Since gift cards are the second most popular graduation gift behind cash, it’s time to learn how to buy discount gift cards. On the flip side, almost 25% of gift cards go unused, which means we need to know how to sell gift cards we don’t want. Both these things can be accomplished using a set of reputable websites.
I advise against buying gift cards on eBay, as you can’t verify their value and need to wholly trust the seller. These sites I mention to you have decent ratings with the BBB, get good online reviews and can be trusted to deliver on what they claim – both in buying discount gift cards and selling unwanted ones.
How to buy discount gift cards at GiftCards.com
GiftCards.com sells discount gift cards and will buy an unwanted gift card from you. Buying gift cards is straight forward. Click on “Discounted Gift Cards” in the upper right-hand corner, then “View all available gift cards”. You’ll find discounts ranging from 10-15% (although they claim that discount can be as much as 30%, I didn’t find any at that level).
These are great for gifts, but also for your own personal use. Restaurants like Fogo de Chao never issue coupons; if you can buy a discount gift card for the restaurant, then it’s like saving 10-15% on your bill. Or, buy JC Penney cards and use them alongside sales and other coupons as you do back-to-school or Christmas shopping.
How to sell gift cards at GiftCards.com
Instead of having unwanted gift cards go to waste, turn them into cash at GiftCards.com. They buy cards with a balance of $25-$200, that don’t have a pending expiration date and are for a participating merchant. There are hundreds of participating merchants ranging from retail stores to restaurants, coffee shops to book stores – even prepaid Visa and airline gift cards are included. Only gift cards are accepted, not paper certificates or e-mail gift certificates. You can trade in as much as $300 worth of gift cards with GiftCards.com per customer, per household.
To cash in your card, follow these steps:
— Select “Get Cash for your gift cards”
— Enter the information about the gift card(s) you want to sell
— Print the confirmation page and mail it along with your gift card to the provided address. It is recommended that you mail your gift card(s) with tracking or via First Class Insured, especially if you are sending high value or multiple cards.
— Once GiftCards.com receives your gift card and verifies its balance, they will send you a check for the appropriate amount within 48 hours.
Better yet, GiftCards.com will even pay any bill for you using your balance. If you choose the “Pay Bills with Gift Cards” option, complete the steps above, but also include a copy of your bill. Once the card’s balance is verified, they will pay the bill within 24 hours, Monday through Friday. If the bill can be electronically paid, payment will occur in approximately 3 days. If the bill does not accept electronic payment, a check will be mailed to the service provider.
If you want cash faster, you can trade your gift card at GiftCards.com’s partner locations nationwide. These are typically check cashing establishments. I suspect, but am not sure, that you’ll be paid even less when you trade a gift card at one of those stores, since the store likely takes a cut as well.
How to buy discount gift cards at eBillMe.com
eBillMe.com is another option solely for buying discount gift cards. Different from the other sites we’ve mentioned, eBillMe sells cards at their full face value, but offers a percentage of the card’s value back in cash. The cash is deposited into your free eBillMe account and can be paid out via check or as a credit in your eBillMe coupon that can be used for payment at various online retailers (read all about eBillMe’s cash back program).
You earn 5% cash back for each gift card you buy through eBillMe.com, up to $10.00 per gift card purchase with a maximum of $200 cash back per person per 12 months. But, you can earn double cash back, that’s 10% of every gift card purchase, when you shop on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
I mention this as an option, even though it is a cash back-type program because eBillMe.com sells gift cards that aren’t always available at GiftCards.com and PlasticJungle.com.
How you pay at eBillMe.com
The other caveat of making a purchase at eBillMe.com is their payment process. They are an online payment processor that allows you to shop online without using a credit card. It’s actually pretty cool, especially for those that are leery of online security.
Instead of inputting a credit card number you provide information about where you bank, assuming your bank is one of the hundreds that participate in eBillMe.com, and will receive an e-bill in your bank account. You make payment of the e-bill to your financial institution and voila, you have purchased something online without divulging an uncomfortable amount of personal financial information. There is no fee from eBillMe or from banks to use the online bill pay option. (Watch this demo video to see for yourself how eBillMe works)
To learn more about eBillMe and their gift card mall, read their Frequently Asked Questions.
Your turn: What experiences do you have with buying and selling gift cards online, whether through any of these sites or a different one?