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How to Turn Your Unwanted Gift Cards into Cash

Santa Claus opening a steel briefcase full of loose cash.

We’re tumbling straight into 2022, yet you’ve grown cold with the passage of time. Accomplishments, failures—those are just words now. How else should someone feel with a wallet full of unwanted gift cards? Well, you should feel grateful, because it’s really easy to exchange gift cards for cash.

The Secret World of Gift Card Trading

You might not realize the internet is home to a savage gift card shadow economy. People utilize a variety of websites (namely, Raise) to buy, sell, and trade gift cards safely.

While it might sound disturbing, these websites are the safest and easiest way to exchange unwanted cards for cash. Unlike eBay, these sites guarantee you won’t get ripped off. They work with digital or physical gift cards, and they sometimes give you the option to name your price through auction or negotiation systems.

A woman's hand holding a card while her other hand is on a laptop keyboard.
Cheryl Savan/Shutterstock

That’s not to say these sites are perfect. They sell your cards at a reduced rate and charge listing fees, so you usually only end up with about 70 to 90 percent of whatever your card was initially worth.

Plus, they have to process your gift card or wait for somebody to buy it, so it might be a few days before you get paid.

However, if cash sounds better than hanging on to (or forgetting about) all those gift cards, here are some of the best places you can sell them:

  • Raise: On this auction-style site, you pick a price. Of course, this also means you have to wait for your card to sell. When the sale is complete, Raise pays you via direct deposit or PayPal, or you can opt to receive a check in the mail.
  • CardPool: You can sell your card directly to CardPool, and it will pay you with an Amazon gift card or send you a check in the mail. This is an ideal option if you want to be paid immediately and don’t mind that it’s an Amazon gift card. CardPool also has a chain of physical locations and kiosks across the U.S. These kiosks are great if you want cash right now, and there’s probably one within a few miles of your location.
  • CardCash: This site buys your gift cards in exchange for a check, direct deposit, or a PayPal deposit. You can also trade gift cards on this site, which is a decent option if you want a high return on them.
  • GC Spread: Here, you can make an offer, and the website will quickly buy your card or send you a counteroffer. You can also trade gift cards to maximize your returns. Sadly, GC Spread only pays via check.

All of these options offer a return rate of around 70 to 90 percent. We suggest CardPool if you want the fastest payout, and Raise if you want the best return.

Alternative Gift Card Markets

A woman holding a Gold Card to pay for a wrapped gift a man behind a counter is handing her.
Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

While gift card websites are the safest and easiest way to turn unwanted gift cards into cash, there are some other ways you can trade your gift cards for cash:

  • Amazon: Most stores won’t let you buy a gift card with a gift card, but Amazon will. If you’ve got an Amazon gift card, you can use it to buy another store’s gift card or even a Visa gift card.
  • Reddit: The GTExchange and GCTrading forums on Reddit are good if you want to get high returns on your unwanted gift cards. Of course, trading gift cards with strangers on the internet is risky. If you choose this method, follow the forum guidelines and only trade with people who have a good reputation.
  • Ask a friend: One of your friends might be more than happy to buy your $50 Sephora gift card for $45. She can even use Venmo or CashApp if she doesn’t have the cash on her.
  • Regift it: You could always hand out your unwanted gift cards as birthday presents. Hey, you wouldn’t be the first to do it.
  • eBay: People buy and sell gift cards on eBay all the time. However, it’s not as safe as a dedicated gift card website, and the returns aren’t that great after you subtract the listing and transaction fees. Still, it might worth using as a last resort if you can’t unload your gift cards anywhere else.

Again, we recommend you stick with the gift card websites. Whatever you do, just don’t try to sell a gift card back to the person who gave it to you—that’s a big no-no!

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »