5 Ways to Sell Unwanted Gift Cards

I have a love/hate relationship with gift cards. On the one hand, they are easy gifts to buy for friends and family. On the other hand, I hate using them. You're stuck with whatever store the gift card is from, and I have dozens of cards all with a balance of less than a buck or two that I'll never use. Wouldn't it be great if you could easily sell unwanted gift cards online?

It turns out that you can. There are several websites that have been created to take those unwanted gift cards off our hands in exchange for cash. You no longer have to let your unwanted gift cards expire, and you don't have to re-gift them. Instead, you can sell your gift card and put some cold hard cash in your pocket.

[See 50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2012.]

Here are five of the top sites to sell your unwanted cards.

1. Plastic Jungle (www.plasticjungle.com) allows you to sell your gift cards for cash, Amazon credit, or a PayPal payment. The main requirement for selling a gift card is there has to be a minimum balance of $25 on the card. Generally, Plastic Jungle pays up to 92 percent of the value of the card, but occasionally it pays more for certain high-demand cards. The amount Plastic Jungle will pay for a gift card is determined primarily by the brand of the gift card. But you will always know how much you will receive before you agree to sell.

Here's an example of what some of the current payouts are:

Kohl's: 81.9 percent

Best Buy : 92.4 percent

Dick's Sporting Goods: 84 percent

Target: 96.6 percent

Plastic Jungle accepts gift cards both electronically and through the mail. There is always free shipping and you can check the status of your payment on its website.

[See 6 Shopping Habits to Help You Save More in 2012.]

2. Cardpool. You can exchange your unwanted gift cards at Cardpool (www.cardpool.com) and you will be paid in cash or in Amazon.com gift cards. The site only accepts cards with a value of $25 or more. At the Cardpool site, you can select the merchant and enter the amount of the card, and Cardpool will give you an offer to sell it.

If you accept the offer, you can either mail your card to Cardpool or enter the code online. If you choose to mail your card, you'll be provided with a free shipping label and you'll get a higher payout. Once Cardpool receives your card, it will issue you a check within one business day. If you choose to complete the transaction online, the site requires you to have a credit card on file. Your card won't be charged unless Cardpool determines that some sort of fraud has taken place. Here are a few of the current payouts:

Kohl's: 78 percent

Best Buy: 88 percent

Dick's Sporting Goods: 80 percent

Target : 92 percent

The best benefit to using Cardpool is that you can complete the transaction online and aren't responsible for shipping your gift card.

[See A Survival Guide to the Deluge of Daily Deals.]

3. Gift Card Rescue (www.giftcardrescue.com) will buy gift cards from more than 300 merchants. It has a three-step process which gives you an offer, requires you to fill out an online form, and asks you to mail in your gift card. Once your gift card is verified, the site will send you a check within two business days. If you don't want cash, you can also choose to receive an Amazon.com gift card.

There is an advantage to choosing an Amazon gift card over cash. Gift Card Rescue will increase the payout offer amount by 5 percent and you will receive the Amazon gift card claim code by email within two business days. When you mail in your gift card, you are responsible for the shipping cost. Here are some of the current payout offers:

Kohl's: 68 percent

Best Buy: 80 percent

Dick's Sporting Goods: 70 percent

Target: 85 percent

Gift Card Rescue is a good deal if you want your payout to come in the form of Amazon.com credit because of the extra 5 percent.

[See How to Improve Your Credit Score in 2012.]

4. ABC Gift Cards.(www.abcgiftcards.com) will buy back your unwanted gift cards and even guarantee to beat the price of any other major online gift-card exchange site. To get started, you have to submit an online form with all the gift card information so it can be validated. Once the information is verified, you'll get a call within 24 to 48 hours to complete the sale. To complete the transaction, you have to speak with a representative; it can't be completed online.

However, a unique benefit is the site's buyback guarantee. If you find an advertised buyback price better than the one published by ABC Gift Cards, it will beat the price by 1 to 3 percent. Here's a look at how its payouts stack up against the others:

Kohl's: 72 percent

Best Buy: 85 percent

Dick's Sporting Goods: 78 percent

Target: 91 percent

[See 10 Ways to Start Earning Extra Money Now.]

One additional perk is if you choose to be paid via PayPal, the site will reimburse you for your PayPal processing fees. Otherwise, you will receive a check in the mail.

5. Gift Card Castle (www.giftcardcastle.com) is another gift-card exchange service that will pay you for your unwanted gift cards. Unlike the other companies, this one only requires a minimum of $20 to be on the gift card. However, it requires a $25 order minimum, so if you're selling a $20 card, you will have to include at least one other gift card that also meets the $20 card minimum.

You can either receive your payment in the form of a check or have it deposited into your PayPal account. All first-time users are required to use PayPal for the transaction and you are always responsible for the fees. The site does offer a prepaid shipping label for you to use when mailing your gift card so you won't be responsible for shipping charges. Here are its current payouts for popular cards:

Kohl's: 65 percent

Best Buy: 85 percent

Dick's Sporting Goods: 76 percent

Target: 65 percent

If you have less than a $25 gift card, then Gift Card Castle is an option.

Finally, each of the above sites sell gift cards at a discount, too. These discounted cards can be a great option as either a gift or for your own shopping.

DR is the founder of the popular personal finance blog the Dough Roller and the credit card review site Credit Card Offers IQ.



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