What the Tech: Gift card exchange

Consumer technology reporter Jamey Tucker shows us how even if you have a gift card from a store where you never shop, you do have some options.
Half of all Americans are holding on to a total of about $21 billion worth of gift cards they may never use.
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 4:00 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Gift cards may be popular for givers but for the people getting them, not so much.

Half of all Americans are holding on to a total of about $21 billion worth of gift cards they may never use.

You might want to go look through the junk drawers and on top of the fridge to see if you find any unused gift cards. Most don’t expire. Even if you never darken the door of the store where it comes from, you may be able to exchange it online.

But how do these exchanges work, and is it worth it?

Several websites help you sell unused gift cards. Raise and Card Cash are two of the longest-operating and most popular exchanges.

Visit the website and select where the gift card is from, and then enter the amount. the websites will show you what they sell for.

But it depends on supply and demand. Gift cards from certain stores are worth more than cards from other stores.

A $50 Lowes gift card listed on Raise, might sell for $48 which is the suggested value. But Raise charges a 15% fee. You get paid when your card sells through PayPal or direct deposit.

If you want to sell it fast, Card Cash will buy the gift card but will pay less: $40 for the $50 Lowes gift card.

Or you can trade it for a card from another retailer for a little more. Both CardCash and Raise have a B rating by the Better Business Bureau. But there are multiple complaints from customers of both companies.

If you want to sell or exchange gift cards directly with no fees, there are Gift Card Exchange communities on Reddit. If you go that route, you’ll have to give the buyer the card’s serial number and pin number which is what they need to use before paying for it. You’ll need to do some background on the buyer to avoid scams.

You may not be entirely pleased with how much you’ll be offered for the gift card. A couple of other options is to find a local charity that will gladly accept the donation, or put it away and give it to someone else next Christmas.

If you don’t know the value of the gift card, check the balance on the retailer’s website before exchanging it.

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