Giving gift cards is common to Americans. Sadly, we aren’t that good at spending what we have. As a matter of fact, in 2018 alone, America has recorded millions of dollars worth of gift cards that were left unused.
“What do I do with them?”, “Can I sell gift cards instead?” These are few of the questions many gift card owners ask in America. If you have a few hundred dollars worth of gift cards, here are some of the ways you can use them for.
The moment we receive a gift card, the first thing we do is to keep it and wait for the perfect moment to use it. Unfortunately, stuffing your gift cards back in your drawer is never a good idea. You’ll end up forgetting about it and only remembering it when it’s past the valid date.
Instead, you can use the balance to pay for your bills! Not all gift cards can be used to pay bills, so make sure to check with the retailer first. If it’s a debit card from a bank, then take the money and spend it on your phone bill or electric bill. You can also use it for groceries or for your gas. You can also convert it into cash. Don’t forget to read the terms and conditions before doing so.
Sell Gift Cards
Have you ever received a gift card as a present and end up not using them because there is nothing to use them for? Your only option is to sell them. At this time, there are a number of websites where you can buy, trade, and sell gift cards. If you sell your gift cards, you can earn cash and actually spend it on things that matter to you.
However, these websites don’t offer the exact value of the card. That’s because it depends on the demand. At the same time, it’s still to better to sell them and make money out of them than to do nothing until the cards expire.
Make sure to check out the websites and read their terms before you start selling. Don’t sell your gift cards to the first page you come across. You might get a better deal somewhere else.
Trade them with your colleagues and friends
The easiest way to convert your gift cards into cash is through the people you know – your friends or colleagues. You’ll never know if they need the gift cards if you don’t involve them. Set up a circle to match your cards with the recipients.
If your friends have gift cards you might be interested in, then you can offer to trade them with your cards. Are they willing to take your Applebee’s cards in exchange for AMC theatres?
Re-gift your cards
If your gift cards are in good condition, with no partial balances, then you can re-gift them to someone else. It’s okay if you don’t want to shop at Macy’s. Someone else will be glad to do it. Those unwanted gift cards you keep in your drawer won’t be wasted.
Donate your gift cards
Charities are happy to accept any amount, as long as it helps the people in need. Even if your gift card has a partial balance, most of the charities in America will still be delighted to accept them. If your charity doesn’t accept gift cards, look for one that does. You can look up online and see which charities accept gift card donations.
Track the card balance
Starbucks allows card members to track how much is left on the card. This feature is best for people who always use their gift cards. It can be humiliating if you swipe your card only to find out there’s nothing left on it. After a few lattes, just go to the issuer’s website and track how much is left before it’s too late.
Use them with your smartphone
Did you know there are apps you can use your gift cards with? Instead of just carrying them around, you can use your smartphone and conveniently purchase items. Don’t have it? You can download the app on AppStore or on Play Store.
While gift cards can be very useful, there are a couple of things to consider when using them. Below are reasons why it’s not always good to give gift cards.
- Most banks charge buyers with a purchase fee. This charge is added on top of the balance of the gift card. If you’re going to buy something using the card, make sure to estimate how much the total cost is, including the purchase fee.
- There are a number of gift cards that lock the recipient into buying from a particular retailer. Some of them lock recipients from purchasing from a specific group of retailers, which limits the usability of the gift card.
- If the card issuer goes bankrupt, then the value of the card may be affected, or worse, lost.
- There may be a month to month charge called dormancy fee. This happens if the card becomes inactive for a minimum of 12 months.
- Because they are just gift cards, card holders are in no position to dispute inaccurate fees or charges.
- If the card is lost or stolen, it may be impossible to replace them. And if they are replaced, it may be more expensive than the actual balance of the card.
Therefore, the next time you are caught in a situation where you run out of gift ideas, try not to give your gift cards. Be creative and think of something else. But if you’re left with no choice, make sure you understand the consequences in giving gift cards.
Make sure to read the terms and conditions so that the recipient won’t be surprised in the end. Otherwise, it might just be a burden for them, as it was for you when you had the gift card. In the end, it’s always pleasing to know that the gift comes from the heart.