Best Gift Card Exchange Services of 2018

Anna Burleson ·
Entertainment Writer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We spent 60 hours using and researching gift card exchange websites to figure out which ones give you the largest return on investment along with the best selection and easy-to-use extras. If selling your unused and unwanted gift cards online sounds a little sketchy, don’t worry: we also scoured the Better Business Bureau website to see which services have had consumer-reported complaints. It didn’t fare the best in our selection test, but Cardpool is the best gift card exchange out there because you’re guaranteed a return of up to 92 percent when you sell your cards in person or online. It has an A+ from the BBB and an app for shopping or selling on the go. The website is also very easy to use, offers you a ton of payout options and doesn’t charge any extraneous fees, making it our best overall pick.      

Best Overall
Cardpool
Cardpool is an easy-to-use gift card exchange where you’ll get a high return on cards sold online or in-person and can help you to easily find others for sale at steep discounts.
View on Cardpool
Visit Site@Cardpool
Best Overall
Cardpool
Best Value
CardCash
CardCash has one of the best rates of return if you’re looking to sell unwanted gift cards as well as steep discounts on cards for purchase.
View on CardCash
Best Selection
Gift Card Granny
Gift Card Granny got the best grade possible in our selection test and has a vast selection of gift cards.
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Product
Price
Overall Rating
Price
Usability
Shipping
Payout
Return on Investment
Sell Your Cards
Buy Cards
Fees
Selection
BBB Rating
BBB Red Flags
App
Range
Trade Cards
Direct Deposit
PayPal
Amazon Giftcard
Mailed Check
In-Store
Payout Time
Phyiscal Card Shipping Time
Check Price
8.8 10 8.5 7.5 7.5
Up to 92%
Online & In-Store
-
F
A+
-
$25 - $1,000
-
-
5-10 business days
Check Price
8.6 10 6.3 10 8.8
Up to 92%
Online
-
C+
B-
Unresolved Complaints
$1 - Unlimited
-
-
1-2 business days
Check Price
7.4 7 7.8 2.5 10
Up to 92%
Online & In-Store
A+
B+
Not Accredited
1 cent - Unlimited
-
Varies
Check Price
7.2 6.8 10 2.5 6.3
Up to 85%
Online
C+
B+
-
$5 - $2,000
-
-
-
Up to 15 business days
Check Price
6.4 10 5.3 5.8 1.3
Up to 90%
Online
-
A+
C
C
-
$20 - Unlimited
-
-
-
-
-
Up to 15 business days
Check Price
4.3 4.5 5.5 5.8 1.3
-
In-Store Only
-
C+
A+
Not Accredited
-
$10 - $300
-
-
-
-
-
3-10 business days
Check Price
4.1 3 9 2.5
-
-
-
C+
A+
-
-
$15 - $2,000
-
-
-
-
-
-
N/A
Check Price
1.1 2.5 3.8
-
-
F
N/A
N/A
Varies
-
-
-
-
-
-
N/A
Best Overall
Cardpool is easy to use, has an app and gives you a high return on cards you sell online, in-store or at a kiosk.
If you’re selling unwanted gift cards you can expect up to 92 percent of its full value, in line with the best websites we tested. You sell your card directly to Cardpool, so while the return you’ll get for your card varies by retailer, demand and time of year there’s no waiting around for a shopper to purchase your card. You’ll see discounts of up to 35 percent on cards you want to purchase. Cardpool also guarantees cards for 1 year, making it our best overall pick. Cardpool didn’t have any of the cards we were specifically seeking during our selection test, where we looked for cards from Amazon, Walmart and Target. Still, this website has a lot to choose from. It’s easy to browse the website or free mobile app and once you’ve selected a retailer you can see how much each card is discounted. You’ll also see how many gift cards are left in any given amount from any given retailer as well as whether it’s a physical or digital card. As with all gift card exchanges, availability and discount changes almost daily. The other reason we really liked Cardpool is the speedy shipping. If you’re selling a gift card you don’t want, you can expect payment in 5-10 business days and you’ll get physical gift cards you purchase in 3-7. With a seamless, intuitive website and great discounts, Cardpool is the best gift card exchange out there.
Pros
  • You can sell or trade cards online, at kiosks or at cashier-assisted locations.
  • It has an A+ from the BBB.
  • You can get up to 92 percent of the value of your gift card when selling.
Cons
  • It got an F in our selection test.
  • Cards must have $25 to sell them.
  • No direct deposit or PayPal
Visit SiteCardpool
Read the full review
Best Value
CardCash is a top-rated gift card exchange site that makes it clear how much of a discount you will receive.
