Smart Buying

3 Simple Steps to Cash In Unused Gift Cards

Here's how to sell cards you don't want.

Step 1

If you have a gift card you won’t use, check online sites that buy unwanted cards. At GiftCardGranny.com, you can compare offers from several sites, including ABCGiftCards.com, Cardpool.com and GiftCards.com. Cash paybacks are typically about 50% to 90% of a card’s value. Cards for gas station, grocery and retail chains (such as Exxon, Safeway and Walmart) often bring the best offers.

Step 2

Match your gift card to the best deal. Recently, you could get 84% of a Macy’s gift card’s value in cash through Cardpool.com -- but just 70% through Junkcard.com. Plus, Cardpool.com was willing to pay 88% if you exchanged your Macy’s card for Amazon.com credit rather than cash.

Step 3

Follow the directions on the site for making the transaction. Depending on the gift card you’re selling and the site’s policies, you may be able to enter the card number online rather than shipping the card to the buyer. But some sites offer a higher payback if you use snail mail. After the buyer has received your card and verified the value, you may be able to choose among various payment methods, such as a check, direct deposit or PayPal (fees depend on the method).

The payoff

You’ll get money to put toward something you really want.

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