What Everybody Ought to Know about Buying and Selling Used Gift Cards

by AbbyFitz

Looking to buy or sell gift cards? Don't do anything until you read this article. I'll answer your questions about used gift cards and give you a list of trustworthy websites.

Have you ever gotten a gift card to a store that you knew you'd never use?

Picture me last Christmas opening a card that a friend had just handed me. Inside was a gift card for a restaurant that I absolutely cannot stand.

"Oh, wow. Thanks! You really didn't have to give me a gift."

Really. You didn't.

Here I am having to look happy and joyful on the outside, but on the inside I'm thinking, "what the heck am I going to do with this?"

A few weeks later I ran across some sites that actually will buy that $50 card I had stuffed in the back of my drawer at nearly the full face value.

Even better, I discovered you can buy used gift cards to grocery stores, department stores, restaurants, and just about everywhere else for LESS than the money that's on the card.

Used gift cards? Well, they're just the gift that keeps on giving.

Buying Used Gift Cards can Cut Hundreds from Your Grocery Bill a Year

Buying cards for less than their face value is how you keep more money in your wallet.

Since I've learned there are actually companies that buy and sell old gift cards, it's opened up a new world of savings to me.

Like most people, I am always on the lookout for ways to save money when it comes to my grocery bill. The way I've been doing it, and I'm sure most of you do the same, is by using coupons and buying what's on sale.

But did you ever think about using a grocery store gift card to save even more?

How much you'll save buying a used Walmart gift cardMost families easily spend $100 on a trip to the supermarket. If you're going to spend that much anyway, why not buy a $100 discounted gift card?

For example, on Raise they're selling a $100 Walmart gift card for $96.60. Your savings is $3.40, which doesn't sound like much, but that $3.40 adds up over a year's time.

According to a 2012 Gallop poll, Americans spend $181 a week on groceries. That's $9,412 a year! If you used a discounted Walmart card (or another grocery store gift card) every week, at the end of the year you will have saved $320.

That $3.40 doesn't sound so small anymore, does it? Combine that savings with the couponing you and I are already doing, and the savings really start to snowball.

How to Save Even More Money on Groceries:

Combine these methods with discount gift cards, and the supermarket could end up owing you money!

Save Money by Giving Used Gift Cards as Presents to Friends and Family

No one will ever know you're really a cheapskate.

As I started browsing through these sites, I realized there were gift cards to just about every company imaginable.

Surprisingly, they're not all in odd dollars. You'd expect they'd sell partially used gift cards, but that's not always the case.

Then I was hit with a sneaky thought.

I could buy gift cards and give them as Christmas or birthday gifts, and no one would ever know I was being cheap.

The trick would be to know how not to look cheap when it came to giving used gift cards.

An Example of Rue 21 Used Cards from Giftcards.com

Using Discounted Gift Cards can Save you Money on Gifts
Using Discounted Gift Cards can Save you Money on Gifts

The first rule of thumb to remember when buying used gift cards to give as gifts, is to buy one that has a nice, round number. You wouldn't buy a friend a gift card and put just $43.22 on it instead of rounding it up to $50.

I mean, unless you are really that cheap.

So let's say we've got a friend who loves Rue 21 and we want to surprise her on her birthday. Luckily for us, there's several different amounts to choose from.

We don't want to give her a halfway used gift, so we're going to choose the one that's $50. But look at the next column. The price of the $50 card is only $37. And guess what? We saved $13 just like that!

If you have a lot of people on your list that's hard to buy for and you usually buy them gift cards anyway, just imagine how much you can save during the holidays if you buy them cards from sites like giftcards.com.

So I'll keep your secret if you'll keep mine, and we'll buy everyone used gift cards for Christmas gifts this year.

Do You Think Giving a Used Gift Card as a Gift is Tacky?

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Please, what people don't know won't hurt them.
Guest on 04/07/2014

I love a bargain of any ilk.

AbbyFitz on 04/04/2014

If it says $25 and there's $25 on it and I'm only paying $20 for it, why wouldn't I buy it?

Slash Your Home Improvement Expenses by Buying Old Gift Cards

Fixing stuff around the house can be pricey, and buying with used gift cards can ease the pain a bit.

Carpenter Building a DeckI have to admit, the idea of buying gift cards to home improvement stores for home repairs wasn't mine.

I happened to be reading through a forum and a woman was explaining how she and her husband saved $1,500 on a remodeling job just by using discounted gift cards to stores like Home Depot and Lowes.

That's a considerable amount of savings, but is it really possible to save that much money, or is it a scam?

From what I've seen, to really save the big bucks, you'll have to do some comparison shopping across several sites to get the best deal on your cards. Here's my example:

On Cardcash, I found a $273.34 Home Depot card for $254.21. That's only a savings of 7%. Let's see if we can do better.

On Raise, there's a $277.30 card for $255.12, giving us a savings of 8%. Better, but not great.