The discount information appears once you select a retailer and browse by dollar amount. A price drop notification at the top of the page also tips you off to gift cards with particularly big discounts. For example, we saw Nike gift cards for almost 10 percent off during testing. If you're looking to sell unwanted gift cards you can earn up to 92 percent of their value, among the most of the websites we tested. You can also choose between direct deposit, PayPal or a mailed check for your payout, or simply swap one card for another. CardCash gift cards are guaranteed for 45 days, so in that time frame you'll get a refund if the card you ordered comes from the wrong retailer or in the wrong amount. The Better Business Bureau gave CardCash a B- rating, noting users having problems with cards expiring 45 days after purchase. CardCash recommends you use the gift card before the 45 days is up to stay within the guarantee period. Founded in 2009, CardCash carries gift cards from a ton of retailers. Availability varies day to day and the website earned a lukewarm C+ grade on our selection test, but generally you can expect to have about 1,100 retailers to choose from according to the website.
Pros
  • Card discounts are displayed up-front.
  • There is an app.
  • Payout only takes up to two days.
Cons
  • The BBB reports unresolved complaints regarding cards expiring.
  • It has the second-lowest BBB rating of the sites we tested.
  • Cards are only guaranteed for 45 days.
Visit SiteCardCash
Read the full review
Best Selection
To gauge how good the selection was for each website we tested, we looked for three common retailers: Target, Amazon and Walmart. Gift Card Granny had all three.
The website earned one of only two A+ grades in our tests. Just a cursory glance at their home page reveals they’ve got a lot to pick from including Subway, Fandango, IKEA and Nike. Take note though; you won’t get physical gift cards from this website as Gift Card Granny deals solely in electronic gift cards. The upside to this is you won’t have to wait for a card to come to you in the mail. Gift Card Granny is also a great place to sell your unwanted gift cards. You’ll get up to a 92 percent return and the transaction can take place online or in a Gift Card Granny store. The only downside to the in-person trade is that there aren’t any Gift Card Granny stores in rural areas. That being said, this website has the largest variety of payout options when you sell a gift card. You can opt for direct deposit, PayPal, a check in the mail or swap your unwanted card for another gift card you’ll actually use. The Gift Card Granny app is another way you can buy, sell or trade gift cards on the go. It's free and the layout is very similar to the desktop version so there's no learning curve. Whether you use the app or your home computer you can earn reward points that can translate to free gift cards. You'll get 200 points just for creating an account and once you're up to 1,000 points you'll get a free gift card.
Pros
  • Got an A+ in our selection test.
  • Has the most payout methods of the sites we tested.
  • You get up to 92 percent of the full value of the cards you sell.
Cons
  • Has a B+ but is not accredited by the BBB.
  • Stores are only located in major cities.
  • Only deals with electronic gift cards.
Visit SiteGift Card Granny
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Best Shopper Guarantee
Raise’s one-year money back guarantee assures you won’t get duped by any dishonest gift card sellers.
The guarantee means Raise will refund you if the card you get isn’t active or has an inaccurate balance. They also cover it if you get the wrong card entirely or if a physical card isn’t in your hands 30 days after you buy it, though shipping time typically takes 3-14 days. Aside from this great guarantee, Raise has an easy to use app and has no flagged problems with the Better Business Bureau, earning a B+ rating. You’ll get up to 85 percent of the value of any card you sell and while it’s not the best return on investment of the websites we tested, it’s still relatively high. You can get your payout conveniently through direct deposit or PayPal or if you’re a little old fashioned, a check in the mail.
Pros
  • There is a mobile app.
Cons
  • You must pay an extra fee if you want to be paid via a mailed check.
Visit SiteRaise
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Best Website Design
Gift Card Spread’s website is airy, easy to use and frankly fun to look at!
This website gets straight to the point of buying or selling gift cards without any unnecessary ads or complicated instructions. The option to buy or sell gift cards is displayed clearly at the top of the home page along with a group of best-selling gift cards. When browsing cards for sale, the value, price and discount is the first thing you see. If you don't want to buy right away you can easily add certain gift cards to your wish list, which is easy to find at the top of the web page as well. To sell unwanted gift cards you just have to enter the card's information and submit it. An explanation of how the process works is written on the page in easy to digest paragraphs. You submit your card, get a response within 24 hours, set up how you'd like to get paid and get your payout in up to 10 business days.
Pros
  • The website is very easy to use.
Cons
  • No app.
Visit SiteGift Card Spread
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

