What to Do With Unwanted Gift Cards

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated January 19, 2018

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Money Saving Tips
January 19, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Gift cards are always very popular around the holidays and usually make a great gift. But what happens when you receive a gift card for a store you don’t really shop at or an establishment you might never go to, such as a movie theatre or restaurant?

If you’ve received a gift card that you don’t think you will ever use, there’s no need to let it go to waste. Here are a few ideas of what to do with those unwanted gift cards.

Believe it or not, depending on the retailer, you can sometimes return a gift card. However, it isn’t always an easy process, and you may not receive the full face value of the card. Many retailers require the receipt for the gift card, which you aren’t likely to have. Still, you never know until you try.

Chances are, you’ve regifted a gift or two in your lifetime, handing off a gift you didn’t really care for to someone else for another special occasion or holiday. (You’ve probably received a regift or two as well at some point in time.) You can regift gift cards as well, saving you time shopping for a gift as well as the money you would normally spend.

With a new gift card envelope, you can hand it off to someone else you think might like it. Gift cards are usually good for several years so even if you don’t have anyone to regift it to now, you might at some point in the future.

You can try selling your gift cards in exchange for cash on Facebook’s marketplace, Craigslist, eBay and other websites, such as Cardpool.com. Keep in mind that you will usually need to sell the gift card at less than face value to make it worthwhile to a buyer. But even if you aren’t getting face value, you are still getting cash that you didn’t have before.

If you have no need for the gift card and the above options aren’t suitable, you could always simply donate the gift card to charity. Such a donation is also tax deductible for the face value of the card.

Instead of selling it, it is also possible to exchange the gift card for one you would use on sites like Cardpool.com, CardCash and Junkcard.

Don’t feel bad about receiving an unwanted gift card—one of the above options is sure to result in a more positive experience.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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