Sell unwanted gift cards for cash

Now that the holidays are over, do you have a drawer full of gift cards?

Chances are some are for stores or restaurants you never visit, meaning they will probably go unused. But that doesn't have to happen.

Like so many of us, Trista Popper and Amber Patchman each received a wallet full of gift cards over the holidays. And they already know they won't spend all of them. Patchman said, "Some usually go unused. I forget they're there."

Popper told me, "I usually just leave them in my purse....for months."

But rather than just leaving them to collect dust and expire...why not cash them in?

Sell your Gift Cards for Cash

An entire gift card trading industry has popped up in recent years:

The websites Swap-a-Gift, Plastic Jungle, and Card Avenue are the "big 3" of card trading sites. 

(Card Avenue, however, is currently undergoing a redesign and was not operational as of 12/28/2010.)

How they Work

At Swap-a-Gift, for instance, you'll pay $1.99 to list a card you want to sell. List it at a slight discount, and someone will take it off your hands.

If you want an immediate sale, without haggling, then you may want to try Plastic Jungle, which will buy your card immediately for a commission fee.

I told Plastic Jungle I had a Best Buy Gift Card valued at $50: In seconds it offered me $30 cash, on the spot.

Sure, that's not be the best business deal, but it sure beats leaving that card unused forever.

Bottom Line

Viewers have asked me if you can return a gift card: No: Stores won't take them back. The bottom line: The only way to get full value out of a gift card is to use it at the store that issued it.

But if you can't do that, you may want to try these sites, so you Don't Waste Your Money.

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