We’ve been reviewing gift card exchange websites since 2010 and we know it can seem like a rollercoaster. The payout you get for selling a card and the discounts available when buying them seem to fluctuate almost daily.

Mike Jack, the general manager at Cardpool, said that’s because it’s a supply and demand market. The more of a certain card a website has, the more of a discount they’ll offer on it. On the other hand, if there is a high demand for a small number of cards, the discount will be less.

“If you have smaller merchants that aren’t as popular, or they’re regionally based – maybe they specialize in BBQ equipment –  people may only need that every once in a while and the discount we buy and resell it at would be higher,” he said.

The gift card market is massive. Physical cards are growing at an annual rate of 6 percent but digital cards are doing the same at a rate of 200 percent, according to CardCash.

Jack said with so many people using gift cards, exchange websites like Cardpool can be very useful.

“At the end of the day it’s getting the right brands in the right hands,” he said.

Marina Hodges, chair of the Retail Gift Card Association said the group is made up of about 90 members representing retailers, card producers, gift card exchanges and others. She said opinions differ by retailer, but most are in support of exchanges.

“If I’m a retailer it’s great for me because then the person who has my card is going to shop with me versus throw it in a drawer,” Hodges said.

Tips & Tricks
The RGCA was founded in 2008, and its goal is to grow and preserve the gift card industry. At the same time, the group recognizes the risks associated with using third-party resellers like gift card exchange websites. In an official statement on the RGCA website, users are encouraged to educate themselves on gift card exchanges before using one. It has several tips to keep in mind while shopping for gift cards to ensure you're getting a good deal and avoiding fraud:

  • Use exchange services that verify the balance of a gift card before selling it.
  • Make sure you can track your payout method through the gift card exchange website.
  • Use gift card exchanges with buyer guarantees that are in effect even after you receive your card.
  • Never give out gift card information over the phone to someone claiming to be with the police, a utility company, the government or any other third party. These agencies do not accept payment via gift card.
  • Store your cards in a secure place.
  • Until you’re ready to use the card, leave the scratch-off material on the PIN number on the back of the card.
  • Use gift cards quickly.
  • Read the fine print. Make sure gift cards don't have any extraneous fees.

How We Tested

We went through every part of these gift card exchange websites to see how well they work and whether they’re worth your time. We bought 20 gift cards and found out how much we could get in return for selling them. We also checked out how big the discounts were on cards available for purchase. When it was an option, we also downloaded the app to make sure it worked as advertised and while the majority of gift cards out there are digital, we also looked at shipping rates for shoppers looking for a physical gift card.

The number and variety of retailers you can buy gift cards on exchange websites changes all the time. Instead of trying to keep our thumb on how many individual retailers were available, we searched for three big players – Target, Amazon and Walmart – at the same time on the same day across all the websites we tested. We then assigned a letter grade corresponding to whether the website had cards available for purchase from those retailers.

We also used the Better Business Bureau to make sure these gift card exchange websites are legitimate. The BBB is a consumer watchdog group which assigns ratings A+ through F to companies based on information from business and customer complaints. These ratings aren’t a guarantee, but they’re helpful in seeing whether businesses and websites have had consistent problems or consumer complaints.

Prepaid vs. Gift Cards

A gift card is essentially like cash you can only spend at a specific store. You use the card until the balance is gone and then discard it, though some retailers allow you to add more money to the card so you can continue spending with it. Not all stores allow you to reload existing cards, and there's a chance the store could give you a new gift card every time you want to add money. One red flag to look for are fees, as gift cards shouldn’t have any. If a retailer tries to charge you a fee for using a gift card, we recommend using another method of payment or simply shopping elsewhere.

Prepaid cards are designed to be reloadable, and as such, they sometimes carry fees. These vary by card, so it’s important to read the fine print if you go this route. These cards are often available from credit card companies like Visa and can be used on everyday expenses. Wallet Hub found prepaid cards can cost a person up to $311 per year in fees though, so if you can, you should opt for cards directly from a bank because they have fewer fees and a more secure guarantee. Or, you can avoid this quagmire altogether and opt for a gift card. If the person can't find anything at the store it's good at, they can use a gift card exchange to swap it for one they’ll love!

How Much Do Gift Card Exchanges Cost?

If you’re selling an unwanted gift card, exchange websites take a cut. It depends on the website, card you’re selling and overall demand, but most take 15 percent or less. If you’re buying gift cards you can expect to see discounts of up to 35 percent, meaning you’d pay $65 or more for a $100 gift card. This too depends on the retailer and demand for that card.

Selection
Because users are buying and selling cards all the time it’s difficult to say exactly how “good” one website’s selection is compared to another. While our tests looked for three well-known gift card retailers across all websites, we acknowledge this is flawed because those cards could reappear or disappear from any site at any time. What we’d recommend is to shop around; if you can’t find the gift card you want on one website, you might be able to find it on another.

The Fine Print
While you’re shopping around, make sure the website you’re using is reputable. We made sure all of the websites we reviewed were secure, but we also found some sketchier options out there we wouldn’t recommend. Make sure wherever you’re shopping has responsive customer service representatives and never give out your credit card number on websites that aren’t secure. Secure websites have a small padlock symbol in the address bar, sometimes accompanied by the word “secure.” We’d also recommend making sure wherever you’re shopping has some kind of buyer’s guarantee so you’re protected when buying from secondary sellers.

Holiday Shopping
It might not feel like winter yet, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays. Giftcards.com says the best gift card deals happen right before the holidays in December because retailers know the closer it is to Christmas, the more likely it is shoppers will turn to gift cards as a viable gift option. Some retailers offer "BOGO" deals, where if you buy a gift card you can get another one for free or at a discounted rate. Other companies give you a coupon or discount on additional items if you buy a gift card. Retailers which offered these kinds of deals in 2017 include Panera Bread, Chipotle, JCPenny, Topgolf and Cheesecake Factory. You'll need to buy the cards directly from the retailer to get these deals, so be sure to check out your favorite stores and see what they have to offer right around Thanksgiving. It's extremely rare for merchants to sell their own gift cards at a discount, but that's where gift card exchange websites come into play. Reputable gift card exchanges offer retailer cards at a discount, saving you money to put toward more Christmas presents.