How to Exchange Your Gift Card (Fast)

It’s the time of year when we are all looking for ways to save money.

On average, you’ll need $1,000 to get through the holidays.

One way you can get the money you need is by exchanging your unwanted gift certificates for cash. Whether it be for money or store credit, there are plenty of websites that will ensure you get something for nothing. You simply need to know where to look!

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best places to exchange your gift card, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of spending hours searching online yourself! Just check it out below and start making money.

Different Types of Gift Cards

What type of gift card do you need to exchange?

By knowing the exact type you’re working with, you’ll be able to choose the best exchange option! Let’s look at a few of the most popular gift certificates, along with advantages and disadvantages to each.

Store Cards

Store gift certificates let you shop at specific retailers or stores, such as Target or Amazon. Generally, these gift certificates carry fewer fees than bank-issued gift certificates (if any). If you know you shop at a particular store, this is generally the most convenient card to have.

Bank Issued

Bank-issued cards let you shop anywhere the bank’s network of ATMs is located. Withdraw cash at an ATM or make purchases by typing in your PIN. If you buy one of these cards from a bank teller, you can generally avoid an “activation fee.”

Always read the fine print and look up words you don’t understand. Be especially vigilant when you’re reading portions of the exchange contract about fees. The more broad your financial vocabulary is, the easier it’ll be for you to avoid scams.

Prepaid Reloadable Cards

Finally, we have the reloadable prepaid option. Prepaid reloadable cards work just like debit cards. You may or may not be able to withdraw cash at ATMs with these cards. These are also called “general purpose reloadable” (GPR) cards.

GPR cards allow you to add more money to the card whenever needed, so there is no expiration date or other fees if you do this. Be careful about any gift certificate that has a price for adding money to it after purchase. That would defeat the purpose of having a gift certificate in the first place.

Selling Your Card via the Web

Next, let’s talk about gift card exchanges. No worries for those who don’t want to go out into the world to exchange their gift certificate!

Many websites will let you trade your unused cards for cash. You can use these websites one of two ways: sell your card online or mail in your card for the money.

Are you new to selling things online? Then you’ll want to refresh on the best eCommerce practices to protect yourself.

For instance, when selling a gift certificate via the web, make sure to go through a reputable website, like eBay. Before trading, make sure the company is legitimate by searching for reviews and feedback.

Next, you should always get paid before mailing out your gift card. Once you send it, the company might claim they never got it. They could then discredit your further by leaving a bad review.

Thankfully, by getting payment first, you can confirm you’re working with a reputable company. If possible, use an escrow service like PayPal so that no one gets scammed until money has been changed hands.

In some cases, you won’t have to mail your card out. Instead, you’ll be able to use a safe, electronic kiosk for transferring the funds. The process is fast and easy.

Just select the number of funds you want to release and follow the instructions on the screen.

Bitcoin ATM Options

Since Bitcoin is at an all-time high, many of these kiosks double as Bitcoin ATMs. You could essentially trade in your gift certificate and wind up with a bitcoin portfolio instead! You’ll need to pay a fee for using this service, but you can obtain bitcoin at today’s price!

Selling your card via the internet or using a bitcoin ATM are two great ways to get rid of old gift certificates and obtain cash. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call the company before exchanging. Make sure you know everything is going in, so no one gets scammed out of their hard-earned money.

Do Gift Certificates Expire?

Gift certificates can expire, and this is a significant source of complaints among consumers. When it comes to state laws about gift certificates and whether they expire, every state has its own rules and regulations.

Many states follow those set by federal guidelines. However, if a company has its headquarters in another state, its policies will apply no matter where you live. Specific digital gift certificates don’t expire. It all depends on the company.

Mailing in Your Card for Cash

If mailing in your card for cash is more your style, be sure only to use a safe and secure post office box. Never hand it over to strangers, unless you plan on canceling the card yourself.

To get money from physical cards mailed in, print out a prepaid shipping label that makes it easy to send them right back! The company will then inspect your card for authenticity before giving you cash in return. If they don’t like the condition of your gift certificate, they will contact you and offer an alternative option (like store credit).

Remember, there’s always the risk of fraud or scammers looking to take advantage of buyers with no recourse if it happens. Be smart about who you sell to and always ask.

Suppose mailing or selling your gift certificates online is too much work, no worries. You can always exchange it in person at many businesses across the country.

