Why Use a Gift Card Exchange Service?
The top performers in our review are Cardpool, the Gold Award winner; Raise, the Silver Award winner; and Card Hub, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a gift card exchange service that meets your needs.
Whether it is your birthday or a holiday, you always find yourself opening that one present: a gift card you know you will never use. Rather than keeping it in your wallet hoping against hope you'll find something, anything, to buy from a retailer you never patronize, you can sell your gift card. Gift card exchange services are happy to take unwanted cards off your hands and you, in turn, can use the money for something you want.
These services typically sell gift cards as well. Gift card exchange services make the selling-and-buying process simple and convenient, and you can end up with something you can really use. In addition, this is highly helpful if you and your friends like to exchange gift cards at holidays.
In our gift card exchange review, we rated the leading gift card exchange services to help you select the best option.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, wherever possible, to evaluate all services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the units in our comparison [either on loan or through retail purchase or whatever is the case]. The companies had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
When selling your gift card, look for services that offer a percentage close to the original value of the card. The best gift card exchanges offer free shipping and reimburse you quickly. When buying, look for gift cards that are highly discounted from the card’s balance.
For giving as well as receiving purposes, you might want to take a look Gift Baskets and our Online Flower Delivery sites. Both of these highlight vendors who offer gift cards for a variety of goods. To learn more, read our articles on gift card exchange services.
Gift Card Exchange: What We Evaluated, What We Found
Essentially, most major gift card exchange sites offer similar services, but they differ greatly in policies and features. Most sites offer to buy, sell or exchange your gift cards as well as offer a multitude of discounted gift cards to various retailers. The best gift card services offer discounts on gift cards that translate into savings for you.
The buying and selling options are what set one site apart from another. If the site has favorable policies and few restrictions, it improves the likelihood that you can sell your card for the maximum amount. Additionally, a site’s features, website design and support section all serve as factors in determining the best gift card exchange service for you to use.
Buying & Selling
In order to see which site offers the best rate, we sold a $50 Walmart gift card to each exchange service. Walmart’s gift cards offer a close percentage to the maximum payout for most sites, so it clearly shows which sites generally offer the most money for a gift card. No company pays 100 percent of the balance on the card, but most will pay at least 90 percent. Companies vary in this area due to their card inventory, the market value of the card and the process by which they buy and sell gift cards.
Gift card exchange sites vary in the type of cards they buy and sell. The best sites buy and sell a gift card in any format. All of the sites we reviewed accept the standard plastic gift card. However, selling that card requires shipping fees, postage materials and a trip to the post office. Then you have to wait for the service to get your card before they mail you a payment. Some sites will take the code off a plastic gift card and convert it to an electronic gift card that can be used online.
If you know where to exchange gift cards for cash, this is the more preferable method for selling because the transaction happens immediately. Some services also deal with mobile gift cards, but most do not. A mobile gift card consists of a code that shows on mobile devices, and it generally works the same way a plastic gift card would at any store. It combines the best features of standard and electronic gift cards.
Each site has its own set of restrictions. Most have a different maximum and minimum exchange amount, which can be troublesome if you have either a low- or high-quantity gift card. Some sites have buying and selling fees that can take a substantial percentage of your payment. The best services do not have these restrictions.
After you have sold your card, most sites will give you a few different payment options, including cash, check, PayPal, Amazon.com gift cards or company credit. Some will even allow you to exchange one gift card for another. When buying a gift card, look for sites that offer large discounts. The higher the discount, the more money you save by using their services. The maximum discount percentage refers to the most discounted card on each company’s site.
Gift card exchange services share similar features that help make the gift card swap a smooth process. Most of the sites refuse to buy gift cards with expiration dates. While this limits the kind of gift cards you can sell, it also means that there is no risk in buying a gift card that will expire soon either.
If, though, you do not find the gift card you are looking for, most sites allow you to sign up for notifications. Once the site has your card, they will email you. Additionally, look for sites that offer free shipping. Whether you are buying or selling gift cards, most companies pay for shipping or reimburse you. Many sites even offer bulk buying and selling programs where you can purchase a large quantity of cards at even more discounted prices.
The best gift card exchange sites are the ones with the highest variety of merchants. However, without an effective filtering process, finding a specific gift card can be nearly impossible. Most sites have a general search engine and a retailer search option so you can find a card to a specific place. Some sites take it a step further and offer searches by category, price and discount. The more search options, the easier it is to find that perfect gift card.
Help & Support
The transaction process requires both trust and credibility. A guarantee confirms that in the event something goes wrong, you will get your money back. Besides offering a money-back guarantee, we evaluated companies based on whether they offer a FAQs page on their websites to address common problems and solutions. Additionally, the best sites have several different forms of communication. Whether they offer phone, email or an online contact form, you want to be able to contact the company with ease.
Our top-ranked gift card exchange service, Cardpool, provides you with options to sell unwanted gift cards, and you get the flexibility of buying either plastic or electronic gift cards. In addition, this is the only gift card exchange in our review that handles mobile gift cards.
Raise, our second-ranked gift card service, lets you search for cards by price and discount. Company representatives are available by phone if you encounter any problems, which is not always the case with gift card exchange businesses.
Card Hub, the third-highest service in our ranking, charges no buying or selling fee, and you can deal with cash or PayPal payments. This company also presents numerous search functions: general, retailer, category, price and discount.
If you like buying or selling gift cards in bulk and are looking for a gift card exchange with an enormous inventory of choices, you might investigate Junkcard.com. It presents a few limitations, but you get a selection of more than 750 retailers. If you want to exchange your gift card for another gift card that you really prefer, take a look at CardCash.com. This gift card exchange service also provides more payment options than the others we reviewed.
Your unwanted gift cards can do more than weigh down your wallet or collect dust in a drawer. Instead, sell them to a gift card exchange service. Whether you sell or trade your unwanted gift cards for another, you then get the chance to get something you desire and can use, which is what the person who gave you the card intended all along.