Gift cards are a ubiquitous staple of the holiday season. Whether you’re looking to show some appreciation to someone you don’t know very well (like your newspaper delivery person or your gardener), or have someone on your list that’s hard to buy for, a gift card can be the perfect present for giver and receiver.
However, sometimes you get a gift card that you can’t or don’t use. What can you do with it? This dilemma has led to the creation of a gift card resale market where you can snap up gift cards at a discount. Saving money while giving more value – now that’s a gift.
My favorite gift card resale sites are Cardpool and eCard Exchange. They buy gift cards from people who want to cash out a card they don’t need. Once received, they verify the authenticity and balance on the card, and then resell them at a discount. While the savings isn’t as substantial as you may find on eBay, the balance is guaranteed to be valid at the merchant (Cardpool covers up to 100 days from the date of purchase, eCardExchange covers for up to 30 days). There’s a large selection of retailers and restaurants available, including Target, Walmart, Petsmart, Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden, just to name a few. Shipping is free, so the price you see is what you pay.
our nerds can help find you ways to save on gift cards!
Most merchants will allow you to use one gift card to purchase others. For example, you could buy one $90 TJ Maxx card for $80 and trade it in at the store for three $30 cards which you can give as gifts. Or use the card to pay for the gifts you’re buying and score yourself an instant discount on your purchases.
Discounts are proportional to the popularity of the retailer. As such, Target cards carry an average 3% discount while you can score 30% off PacSun gift cards.
Gift Card Granny is a gift card resale consolidation site. They collect lists of gift cards available across a multitude of other sites, including eBay, Coupon Trade, Cardpool, eCardExchange, ABC Gift Cards and more. Since each site’s stock is limited by what they’ve acquired from individual sellers or partner retailers, this site is a great way to find and compare available deals all with one search. It has, by far, the largest selection of gift cards available across the net. You aren’t buying direct from Gift Card Granny, however, so pay close attention to the terms and conditions of the site you’re re-directed to in order to ensure the site guarantees the balance on the card before you buy.
Speaking of guaranteed balances, many people choose to sell their unused gift cards through eBay in order to obtain the most money on the sale. Resale sites purchase cards at a greater discount than they sell them for. This means that the person who sold the $90 TJ Maxx gift card in the example above probably netted about $65 dollars for it. Those looking to try their luck at getting more for their card often turn to auction or direct to buyer sites. While cutting out the “middle man” consolidation site can score you a better deal, you lose the guarantee that the card you buy will have the promised value on it when you show up at the store.
Finally, if you maintain a membership at Costco or Sams Club, check out their gift card offerings. Unlike grocery stores that sell a variety of retailer cards at face value, wholesale outlets typically offer cards at a discount. Purchase $100 worth of gift cards for $80 and you’ve scored an instant 20% discount whether you use the cards yourself in lieu of cash of give them as gifts.
About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.