“Thank you! I just love this store.” Have you ever spoken those words after receiving a gift card as a gift, when you only go there once in a blue moon? If you have a drawer full of gift cards that you never use, you can sell your gift cards for cash and finally use that money to buy something you need.
Gift cards are a popular gift idea because they are extremely convenient; especially for the person that’s impossible to buy for. Whether or not you happen to be that person, you’re here because you probably have at least one gift card that you don’t know how to use.
Why Sell Gift Cards
Approximately $1 billion in gift cards go unused every year! Unused gift cards are essentially free money for retailers–a “free lunch” if you will. That’s why selling your gift cards to somebody who wants them is a win-win for you and the buyer.
Besides putting your unused gift cards to use, here’s why you should consider selling your gift cards:
- Make money quickly to pay your bills
- Receive cash–the universal payment method!
- The restaurant or store might go out of business before you finally decide to use your card
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but you might have a small financial goldmine in your gift card drawer.
Tips on Selling Gift Cards
Before we show you the best places to sell your gift cards, there are a couple things to keep in mind:
- Partially used gift cards (i.e. $23.57 card balance) can be sold too
- When possible, sell digitally to avoid shipping costs
- Trading gift cards–instead of selling– can reduce selling fees
The one downside of selling gift cards is that you rarely “break even” or profit. If you’re trying to sell a $25 gift card, you’re most likely going to get less than $25 in cash. It’s the nature of the business, but I’d rather take the money by selling at a discount than have nothing at all.
Nowadays, most retail and restaurant gift cards don’t expire and if you don’t like the selling price, you can wait and sell for a higher price.
Some Gift Cards Sell at a Premium
While you can sell just about any gift card, some sell for more than others. You are more likely to maximize your profits by selling Amazon gift cards, Starbucks, iTunes, or Walmart as these brands consistently sell close to their current card value with a discount of 5% or less. Less popular gift cards–Old Time Pottery and The Spaghetti Warehouse–sell for a 26%+ discount.
If you have a gift card that’s selling at a steep discount, you might decide it’s better to keep the card and use it instead of selling it.
The Best Places To Sell Gift Cards Online
Selling online will be the easiest option for most gift cards. You should expect to pay a commission up to 15% of the selling price. If you sell a gift card that needs to be mailed to the buyer, you will have to pay an additional shipping fee too. Most gift cards are digitally delivered, to keep the selling fees as small as possible.
When selling your gift cards online, you will have one of three selling options:
- Digital gift card
- Physical gift card
If you’re given a listing option, choose the digital or voucher version first to make more money. Even if you have a physical gift card, most of these marketplaces will convert it to a digital card or voucher that can be printed or redeemed online by the buyer.
1. Gift Card Granny
Gift Card Granny might be the easiest place to sell because you can compare the selling prices on several marketplaces with a single query. For high demand gift cards, you can earn up to 92% back of the card value.
When selling on Gift Card Granny, you have these three selling options:
- Sell It Now
- Name Your Price
- Trade In
If you want the cash immediately, go with the Sell It Now option to be paid by PayPal, direct deposit, or check within three business days. But if you have more time to sell, you can earn more with the other two options –Name Your Price and Trade In– to get paid in cash or swap your card for a more desirable brand.
In 2017, the most popular brands on Gift Card Granny were:
- Best Buy
If you have one of these gift cards to sell, it should be able to sell near instantly.
If you need cash immediately, CardPool also lets you sell your gift cards in-person at select businesses and self-serve kiosks. For example, I can exchange my unwanted gift cards for a Target gift card at the Electronics department in Target or for cash at the self-service kiosk at a nearby Kroger grocery store.
CardPool also lets you sell your gift cards online for up to 92% of the card value or you can name your own selling price.
You can either sell or trade at CardCash. By trading, you can get up to 14% more for your card. CardCash makes instant offers for cards you want to sell and you can earn up to 92% of the card value for in-demand gift card brands.
Payment is sent via PayPal, direct deposit, or check with 48 hours when you choose to sell instead of trade.
When you only have physical gift cards to sell, you can also look at CardKangaroo; they don’t accept digital gift cards. If you like CardKangaroo’s offer, you mail your gift cards for free and they typically send your payment within 48 hours. CardKangaroo also lets you trade your unwanted gift cards too.
5. Giftcard Zen
Giftcard Zen also accepts your unwanted gift cards. You can expect payment via PayPal 10-14 days after Giftcard Zen receives your card information. Gift cards are accepted for most online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
Another option is to sell your gift cards on eBay as you can potentially sell your card for a profit, but keep in mind that this can be more hassle. By selling through a gift card marketplace, they verify the balance and offer seller protection in case the buyer has troubles redeeming the card.
To avoid fraudulent buyers on eBay, follow these tips:
- Never listed the card number or pin in the listing
- Buy your postage through PayPal so eBay can track the shipping details
- Don’t email the card number and pin even after the buyer pays for it, make them wait to receive the actual card
Most buyers are honest, but a few bad actors give everybody a bad name. A common eBay scam is for the buyer to pay for the card and receive the card number and pin in an email. The buyer quickly makes a purchase with the card and then files a complaint with eBay stating the seller sold a bad card. Sellers that don’t follow the three safety tips above end up refunding the buyer and lose the gift card in the process.
