It seems everyone receives a gift card or two from a well-meaning family member or friend at some point through the holiday season. While a gift card might seem like a nice gift to the person giving it, statistics show that a large percentage of them remain unredeemed.
According to figures published by CreditCards.com around $1 billion in gift cards goes unspent each year. In the gift card industry, cards that remain unspent or expired are considered spillage.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce spillage and avoid the cash on those gift cards going to waste. Here are some things you can do with your unwanted gift cards:
Sell Unused Gift Cards
Rather than allow a gift card to go unspent, you can convert it into cash. There are plenty of sites that will happily buy back any gift cards you don’t want. You can choose from a range of deals from Cards2Cash. Aside from offering discounted gift cards for a broad range of stores and outlets, they also make it easy to sell unused gift cards and store credits issued on returned merchandise.
Keep in mind that you’ll get a little less than the full retail value for the card if you’re selling it in exchange for cash. However, getting some cash is preferable to getting nothing at all if you leave the card to sit unused in a drawer.
Exchange Unwanted Gift Cards
Some gift card sites also allow you to swap your gift card for another from a store or outlet you prefer. In most cases, you should get a slightly higher payout rate than you’d be offered if you wanted cash.
If you want to increase the value you get for your unwanted gift card a little more, you could also exchange it for credit with Amazon instead of getting a check. From there, you simply purchase whatever item you want from Amazon instead. The amount of credit you get might still be less than the full retail value, but it’s often a little higher than the amount you’d get in cash for exchanging your unwanted card.
If you’re not comfortable dealing with a website, you can also visit a Coinstar Exchange kiosk in your local supermarket. You simply take your unused gift card into the kiosk, swipe the card, and you’ll be offered a printed-out voucher you can spend for anything you want in the store.
Donate Your Gift Cards
There are plenty of charitable organizations that will gladly accept a gift card as a donation. Sites like CharityChoice allow you to exchange your store or restaurant gift cards for a charity donation. You can choose where you’d like your money to go to from a list of more than 1,000 charities and you’ll even receive a tax receipt for the entire value of the unused balance on the card.
Re-Gift Your Gift Card
Just because you have no use for a gift card doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a welcome surprise for someone else. If you have a gift card that hasn’t been used, go ahead and re-gift it to someone who might appreciate it.
With so many gift cards going to waste every year, it makes sense to find a way to get some value out of the money someone spent to give it to you in the first place. There are plenty of options available, so choose the one that appeals to you and turn that unwanted card into something that provides you with some value instead