Some companies will not accept just any old gift certificate. They have to be able to properly check the balance on them before giving you cash for it. While some may offer money without checking, this might have a catch that prevents you from being reimbursed if there’s an issue with the card down the road.

Exchanging Cards in Person

When exchanging in person, you’ll have to provide the business with your gift certificate or receipt. It is then up to them if they accept it for payment or not.

It’s also important to know that most businesses will only offer store credit if your card doesn’t have enough value left on it after inspection. Since you are getting less than face value, this would be no different than simply using the card at their store! Some places might let you buy items at a discount instead of exchanging the entire balance, though. Always ask about your options when at the counter.

In-Store Trade-Ins

Did you get an in-store gift certificate and wish it were for a different store? Most brick-and-mortar stores will let you swap it for something else. All you have to do is tell them what your preference is. Just be sure the balance has enough value and check that the card hasn’t been partially used or damaged!

Before exchanging your gift certificate, make sure that the company still sells whatever you want. They might no longer sell it because it’s an older model or simply not in demand anymore. Also, try to avoid trading with companies that charge extra fees for their services since you could find a better deal elsewhere.

Let’s say, for instance, you have a $50 gift certificate for Target, but you only shop at Walmart. You can talk to the manager about trading in the card for store credit of your choice. It won’t always work, but it’s worth a shot!

What if you took your $50 gift certificate to Target and asked for cash? Would that work? Not quite. You see, Target won’t offer you money unless you have the receipt for the gift certificate.

Do You Have the Receipt?

If all you want is cash for your card, try to get the gift certificate’s receipt! When you take the gift certificate to the store it came from, things will be easy peasy with a ticket in hand.

Go to the customer service counter, and let them know you want a full refund. Once they confirm the card’s unopened and unused, they’ll be able to complete your transaction.

What if you opened the gift certificate, didn’t use it, and want to return it? You might have a problem. Unfortunately, trading in gift cards isn’t the same as trading in a shirt that didn’t fit right or the wrong bag of chips.

Instead, you’ll have to contact the company and let them know that your gift certificate has been opened. They might offer you a discount on the value of the card for it to be used again.

Some stores will only do this if you provide the receipt with their stamp on it. It’s also possible they won’t take back an opened card at all, depending on where it came from.

As frustrating as it can be when a store won’t work with you, remember it’s for your safety. Retailers don’t want to accept faulty gift certificates back. That’s why they insist on proof of purchase and that.

How Much Money Can I Get?

It’s important to note that each company has different policies on how much they will offer customers for their gift certificates. Depending on where you go, you can get 10, 15, or 20 cents on the dollar.

When selling online, it’s easier to shop around between websites and find which one offers you the best deal. Many even let you select your price when selling. Know that there is no obligation if an offer isn’t to your liking.

Get More Money

Are you exchanging your card instead of returning it? Check out how much money each business will offer before making the swap. Some places may give more than others even within their own family of stores.

Remember that every company has different policies, so double-check before making any transaction. Always read the fine print, and if you have any questions, call customer service.

Think of it this way: you’re doing them a favor by allowing them to sell the card for cash for a second time. You wouldn’t want someone getting money from your card without spending any of their own!

Finally, make sure that you know the balance on the gift certificate before trading it in. This might sound like common sense. However, people forget how much is left until they get home, only to discover their receipt was lost.

Keep all receipts from the purchase of discount cards just in case something should happen! Because then, at least you can find out what happens with that product or company when your unused gift certificate cannot be returned. After all, it would be a pretty big hassle if that happened.

Once you know the balance, all you have to do is call your store and ask them about their exchange policies. Most of the time, they will tell you all of this information. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this over the phone, visit their website for more details!

Lost Gift Certificates

Did you know that some companies will honor lost gift certificates if you contact them directly? Unfortunately, the rules vary from business to business.

If this is your case, call customer service and ask about their policy on purchasing a replacement card for an old account. Don’t hold back. Make sure to tell them exactly what happened – more information is always helpful! The more details you have about the card, the faster you’ll be able to fix the problem.

Get Your Money

It’s time to stop letting the balance on your cards waste away and start exchanging them for cash. What are you going to do with this card before it expires? Will you be filling your wallet up with money or trading in for another store?

Whatever you choose, make sure you don’t miss the deadline! Go ahead and decide today, and start finally having fun with your gift card. Are you looking for more insider tips? Then read another one of our guides.

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