At Giftcardrescue, there's a $279.40 Home Depot card that's only $252.86. That's a savings of 9.5%.

If you were doing a big project on your home and were expecting to spend $1,000, that 9.5% saves you $95, which is pretty impressive when you're doing something as simple as buying used gift cards.

The lady in the forum didn't specify how much she ended up spending altogether, so we don't know what her percentage of savings was. Even so, the fact that you're saving any money at all without using any kind of coupons or sales is amazing.

Is it Safe to Buy Discount Gift Cards?

Only buy from reputable sites and always be on the lookout for scams.

In researching this article, I learned a lot of fraud goes on when it comes to the used gift card industry.

Type in the words "gift cards" on Ebay. Up comes hundreds of gift cards with prices that's discounted 50% or more of the card's actual value.

The saying, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is" applies here. No person in their right mind would sell a $100 gift card for $40 or $50.

If you're considering buying a used gift card, do your homework. Read the website's policies, other shoppers' reviews, and just go with your gut.

To help you out, I've listed these sites to the right that are businesses who I've found to be legitimate.

Video: If There are Problems with Your Purchase, These Sites Will Make it Good

Used Gift Card Websites that are Safe to Buy From and Sell to

Let's Weigh the Pros and Cons of Discount Gift Cards

(This applies only to the websites I've listed in this article)


  • Buy directly from the website, not an individual
  • Free shipping
  • 30-100 day buyer protection
  • Returns and refunds are given on any cards that don't work



  • e-gift cards are non-refundable
  • A card you give as a gift could be a dud (awkward)
  • No site may be selling the merchant's card you need when you want it

6 Sneaky Ways to Use Discount Gift Cards to Save Money

They're your budget's best friend.
  1. Buy a discounted gas gift card to save at the pump
  2. Have a cheap date night with restaurant and movie theater gift cards
  3. Save on your next vacation with an airlines or hotel gift card
  4. Used gift cards to stores that sell electronics is a great way to save on your next device
  5. Pay a little less to have your car serviced by using cards to businesses like Jiffy Lube or Pep Boys
  6. Feel a little less guilty about indulging in your caffeine habit. Buy a used Starbucks or other coffee shop gift card

How to Sell Your Gift Cards and Make Extra Money

Don't be afraid to sell your unwanted gift cards. Most sites will give you a fair price.

Unfortunately, no site is going to give you $50 for your $50 gift card. It would be nice, but it just won't happen. They have to make a profit to stay in business.

Most of us didn't buy our gift cards anyway, so whatever we make selling it is just a bonus. I was happy to get rid of my gift card, even if it meant I got a little less than what it was worth.

Most sites will pay you up to 92% of the value of your gift card. Theoretically, that means you'd get $46 for your $50 gift card. $46 in your pocket is a lot better than $50 going to waste in the back of your drawer or at the bottom of your purse.

Again, use the same caution selling your gift cards as you would when buying them. Check out the website's policies before sending them your old gift card.

This video below shows you how easy it is to sell your card to Giftcards.

Video: How to Sell Your Gift Cards Online

Saving Money with Gift Cards

It's a beautiful thing.

Hopefully this article has opened your eyes to how you can make used gift cards work in your favor. Whether you're buying groceries, working on a DIY project, or you want a nice dinner out, discounted cards can really save you a lot of money if you use them consistently.

And in the event you get stuck like I did with a card you won't use, you can still come out ahead when you trade your gift cards in for money.

Remember, don't get scammed. Use good judgment when buying or selling used cards, and always check out a website before you do business with them.

So go dig through your purse and drawers and find those old cards you're not using, and use the money you make from selling them to buy the gift cards you'll use or give away.

Ah...it's good to be cheap.

Updated: 04/06/2014, AbbyFitz
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AbbyFitz on 12/06/2014

Oh thank you!

ologsinquito on 12/06/2014

I must have missed this article earlier. But I'm pinning it now.

AbbyFitz on 04/16/2014

Thank you Mira! I dint know either, but you're right it does make sense

Mira on 04/16/2014

Great article, Abby! I wasn't aware you could buy cards like that, but in retrospect it makes sense to have a small industry for gift cards as well.

AbbyFitz on 04/08/2014

I'm glad I was helpful!

VioletteRose on 04/08/2014

I absolutely had no idea about this, thank you :)

AbbyFitz on 04/07/2014

I'm glad that you all were able to find a British version. I didn't even think about looking into it. Now we can all save!

KathleenDuffy on 04/07/2014


Guest on 04/07/2014

That's the one I was looking at, Kathleen. Brilliant, thank you. Great minds do think alike.

KathleenDuffy on 04/07/2014

WordChazer - www.giftcardgranny.co.uk/‎ is the one I found - regards the Tesco gift card, you can't use the grocery one for online grocery shopping but you can use it in store or online for Tesco Direct. I phoned them to find out.

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