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Are you like one of the millions of Americans who received a gift card for Christmas this year? Are you also like one of the millions who would prefer to get cash for gift cards to stores you never visit?
I would much rather get cash for gift cards and then apply that cash to my financial goals: paying off credit card debt, building an emergency fund, etc.
Fortunately, it has gotten much easier to trade in gift cards for cash.
Using eBay to Get Cash for Gift Cards
Auction sites like eBay provide a tried and true method to get cash for gift cards.
Of course, you should expect to receive less than face value for the card. After all, people who buy these gift cards at auction are looking for a deal.
Some of the more popular gift cards may fetch close to 85%-90% of value, but more obscure store gift cards won’t see that much cash offered.
I just performed an eBay search for completed auctions listing “$100 Target Gift Card.”
The average winning bid looked to be around $95, and there are a few fees to contend with at eBay. Still, that’s not a bad trade off if you are trying to get cash for gift cards.
Specialty Gift Card Exchange Sites
Apparently, trading unwanted gift cards for cash is now such a popular practice that dedicated websites have cropped up to facilitate the exchange.
One such site, Cardpool.com, asks visitors if they are looking to buy or sell, and Cardpool brokers the transaction.
My $100 Target gift card received an offer of $91 at Cardpool.com, a little lower than eBay’s average winning bid, but without the risk of a much lower winning bid, and without the various eBay fees associated with listing the gift card.
Trade Gift Cards With Friends
If you aren’t up for an online auction, or you got stuck with a gift card to the local diner that know one outside of your city limits would be interested in, try offering up the card for trade with friends and family members.
Tread carefully if you go this route as it may offend the gift card giver than you are trying to trade the card.
It’s not quite the same as regifting that pack of undershirts your mom gave you last year, but with some it may be viewed in poor taste.
I’ve been able to do this in the past – trading a Walmart gift card for a Lowe’s gift card, because Lowe’s had the tool I wanted to buy and the other party was just as happy with a Walmart gift card.
If no trades can be found in your network, you may also offer the card at a discount.
Post something on the office bulletin board, or on social media, offering up your $100 Target gift card for $90 and see if anyone bites.
For some, a 10% return is worth it, and the chances of your trading a phony gift card with a coworker is pretty slim – at least more slim than someone doing it over eBay.