Clark Howard: Unload unloved holiday gift cards

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Did you receive gift cards you don’t want this past holiday season? Here is one way you can turn them into cash.

Gift cards are extremely popular to get and give as gifts. But often, you don’t really like the restaurant or retailer where the gift card is from. Do you just leave it sitting unloved in a drawer somewhere? No! Try selling it online and turn it into cash.

Websites like,, and offer you the opportunity to unload unwanted gift cards. Sellers can typically expect to make about 70-80 cents back on the dollar. Buyers, meanwhile, can find gift cards discounted up to 30 percent off the face value. The websites themselves make money on the buy/sell spread.

The cards are typically guaranteed to work for up to 180 days after purchase (depending on the e-tailer).

So don’t let that unloved plastic gather dust in a drawer this season. Discount gift card sites can save or make you some big money.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is even experimenting with its own gift card exchange program. They’ll basically give you an e-gift card of their own in exchange for your unwanted gift cards from other merchants. Then they take those gift cards and sell them via CardCash Exchange.

You have to do this online to take advantage of Wal-Mart’s offer; it can’t be done in stores. Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Enter the merchant name and card balance from the gift card you want to get rid of.
  2. Enter card number and pin and some basic customer information.
  3. An eGift Card will be emailed to you in a printable format once your order has been approved.

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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