7 Things You Can Do With Unwanted Gift Cards

Joseph Meyer
Written by
Last update:

Sell Your Unused Gift Cards for Cash

You might not realize it right away, but there’s a way to get cash for your out-of-use gift cards. Websites called “card-counters” will buy your gift cards from you, often paying a better price than you’d get by selling them on your own. Some card-counters offer discounted gift cards on their sites, too.

If you’ve received a gift card and don’t need it, selling it online is easy. Just key in the card information, select your selling price, and print a shipping label. You’ll receive your payment in a few days.

Note: It’s a good idea to check out your state’s gift card laws when selling your unused gift cards. Some state laws require the gift card purchaser to resell the cards through the original retailer or at least notify the purchaser that they are buying a used card.

Regift the Card

If you find yourself with a gift card that won’t match anyone on your holiday shopping list, you can regift it to your friends or family.

Something that I consider tacky is buying a gift card for yourself. I always think that the recipient feels a little insulted or hurt when they find out that it was really for you. It kinda takes the fun out of it for them since they didn’t win you in the lottery. When you regift a card for them, you keep the focus on them instead of you.

Sell or Exchange them with People You Know

If you get a merchant gift card or a retail gift card as a present, it’s pretty tempting to use it right away. But it’s smarter to hold on to that card. Give yourself a few days or weeks to decide what to do with it.

Possibly, you’ll find someone you think would appreciate the card more than you do. If so, just get in touch with them and ask if they’d like to take the card off your hands. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Or you may want to save up the card(s) until you’ve got enough to buy the product or service you want. If you’re really savvy with your money, you can hold on to a card and let it grow by waiting for a promotion or discount on the card’s associated product or service.

Did you get a gift card from a family member or loved one and you don’t want to use it? Don’t let it go to waste. Donate it to a worthy charity that you care about.

Some people are even starting to initiate gift card drives at their companies to help charities raise money. Plus, it’s a bit of a fun and simple way to ensure that you are using your unwanted gift cards productively.

To donate a gift card, head over to the website for charity of your choice, and use the search bar to look for the category “Gift card donations.” You will usually see options for local, national, and international charities. You can also call the phone number on the charity’s page and ask them directly how to donate gift cards.

Use the Gift Card to Purchase Items that You Can Sell

{1}. Choose items that have a high market value.
{2}. Try to purchase a variety of items. Not all of them will be worth the same amount of money.
{3}. Once you’ve purchased them, itemize and then photograph each item individually and post the photos to Facebook or Craigslist.
{4}. You can also post local ads in the newspaper or a community Facebook group.
{5}. You’ll also want to take a group photo of the items to show a potential buyer what they’re getting.
{6}. Make sure you clearly list each item’s value. This will help potential buyers feel more confident in the purchase and will also help you avoid any difficult situations that may arise if there are any disagreements over the value of an item.
{7}. When you’re done, make sure you ship the items off to the buyer ASAP. You don’t want to hold onto the items any longer than you have to.

Return the Gift Card to the Issuing Retailer

If you have a gift card that you won’t use, you can return the gift card back to the retail location where you purchased it. For example, if you bought a gift card for Target and you don’t plan to shop at Target in the near future, you can return the gift card to any Target location for cash.

This is not applicable for all brands, so be sure to check with the issuing retailer before returning the card. Alternatively, some credit-card companies like American Express will allow you to redeem gift cards for their affiliated credit cards, effectively transforming your gift card into cash.

Use Gift Card Exchange Websites

Woo hoo! You got a present you don’t want to use. What do you do? Here are seven things you can do (not necessarily in order of preference) with unwanted gift cards:

Sell your gift card.

If you have a gift card that’s not yet been used, you can use a gift card exchange service to sell the card quickly and easily. You might not get the full value of the card, but you’ll get close and you can put your cash in your pocket instead of the hands of the retailer. Giftcard Zen is one such service. You can try calling up gift card exchange companies in your area for the best deals.

Get a Trade-In or Gift Card at Best Buy.

If someone gave you a gift card to an electronics or other big box store, you can always trade it in. Many stores offer to buy used gift cards, so you’ll probably be able to score something good for your card at Best Buy. You might get a new gift card or, if you’re lucky, you might be able to find a retail or online coupon that gives you some sweet deal on the stuff you were going to buy anyway.

Use it for yourself by renting or streaming.