Unused Gift Cards

Remember those times you dug through the couch for a few dollars in change to buy a hamburger? Finding a discarded, hidden $1 bill was like finding the holy grail. Finding gift cards, on the other hand… not so much. You couldn’t use them. And that sweet but clueless relative continues to give you gift cards year after year for places you’ve never even heard of, much less shopped at. They just continue to pile up. But did you know you can still make money from them? Unclaimed and unused gift cards can be a great way to earn a bit of supplemental income if you have the know-how. A recent article from the New York Post reports that nearly $44 billion in unused gift cards has accumulated since 2008, taking that money out of the economy and the market. And just think; you might have a portion of that $44 billion stashed away in a forgotten wallet somewhere.

One thing you can do with unused gift cards is sell them. Craigslist is a great way; sell them for $5 off their balance and make a decent profit that way. If that doesn’t work for you, there are numerous websites that will buy and resell gift cards. You can usually earn somewhere between 50% and 90% of the face value of the card. However, there is a bit of a downside to this – cards usually need to have around a $25 balance to be accepted. In addition, rates greatly vary between websites. Websites like GiftCardGranny.com work as comparison sites, allowing you to measure which gift card exchange site will give you the most bang for your plastic. The value of a card is based on how demand the retailer is in; for example, Walmart and Target gift cards are usually more valuable than a more obscure retailer.

If you’re going to try to sell the card, make sure to do it quickly. A card might have an expiration date, but if not, certain laws and taxes allow the value of the card to slowly decline as time goes on. Plus, money has more value right now than it will in the future, due to an economic principle known as the time value of money.

Another option you have is to exchange gift cards with someone. Trade the card you have for one to retailer you actually use; there are many websites that allow you to do this, at a small to somewhat significant percentage of the card’s value. However, it’s better than having a a card you will never use at any point in time, after all.

A third option is to simply re gift or donate the gift cards. This doesn’t net you any sort of financial gain, but it does leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, or at least removes the trouble of shopping for someone at least a little bit. Either way, it’s entirely up to you what you do with the cards. Just know that there are ways to exchange your unused gift cards for a bit of cash. Not only does it benefit you, but it also helps the economy by putting that money back in circulation!

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