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Have you ever bought or sold store gift cards through an online gift card exchange? I’ve never done this myself, but a reader named Chris recently wrote in to share his experiences, and it sounds like a great option if you’ve received a card that you don’t want, or if you’re looking to score a discount on an upcoming purchase.
According to Chris:
My wife, who is an avid Kohl’s shopper, found that you can pay your Kohl’s bill with Kohl’s gift cards. We then found that Gift Card Rescue regularly sells Kohl’s gift cards at a 15% discount. So, you can make your Kohl’s purchase (using your Kohl’s card for additional discounts; my wife often gets things at 75-85% off the regular price). Then, once you get your bill, you can buy the gift card(s) you need to pay the bill at an additional 15% discount. As long as it’s convenient for you to go to Kohl’s to pay your bill in person, this is a win-win.
Obviously, you don’t have to jump through the “pay your credit card with a gift card” hoop to get a good deal, but Chris is right – you can often score additional discounts at Kohl’s by using your store credit card.
After poking around a bit on both Gift Card Rescue and Plastic Jungle, I was impressed by the number of stores for which cards are available. The discounts vary, but you can save a decent amount – e.g., 7% for both Lowes and Home Depot, 10% for Auto Zone, 11% for Fandango, 13-15% for Barnes & Noble, 14% for JC Penney, 16% for Kohl’s, and so on.
In a followup message, Chris also pointed out the utility of these sites when it comes to unloading unwanted gift cards.
I also sold a $50 Bass Pro gift card that I won from a local radio station. While I could have found something to buy at Bass Pro, I really would have been spending it just to spend it. When I found that Plastic Jungle would give me $40 in cash or a $42.50 Amazon electronic gift card, I thought that was a better option. Because I was planning on buying something at Amazon, I went with the Amazon gift card and the transaction went very smoothly.
In general terms, gift card exchanges pay up to ~90% of the face value of your gift card, with the final amount depending on how much they can re-sell it for. Unlike buying or selling on eBay or Craigslist, your transactions are also guaranteed, and shipping (at least when buying) is typically free. It’s also worth noting that you can sell partially used gift cards in odd amounts.
If you’ve ever bought or sold gift cards using one of these services, I’d love to hear how it went. How much (percentage-wise) did you get when you sold? How much big of a discount did you get when you bought? Did you have any problems? Any tips to share? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.