There's a whole category of things that people know have value, but don’t bother to redeem. Those stacks of coupons that arrive in the mail for free. Bottles and cans in states where you can easily turn them into money. And loose change... which is actual money! Like, literally!
Well, add another item to the list: gift cards.
According to CardHub.com spokesperson Jill Gozalez, “Collectively more than 50 billion dollars of gift cards have gone unused in the last 10 years.”
Wow. That’s quite a boondoggle for retailers. $50 billion of free money, for which they don’t have to provide, you know, actual goods or services.
Jill says the way to tap that unused value is just a click away. “There are actually gift card exchange sites that make it easy to either exchange for a better gift card, or just get that cash right away.”
And remember way back in the day when gift cards lost value over time? Well no more. Jill explains, “If they are purchased after 2009 they are actually prohibited from expiring within five years according to the Card Act.”
Hey! Congress did something useful! But be careful – there are some scam sites out there. So here’s a handy rundown of some legit gift card exchanges:
Raise.com has an intuitive interface and search, and puts you in control of setting your own price. The site charges a commission 15% of the sale.
Unlike many sites, CardCash.com has no minimums or maximums – they’ll tell you exactly what they’ll pay up to 92 percent of the current card value.
Finally, CardHub.com aggregates three different gift card exchange sites so you can browse a large inventory with a single search. And in some exchanges, you can actually gain value. Jill explains: “Starbucks was the 7th most popular gift card in 2015. So say that you received a $15 Starbucks gift card. You instead want a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, which was 24th most popular this past year. So you can list your $15 Starbucks card, leverage the popularity there, and then maybe get a $25 Dunkin’ Donuts card in exchange.”
Some of the features summarized above are true for multiple sites… and some of this is almost par for the course. For instance 8% seems like a common fee to stick to the sites. But they each have their own twists, so, as always, read the terms before deciding which service to use.
Then return those bottles and can, roll up that change... and gather up those unused gift cards and turn them into cash!