Don't like your gift cards? Trade them for cash

December 29, 2010 3:15:37 PM PST
Americans spend more than $80 billion a year on gift cards, but about $5 billion of them go unused. Often it's because they forget about them, or don't frequent those places. If you received a gift card like that, you're in luck because you can turn it into cash. If you are willing to give up some of the value of the gift card, you can score some cold hard cash for your gift cards using the Internet.

Denise Jaganian is a big fan of gift cards.

She said, "That way you get what you want and you don't have to deal with returns and so on and so forth."

But some people love the idea of trading their gift cards for cash.

"You don't have to keep it and have it collect dust somewhere else," said Brooke Meacham.

There are dozens of websites that will allow you to redeem your gift cards for cash up to 92 percent of the value. Here's how it works -- you simply input the merchant your gift card is from and the value of the card. Instantly the website will let you know the cash value of the card.

A couple of things to keep in mind -- most websites only accept gift cards worth a minimum of $25 and you will have to mail your card so that website retailer can verify the amount. Then within 48 hours, a check is mailed out to you.

We checked several sites to see how much cash you can really get back. First we check out to see how much money we'll get back on a $25 Starbucks gift card. At PlasticJungle.com, our card has a cash value of $21 -- at GiftCards.com, it's $20.75.

Next we checked a $50 Bed Bath and Beyond gift card. Our cash back value at GiftCardRescue.com is $40, but at Plastic Jungle we get $2 more!

Finally our $100 gift card from the Gap gets us $72 at Gift Card Rescue, but $84 at GiftCards.com -- that's $12 more.

So here is the bottom line -- you have to shop around, but we did find PlasticJungle.com and GiftCards.com paid the best prices.


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