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How to earn money from unwanted gift cards

There are several options to unload them and keep them from going to waste.

CLEVELAND — From Apple to Amazon, movies and mall merchants, there are gift cards for just about anything you could want or don't want.

But instead of letting them just gather dust, check out these options:


Re-gifting them to someone who may love them is a great way to keep your holiday present from going to waste.


If you sell them for cash, that’s a way to re-gift to yourself and there are several sites which will buy them. Even Sheetz gas and convenience stores will exchange them for one of their gift cards.

There is a catch though, explains Tod Marks with Consumer Reports.

"These websites buy your cards at less than face value and then resell them. That means you'll get less, sometimes a lot less than they're worth at the store," says Marks.

How much less? Well, it depends on where you sell them.

3News tried to sell a $50 gift card for Lowe's home store.

  • At Sheetz, we could exchange it for a Sheetz gift card worth $42.95.
  • Raise offered us $42.50, which includes a 15% sellers fee. But you’ll only get the money if someone offers to buy the card.
  • We could get $35.50 from Cardpool or an Amazon gift card for that value.

According to Trae Bodge of GiftCardGranny, a site which sells discounted cards, not all cards are created equal.  

"You tend to lose 10-15% percent on popular gift cards, like ones from Walmart or Target. If the retailer is less known, you'll probably lose more than that," says Bodge.

Exchange for a Discounted Card

Still, if you sell one of your cards, you can use that cash to buy a discounted gift card and maybe make out even.

"If you find a Kohl's gift card that's selling for 14% less (than the actual value of the card), you automatically save yourself 14% if you shop with that. Or, if you decide to give that gift to someone else you automatically saved 14% on that person's gift," explains Bodge.

But make sure you research any site that you work with by checking the reviews, because there are some disreputable companies.

You also may think about waiting to sell your card, instead, frequently checking the exchange rate on the website, because the prices are based on supply and demand.

Bodge says, for some reason, right before Mother's day, the return rates are higher which means you can use that cash to let mom know how much you love her.

Donate to Charity

But if you find all of this too time consuming,you could always donate that unwanted card to charity. Because the holidays are all about giving.