Got an Unwanted Gift Card for Christmas? Here’s Where to Sell It

gift cards and presents under a christmas tree
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Few of us end the holiday season without a stack of gift cards. Inevitably, we end up with a few we can’t use or don’t want.

Maybe your boss gave you Starbucks gift card, but you aren’t a coffee drinker?

Or your Aunt Rita gave you a gift card to Dillard’s, but the closest one is 50 miles from your house?

There is no reason for the well-intentioned gift to go to waste. You can always sell those unwanted gift cards for cash.

Tips to Sell Gift Cards for Cash

There are plenty of places to sell your gift cards. Most are online, and each website is a little different. Some will let users bid on your gift cards, while others will purchase your gift card and sell it themselves. Below are things to keep in mind as you find a new home for that unwanted present.

Consider the Other Ways to Get Paid

Depending on the service you choose, you can receive a check in the mail, a Paypal payment or a more useful gift card.

Paypal might be a quick form of payment, but keep in mind those pesky fees if you want to maximize your payout. Checks may take a little longer to mail out, but they’re basically cold, hard cash. And depending on your spending habits, another gift card might be the best choice, as the conversion rate is going to be the highest. 

Each selection has its own perks, so choose whichever best fits your needs.

There is, however, one notable exception that you probably should avoid when it comes to gift cards: eBay.

Don’t Sell Gift Cards on eBay

eBay has always been a popular place for buying and selling things online — but it might be the worst way to sell gift cards.

First of all, an eBay buyer isn’t likely to buy your gift card for more than 80% to 90% of its value. For a $100 gift card, you can count on a loss of between $10 and $20.

On top of that, you may be responsible for eBay’s insertion fees, a final value fee and a performance fee if your eBay seller account isn’t in good shape. Again, if you’re using Paypal, expect an additional 2.9% fee. Yuck!

Suddenly, your $100 gift card is only worth $70.

A better way is to use an online gift card exchange site. They’ll purchase your gift card for 90% or more of its value and resell it for you.

Here are the top sites that put the most money in your pocket.

5 Best Websites to Sell Gift Cards

To get a quote on your gift card, all you need to do is input the brand and balance. On most of these sites, there’s an option to enter the gift card number to sell it and receive payment electronically — no need to mail anything.

Rates will vary depending on the service and the brand, so I thought it would be fun to see which would offer me the best price for my gift cards.

To conduct my experiment, I picked four leading online gift card buyers and asked for quotes on three different gift cards. I wanted to see what they would offer for $25 gift cards from Starbucks, Banana Republic and Target.

Here are the results:

  $25 Starbucks $25 Banana Republic $25 Target
Card Pool $20.01 Amazon gift card; $18.88 cash $18.55 Amazon gift card; $17.50 cash $21.46 Amazon gift card; $21 cash
Card Cash $19.73 $17.52 $20.54
Card Kangaroo $18.88 $19.07 $20.26
Clip Kard $18.88 $19 $19.13

If you’re an Amazon lover, Card Pool might be your best choice. Cashwise, there was no clear winner as the buyout depended on demand for the gift card, which across the board seems to be in Target’s favor.

Gift Cards Still Need a Home? Auction ’Em Off on Raise

The gift card exchange site Raise has always been one of my favorite places to sell my unwanted gift cards because I get to set the price. However, as with eBay, you don’t get paid until the gift card sells.

Still, I like a few things about Raise over directly selling my card to a site.

On Raise, you can list a card without paying up-front fees, so there’s no risk.

You can sell any gift card or store credit — new or partially used. Most cards sell within 24 hours, and Raise takes 15% of the selling price.

Pro Tip

As with any product, the more demand, the more you can ask for it. Gift cards for major retailers — Walmart, Target, Best Buy — tend to sell on the marketplace for 95% of their value.

You also maintain control over your listing. If your card doesn’t sell in the first couple of days, you can always adjust the price to attract more buyers. Or you can unlist it if you change your mind.

If you do decide to sell a gift card this holiday season, shop around and find the best offer. Check with two or three companies before handing over your gift card.

And remember, you can buy discount gift cards on all these sites, too. Keep them in mind when you need a gift next holiday season.

Adam Hardy contributed reporting for this article. He’s an editorial assistant for The Penny Hoarder’s Make Money team. You can read his full bio here or say hi on Twitter, @hardyjournalism.