Raise is the largest online gift card marketplace. I’ve sold a few gift cards on Raise and they usually sell within 24 hours of listing. When a card sells, you can be paid by PayPal, direct deposit, or check. I request payment as soon as the card sells and receive my PayPal payment within 48 hours.
Another reason to consider Raise is that you can name your own selling price. If you have a $25 gift card to sell and the competitors are selling for $23, you can list yours for $22.95 to become the top listing and make a quick sale!
There are no listing fees on Raise, but you pay 12% of the selling price when you make a sale. If you sell a card that must be mailed, you will pay an additional $1 or 1% fee, whichever is greater.
Sell Gift Cards Locally
Another option is to sell gift cards locally if you need cash today or can potentially avoid the selling fees of other online marketplaces.
You can also sell gift cards locally by listing your card on Craigslist or another sell local app like Letgo. This option might work best for gift cards to local businesses that cannot be listed on the other gift card balances. When selling locally, it’s best to meet at the local business to verify the balance before the buyer pays for the card.
My wife and I bought a gift card to a local hardware store at a discount using Craigslist. I met the seller at the store and paid him for the card after the cashier verified the balance.
Select Coinstar machines will also buy your gift cards in addition to your loose change. The next time you buy groceries, take your gift cards along and maybe you can exchange them for store credit! However, I recommend looking for a CardPool kiosk first as they are more prevalent.
10. Have a Garage Sale
If listing your gift cards online or going to an in-person kiosk is too much work, you can also sell them from home with a garage sale. You may or may not get a good deal for the cards because asking price depends on how much interest the prospective shoppers ask. Do encourage the potential buyer to dial the toll-free 1-800 number on the back to verify the balance before buying.
Alternative to Selling Your Gift Cards
These alternatives can be better than selling your gift cards for cash. You might not make an immediate cash profit, but you can still put your gift cards to good use.
11. Donate to Charity
Maybe you want to help others out with your gift card. If you know someone with a local need, you can always donate your card to help them through tough times. Or, you can donate your tax-deductible card balance to the charity of your choice online at Charity Gift Cards.
12. Regift to a Friend or Family Member
If you have a card that your friend or family member can benefit from more than you, regifting your gift card is a good idea too; just make sure you don’t tell the person who gave you the card originally. And, you’ll save a few dollars on your monthly spending too!
13. Invest in a Side Hustle
Depending on where your gift card is for, you might be able to use the card to invest in a side hustle. For example, you can buy a client lunch or maybe you can buy products or tools you use for your side hustle. Sure, you can find them cheaper at a different store, but using the gift card reduces your out-of-pocket expenses.
If you relish the idea of flipping products, you can also buy products at a discount with your gift card and sell them online for a profit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Maybe you’re still unsure of selling unwanted gift cards. These answers can help give you more clarity.
Is Selling Gift Cards Online Safe?
Yes. Especially, if you use an online gift card marketplace like Gift Card Granny or Raise that verify the gift card balance and offer seller and buyer protection. After a sale is made, you might have to keep the physical card for up to 180 days just in case the buyer has trouble redeeming the card balance.
What Gift Cards Can I Sell Online?
You can sell gift cards for almost every national retailer or restaurant online. Some sites won’t let you sell specific brands unless you’re a bulk seller.
How Long Does It Take to List a Gift Card?
Only a few minutes. These are the steps you usually have to follow:
- Select the gift card brand
- Enter the current card balance
- Submit the card number and pin
- Choose your selling price
After entering your information, the marketplace will immediately begin verifying your card information. Although most marketplaces say it can take up to 24 hours, from personal experience, it only takes a few minutes to verify the card balance and make the listing go live.
Even when I name my own price, I usually sell the card within 24-48 hours of the listing time when I price the card competitively.
Do I Have To Mail My Physical Gift Cards to the Buyer?
Usually not. Most online marketplaces will convert your physical gift card to a digital version that the buyer can either redeem online or print. Digital transfers instantly transfer the card balance to the buyer and keep selling fees to a minimum?
Is it Better to Sell or Trade Gift Cards?
It depends on what gift card you have and which one you want to trade. Trading can be more lucrative because you simply swap balances and the marketplace collects a smaller fee. But, you might need a high demand gift card like Amazon, iTunes, or Starbucks to trade. If no other traders want your card, you can earn more selling.
You might also choose to sell if you want to sell your gift card quickly. It can potentially take longer to make a trade that benefits you and the other person.
Selling your unwanted gift cards can be an excellent way to make a little extra cash with minimal effort. Whether you sell online or in-person, selling gift cards for cash is one of the easiest ways to improve your finances and you also find a good home for your old gift cards.
Have you ever sold gift cards for cash before? If so, what was your experience?