How to convert unwanted gift cards into cash / Amazon gift cards
Do you have a Visa gift card from last year that has a remaining balance of $2.73? Did your great Aunt Erma send you a gift card for the Old Country Buffet? Did you receive yet another $5 Starbucks gift card that’s probably going to get lost before you spend it? Did you receive a gift card for a retailer that’s an hour drive away and doesn’t have an online site?
Fear not, you can convert those gift cards into something you can actually use; cash or perhaps something as good as cash, an Amazon gift card. Here are a number of options to convert your unwanted gift cards:
Option 1: Turn your Visa gift card into an Amazon gift card.
Particularly useful when you have a few Visa / Mastercard / AMEX / Discover gift cards with a few bucks left on each, converting these will let you bank all the balances on your Amazon account.
- Log into your Amazon account, go to your account page and add your gift card as a payment option.
- Check your remaining balance on the card (either online or via phone), then go to an Amazon eGift card page. Set the remaining amount as the eGift card’s value and put your own email address in as the recipient.
- Go back to your Account page, click Gift Cards and apply the gift card code (received via email) to your balance.
Option 2: Sell your gift card on a 3rd party gift card site.
There are a number of these types of sites, CardPool, CardCash, Raise, etc… Ultimately, you are going to take a percentage hit when selling the card, but you will have something more valuable if you weren’t planning on using the card in the first place.
Here are some examples with a $50 Best Buy card (as of 12/27/18):
- Cardpool: Offers a check for $44.25 or an Amazon gift card for $46.91. (You also have the option of selling the gift card on the marketplace for a slightly higher rate, but it will take longer).
- CardCash: Offers a check / direct deposit / Paypal for $43.50 or an Amazon gift card for $45.67.
- Raise: Offers payout via check / direct deposit / Paypal for $41.83. (This is paid out when the card sells on the site. It will sell faster based on your price, but your payout could drop.)
Payment values will vary based on the popularity of the retailer. eBay is also an option, however gift cards typically sell up to 20% off the original value, then you also take a hit on eBay fees and potentially PayPal fees.
Option 3: Use a Gift Card Exchange forum
The most popular one of these is probably the sub-Reddit, r/giftcardexchange/. You do have you educate yourself on rules of trading and make sure you are trading with a legit person. Another good trading forum is CheapAssGamer; great for video game related trades as well as gift cards.
Option 4: Donate your Gift Cards
Some charities will allow you to donate gift cards, regardless of the size of the balance. You can claim it as a charitable contribution at tax time, assuming you itemize. Check with your local charity to see if this is an option.
Option 5: Sell your gift card using Craigslist / Facebook Groups
While meeting in-person to sell a gift card isn’t the easiest option, you can typically get a good return. Make sure you meet in a public place and have access to Wi-Fi / LTE service to verify the balance of the card for them. It’s an easy way to make quick cash (without getting hit up by online fees) or barter a trade for another item.