Raise is our top choice of the best gift card exchange sites. The layout is clean and modern and it's clear where to go to buy, sell and earn rewards. The free mobile app has the same feel and is equally easy to use, but what we really liked about this exchange website is the shopper guarantee. For an entire year from the day you purchase a gift card, Raise will refund your purchase price if the card you've been waiting for fails to arrive, it has an incorrect balance or is just simply not the card you ordered. Of course, if you've spent a portion of the gift card before something goes wrong you'll only be refunded the remaining amount on the card. Still, this is a rock-solid guarantee to offer shoppers.
Raise: Selling your gift card
- Promises less than competitors (but still made generous offers)
- Not the best option if selling a physical card
At first glance, selling cards on Raise isn’t quite as good a bargain as it could be. While other websites like CardCash claim to give you up to 92 percent of the full value of your unwanted card, Raise takes a heftier 15 percent commission off your selling price. This means you can only get 85 percent of your card's value, and that's if you sell it at its full value, which is highly unlikely. If you're selling a physical card, Raise also takes either 1 percent of the value of the card or $1.00, whichever is greater. You'll be told whether you need to ship your physical gift card or if it can be converted to an electronic card, but if you need to mail it you'll need to do so within 72 hours of it selling.
With this in mind, we tested how much we would get for a $20 Walmart card and were pleasantly surprised to be offered $16.92. If you’re selling an eCard we’d suggest checking out how much Raise would give you for your money, as this offer is right up there with the most generous we’ve seen.
If you do sell your card you can get paid via direct deposit, PayPal or a check in the mail. Don't pick the latter option because there is a $30 fee for doing so and it can take up to 15 days, one of the slowest payout times of the websites we tested. There's no way it's worth it.
Raise: Buying gift cards
- Impressive selection of gift cards at competitive prices
- 1 Year Money-Back Guarantee
In our tests we looked for gift cards from Walmart, American Eagle and Macy’s. The availability of gift cards fluctuates all the time but Raise had all of these gift cards in stock, which is better than most of the gift card exchange companies we tried. Overall selection is vast though, with cards from Airbnb, Nintendo, Sear’s and Nike all available from just a cursory glance at the home page.
Once you pick a retailer you can see what format the gift card is in, its value, purchase price and the percentage at which you're getting a discount. This up-front listing style makes it easy to get the best deal on any gift card. The discounts on our selected brands were modest, but in line with what we’d seen elsewhere. Macy’s had 3.5% off, American Eagle had a discount of 5% and you could save 0.5% at Walmart - not a game changer, but marginally more than we’d seen on sites such as Cardcash. If you buy a physical card it can take 3-14 days to get to you in the mail. This shipping time is a little long compared to some of the other websites we tested that guarantee your card within a week.
There is also a rewards program to take advantage of called Raise Pay. Similar to Gift Card Granny, it allows you to earn cash back on cards from participating retailers, which you can then spend on other gift cards. It’s a little bit like earning free in-store credit in that $1 of Raise Cash is the same as having $1 to spend on the website.
One of the features we loved from Raise was their 1 Year Money-Back Guarantee, which promises money back on inactive cards or cards which had a different value than originally promised. They also offer a 90 day refund policy if your card isn’t received within 30 days. Compared to the 45 day guarantee of Cardcash, this is a great promise from Raise.
Raise: Customer reviews
- A rating from the Better Business Bureau
- The best of the gift card exchange companies we’ve looked at
A lot of gift card exchange companies have a problem with customer complaints and are penalised by the BBB. However, you can feel more confident shopping with Raise because it has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau, the best of the gift card exchange companies we’ve looked at.
That being said, there's an increasing amount of negative reviews against Raise. It can be complicated to buy and resell gift cards, and sometimes the odd hiccup is inevitable. However, many of the complaints come from people who have been shopping at Raise without issues for years. If this is a trend that continues, it'll be reflected in our ranking.
Raise is one of the better gift card exchange companies we’ve seen. It does it all; buys and sells gift cards and gives cashback to loyal customers. Although it promises up to 85% of your gift card’s original value to sellers, less than the 92% offered by Cardcash and Cardpool, the actual offers Raise made us are comparable with these other retailers.
Raise has an app and a compelling, easy-to-use website. Coupled with a top ranking from the BBB, we think Raise is a front-runner among gift card exchange companies. We'll be following closely to see how Raise responds to recent complaints, but it's in danger of losing the top spot.