GiftCards.com began in 1999 as Directcertificates.com. In 2003, the company began focusing their efforts on selling Visa gift cards before broadening the scope of the business in 2008 to include more support staff and more offerings. Blackhawk Network then bought the website in 2016 with the aim of turning it into one of the leading gift card websites out there. Blackhawk Network also owns Cardpool, which is where you’re redirected if you’re trying to sell any unwanted gift cards.
This website is unique because you can purchase gift cards at their full dollar amount or at a discount. There are options to shop by electronic or plastic cards, and the maximum discount for either medium is listed on the search page as you scroll through stores. Discounts vary by retailer and by day, but we saw cards available for at least 22 percent off, which is a decent discount but not the highest we saw in our testing. You can also opt to buy gift cards from a lot of retailers at full value. If you buy a physical gift card, it will arrive in the mail in 4-9 business days.
Gift card availability can change daily, so for our tests we looked for gift cards from Walmart, Target and Amazon on the same day within roughly the same time period across all of the gift card exchange websites we tested. While GiftCards.com had these cards available for purchase at their full value, they didn't have any at a discount. Since the whole point of using these websites is to save money, we didn't count the gift cards you can buy at face value and the website therefore was the only one we tested to earn an F in this category. We figure if you want to buy a $10 gift card for $10, you'll probably pick one up at your local convenience store or big box store. Federal law prohibits cards from expiring for at least 5 years from the date that the card was purchased so if you do buy cards from GiftCards.com, you don’t have to worry about expiration dates.
If you use this website frequently you should check out the rewards program. For every 100 points you earn you'll save $1 on future purchases. You can only accumulate points by buying gift cards from qualifying retailers, referring a friend, using the app and linking your Facebook account. And speaking of the app, it's free, but it's called "Buy Personalized Gift Cards" in the app store, so we almost didn't find it. Take note, it only has a 2.7 out of 5 star rating on the app store, but we didn’t encounter any problems while using it. However, the app only gives you access to buying Visa, Mastercard, and retail store gift cards at full face value. If you want discounted cards sold by people like you to the website and then marketed at a price cut, you’ll need to use the desktop version.
GiftCards.com sells Visa and Mastercard gift cards whereas most of the other websites we tested don't. Still, these gift cards all have purchasing fees which vary based on the amount on the card. Cards with lower balances have a lower processing fee: cards carrying $10-$74.99 cost an extra $2.95, a rate that increases to eventually max out at $6.95 on a $350-$500 card. Personalizing these gift cards with a photo will also cost you an additional $1. Should you go the electronic route and don't order a physical card, you'll still be charged a fee.
In short, we found this website lacking because it’s more of a gift card retailer than a place where you can find great discounts on gift cards. It’s not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and lacks a rating entirely.