How to Get Rid of Unwanted Gift Cards

Gift cards are an easy way to give the perfect present to absolutely anyone. You can choose a gift card for just about every retailer and restaurant around–and people love getting them! According to Forbes, gift cards have been the number one most requested gift for nearly a decade, with 60% of people hoping to receive a gift card during the holidays.

Except there’s one big flaw that comes with giving a gift card: what happens when you get a gift card you don’t want?

Although gift cards are meant to be universally pleasing, sometimes they completely miss the mark. Maybe you opened a birthday gift to discover you’d been given a gift card to a store you don’t shop at. Perhaps you were given a gift card to a restaurant you’ve never heard of at Christmas. Now, you’re stuck with a gift card you can’t or won’t use.

You can’t return a gift card, and it’s rude to tell your loved one that you don’t want it. But you know you won’t be able to put the gift card to use. How are you supposed to get rid of this useless gift card and get yourself a real gift?

Sell or Swap Your Gift Cards Online

Put your unwanted gift cards to use by turning them into cash that you can spend anywhere. You can even choose to swap your gift card for someone else’s. You just need to use a gift card exchange or resale website. Simply tell the site what types of gift cards you have and the amount on each; the site will then make you an offer.

Depending on the type of gift card you have, you can get up to 92 percent of its value back when you sell it. The more in-demand your gift card is, the more you’ll get. For example, a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card could earn you $42.50 on Gift Card Granny; a $50 Hotels.com gift card, however, only earns you $35.

You can also choose to exchange your unwanted gift cards, which retains more of the gift’s value. That same $50 Barnes & Noble gift card is worth $48.74 when traded in for another gift card.

Regift Those Unwanted Cards

Instead of forgetting about your unwanted gift card or literally throwing that free money away, you can also repurpose it by regifting it. Some people look down on regifting, but it’s an option that allows you to fully “use” the value of a gift card you don’t want.

Check the expiration date on the gift card to make sure it’s still valid (gift cards never expire in some states). Then, wrap it up and give it to someone else, saving you the money you would’ve spent on a gift and allowing its value to get used.

Just be sure you don’t accidentally regift the card to the person who originally gave it to you–they might realize you’re regifting it!

Try a Coinstar Machine

If you want to get money for your unwanted gift card without selling it online, you have one option: Coinstar.

Coinstar machines, present in most major supermarkets, allow people to turn their coins into cash. Coinstar works similarly when it comes to gift cards– visit any Coinstar machine equipped with an Exchange kiosk, and you can sell your gift cards for cash.

This is one of the fastest ways to exchange your gift card for cash. The Exchange machine will scan your gift card and make you a cash offer (your gift card must have a balance of at least $20). Accept the offer, and you’ll get cash in seconds.

Do keep in mind that you won’t get the full amount of your gift card in cash. Lifehacker reports that Coinstar Exchange offers between 60% to 85% of the balance.

Don’t Waste The Value of Your Gift Cards

An unwanted gift card may be annoying, but it’s still a gift–and you can still put it to use. Consider a gift card you can’t use cash. You can find someone online to take it off your hands, or swap it out for something better.

If you’re ready to get rid of a bunch of unused, unwanted gift cards that have been collecting dust, trade them in! You could have cash or spending money at your favorite store in minutes by using an exchange site. The first step in swapping unusable gift cards for something better is comparing offers. Every site will offer you a different amount, and you want to make sure you get the best value. After all, the better the trade-in offer, the more money you have to spend on something fun!

Featured Tip

If you’re looking for the perfect present for any holiday, choose a gift card – 89% of people prefer gift cards to an actual item, according to Blackhawk Network.