How to buy discount gift cards and save a bundle

Learn more about how you can make money from your unused gift cards.

Gift card exchange sites are places where you can buy and sell gift cards. If you’re unfamiliar with the gift card exchange craze, here’s the rundown of how you can benefit:

●     Selling - You can sell unused gift cards on these sites for cash or other gift cards. $1 billion gift cards went unused in 2013 compared to $750 million in 2014. Before your card is one of many that go to waste, you can sell it and get your hands on some money instead. 

●     Buying - Gift card exchanges also sell gift cards for less than their value. Say you want to buy an iTunes gift card for your cousin Joe’s birthday. You may be able to find an iTunes gift card with $100 on it that’s selling for $95 or a 5% discount.

There are quite a few gift card exchange websites you can use to find deals.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the popular gift card exchange sites to compare savings and how each one works. We’ll also dig into the major gift card search engine, Gift Card Granny, to review the process of using it to shop for and sell gift cards.

Buying gift cards

Most sites allow you to buy both e-cards and physical gift cards. E-cards are delivered to you by email after purchase. Physical gift cards can take from several days to over a week to get to you through snail mail.

A factor that can make shopping for gift cards tedious is finding a site that has the card inventory that you need. Gift card availability varies from seller to seller. Some sites have loads of cards you can buy, and others have very few on sale from restaurants and stores you may never visit.

One very important to thing to mention before we compare savings is that customers have complained about buying cards from popular gift card sellers that didn’t work or had no money on them when they arrived. This is why gift card exchanges have money-back guarantee policies. 

If you buy gift cards, you must choose an exchange site that has a money-back guarantee that lasts at least several weeks. This way you have enough time to receive the card, test the card, and request a refund if it doesn’t work. We’ve included the guarantee period in our savings comparison below.


How gift card discounts compare from site to site

For our shopping example, we want to buy a Macy’s gift card and we want the card to have as close to $50 on it as possible because it’s for a gift.

We searched for deals on CardCash/ABC Gift Cards, Cardpool, GiftCardBin, Giftcard Zen, and Raise because each of these six exchanges has no fees, a money-back guarantee, a variety of cards for sale, and a user-friendly website.

Here’s what we found:

MagnifyMoney Gift Card Exchange Comparison: Purchasing a $50 Macy’s gift card

 

Seller

Card Value

You Pay

Savings

Payment

Guarantee

Delivery

CardCash/ABC Gift Cards*

$43.90 Macy’s card

$38.08

13.25%

Credit cards, Bitcoin, PayPal

45-day guarantee

24 hours for e-cards, up to 7 days for physical cards

Cardpool

$50 Macy’s card

$45.50

9%

Debit, credit cards

180-day guarantee

1 business day for e-cards, 3 to 7 business days for physical cards

GiftCardBin

$50 Macy’s card

$43.48

13.04%

Credit cards

3-week guarantee

1 to 2 business days for e-cards, physical cards ship in 1 to 2 business days

Giftcard Zen

$44.07 Macy’s card

$41.87

5%

Credit cards, PayPal

100-day guarantee

Sent immediately for e-cards, 3 to 10 business days for physical cards

Raise

$50 Macy’s card

$46.77

6.5%

Credit cards, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, PayPal

1-year guarantee

24 hours for e-cards, 3 to 14 business days for physical cards

*CardCash and ABC Gift Cards are the same company but can offer different savings rates on gift cards. For Macy’s the savings happens to be the same.

ABC Gift Cards and CardCash take the cake for the best percentage off discount in this example at 13.25% savings.

But GiftCardBin gives you a Macy’s gift card with exactly $50 on it. The person receiving the gift will probably be more appreciative of getting a full $50 on the card than $43.90 (unless it’s a gag gift).

Overall, in this example we can get between 5% to 13% off of our Macy’s gift card.

Savings will vary depending on the type of card you’re looking for. Even the inventory and discount can change for Macy’s cards from day to day, but this gives you an idea of what’s offered.

Gift Card Granny — The Gift Card Exchange Aggregate

If you want to search a number of gift card exchange websites all at once, Gift Card Granny is a great source. The shopping experience on Gift Card Granny is like shopping for hotels and flights on Kayak.

You type in the gift card you’re looking to buy or sell, and the Gift Card Granny search engine pulls up deals from various gift card sites, including sites we mentioned above.


Is buying discount gift cards really worth the hassle?

Some people will undoubtedly find that going through tedious sign-up forms and verifications for minimal savings (i.e., a $1.50 discount on a $15 iTunes gift card) may not be a good use of their time. Companies don’t want to get burned in the transaction, so they take extra precautions to confirm that your form of payment will work before releasing a gift card to you.

It’s an entirely different story if you can get something like 20% off of a $200 iTunes gift card. The $20 savings could be well worth the wait but only if the verification process is secure. Taking photos of your credit card or ID is still a little much even for $20.

As for people looking to sell unused gift cards, be aware again that this isn’t quick money (unless the site you exchange with has physical locations). The exchange website will need to confirm your gift card balance, which can take several business days, before they’re willing to send you cash or another card of your choosing. 

MagnifyMoney is a price comparison and financial education website, founded by former bankers who use their knowledge of how the system works to help you save money.

MagnifyMoney


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