cards?
Most sites offer three different gift card delivery methods:
- Digital gift cards (digital-only gift cards; no paper copy)
- Printable voucher (Can redeem gift code online or print gift card for in-store redemption)
- Physical gift card (Plastic credit card-style card delivered by mail)
The most common delivery method is digital gift cards because it’s fast and cheap to deliver. I usually receive my digital gift cards within five minutes of purchase.
Physical gift cards are probably the second-most common delivery method. Although you don’t pay shipping fees, the seller has to pay a higher commission fee. It also takes three to 14 days for the gift card to be delivered, so you need to plan ahead if you plan on using it soon.
Read the Gift Card Redemption Policies
Every retailer has a different policy for redeeming gift cards online or in-store. When you buy through a marketplace like Raise, you can quickly see the store’s acceptance policies.
Some stores like Walmart and Target accept your gift card in-person or online. You will either receive a printable voucher or a physical gift card.
Digital gift cards that cannot be printed can only be redeemed online. Printable vouchers can be redeemed online or in-person. Physical gift cards can usually be always be redeemed in-person and sometimes online.
I’ve personally encountered this issue with AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts. With AutoZone, the online gift cards can only be redeemed for online purchases shipped to your house (not in-store pickup). AutoZone’s physical gift cards can only be redeemed in-store and not online.
Regarding Advance Auto Parts, their website doesn’t currently accept gift card redemptions for any online order. Your only option is to redeem them in-person by giving them to a human cashier.
Now, I always read the redemption terms and conditions before I purchase. If I’m getting ready to make an online purchase, I wait until I’m on the checkout screen to see if the gift card code can be accepted.
Make Sure You Get Buyer Protection Benefits
I have purchased a couple inactive gift cards during my discounted gift card career. This issue has only been with physical gift cards that had a valid balance when I purchased them, but the card was deactivated shortly after.
I didn’t find out until I was ready to make a purchase and the payment was rejected. While I had to pay for the entire purchase with cash, I simply had to notify the marketplace about the issue and I was refunded the entire gift card purchase amount.
Most gift card marketplaces offer buyer protection lasting 45 days to one year from the purchase date. If you have any of the following issues during this time, you will get a full refund:
- Inactive cards
- Inaccurate balance
- Received a different brand than ordered
- Don’t receive the physical card within 30 days of purchase
You won’t get a refund for these issues:
- Buyer’s remorse
- The retailer doesn’t accept redemptions for your ordering method
- The retailer goes out of business
While I’ve received refunds for my deactivated gift cards, my only two options for the digital AutoZone gift card I ordered were to have an item shipped to my house or to sell the gift card. I learned to read the redemption terms and conditions after this experience.
Making the effort to get discounted gift cards is a simple way to quickly save money at the cash register. You can easily buy a gift card before you complete your online purchase, or you can wait a few days to get one in the mail.
If you’re ready to save up to 30% at stores you’re going to shop at regardless, discounted gift cards make sense.