Turn Unwanted Gift Cards Into Cash

Gift card swap sites can offer more bang for the buck

By Kim Vatis
|  Thursday, Apr 15, 2010  |  Updated 7:54 AM CDT
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Turn Unwanted Gift Cards Into Cash

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Gift cards from various retailers are seen on display at a Chevron service station convenience store December 19, 2006 in San Francisco, California.

An estimated $5 billion in gift cards will never be redeemed this year, experts say.  Sometimes the cards weren't wanted or the recipient didn't like the retailer.  In other cases, redeeming a gift card would mean spending more money.

But several Web sites offer trade-in options.

You'll likely get less than face value on a trade, but it can still be like found money.

"A gift card has no value if you can't use it," said Kris Choma.

He had a $100 card to Tiffany's, but using it, he said would have still cost him money because everything in the store is so expensive.

On the flip side, Choma said he's found real savings when he bought gift cards from swap sites.  He said one time he paid only $150 for a Kohl's gift card that was worth a bit more.

"If you can save $20 here and there on a gift card, it really adds up and helps the bottom line," said Choma's wife, Joanna.  She said she often buys unwanted gift cards online at a deal, and when she uses them it's like shopping on sale because she often gets more for her money.

Sites to try:

PlasticJungle.com
Swapagift.com

MonsterGift.com

Cardpool.com

Amazon.com

Some sites, like GiftCards.com, will even allow utility bill payments by gift cards.

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