There are very few of us that end the holiday season without a stack of gift cards and inevitably we all end up with a few that we can’t use or don’t want.
Maybe your boss gave you a gift card to Starbucks and you aren’t a coffee drinker? Or maybe your Aunt Rita gave you a gift card to Dilllards and the closest one is 50 miles from your house? There is no reason for it go to waste though, because there are a number of ways to turn your unwanted gift card into cash.
Ebay has always been a popular way to sell gift cards, but it’s quite possible the worst way to do it….
First of all, an Ebay buyer isn’t very likely to buy your gift card for more than 80-90% of it’s value. So if you are selling a $100 gift card, you can already count on a loss of $10-$20. On top of that, you are responsible for Ebay insertion fees, an 8.5% final value fee, and a 2.9% fee to receive the money via Paypal. Yuck! Suddenly your $100 gift card is only worth $70!
An alternative is to take advantage of one of the dozens of online gift card retailers that will purchase your gift card for 90% or more if its value and it’s pretty simple to do.
All you need to do is input what gift cards you want to sell on their website and then it will compute an automatic offer that your can either accept or deny. You then mail the gift card to them and within a week or so you will receive your check or Paypal payment. Raise.com has always been one of my favorite places to sell my unwanted gift cards, because you get to set the price. However, with Raise.com you don’t get paid until the gift card sells.
So, I thought it would be fun to do a little experiment to see what the instant payout sites would offer me for my gift cards…
To conduct my experiment I picked 6 of the leading online gift card buyers and asked for quotes on 3 different gift cards. I chose to see what they would offer me for a $25 gift card to Starbucks, a $50 gift card to Banana Republic, and a $100 gift card to Target. Here are the results:
The experiment surprised me a bit, because the winner is clearly GiftCards.com, who beat all of the competitors in the Banana Republic & Target categories. GiftCards.com only nearly lost the Starbucks category to Plastic Jungle, while the others companies were all far behind. CardBin.com and GiftCardo.com came in last in all three categories. Although, we should note that Gift Cardo seems to have the fastest payout time; most sites require that you wait 10-30 days for payment, but Gift Cardo will pay you almost instantly.
If you do decide to sell a gift card this holiday season, remember to shop around and find the best offer. Check with two or three companies before trading in your gift card. Also, look closely at their terms because many of the companies will also pay for your shipping costs.
Good luck Penny Hoarders!
Update 6/3/13 – PlasticJungle.com has shut down their gift card buying operations. All of the other sites are still active though.