How to Sell Gift Cards Online
Don't dump unwanted gift cards Have a gift card you're itching to sell or trade?
There's a site for that. However, it pays to do a little homework before you pack up your gift cards and send them on their merry way.
These days, "consumers are doing everything they can to find the best deals," says Rebekka Rea, executive director of the Retail Gift Card Association, an industry group representing merchants that offer retail-branded gift cards.
Gift card exchange sites, which allow consumers to buy, trade or sell gift cards with the company that runs the site, are a great resource, she says.
Want to get the best bargain for your gift cards? Here are five tips to help.
Decide if you really need to sell Gift cards are good for at least five years, thanks to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. And retailer-based gift cards often charge no fees, says Hillary Mendelsohn, author of "thepurplebook" series of shopping guides and founder of thepurplebook.com.
So, you might be able to hang onto the card until you need it.
If it's a retailer gift card, you also might be able to return it to the store for cash, says Kathy Grannis, media relations director with the National Retail Federation.
"Some retailers even have a policy that the gift card can be refunded if the buyer can bring the receipt to the store," she says. "And some retailers will provide a refund (to cardholders), if there's a receipt."
By returning the card, you'll get 100 percent of its value. You won't pay any fees or have to find another card that you want instead. Best of all, you can use that money to treat yourself to something you really want.
The downside: Unless the giver also tucks the receipt in with the card, (or the store doesn't require one), your gift giver will know something's up when you ask for the gift card receipt.
Stick with well-known businesses It's one thing to swap gift cards at the office with someone you know and see every day. It's another to go online and trade or sell gift cards to an individual you've never met or put their check into your bank account.
"There's a lot of fraud involved in that," says Kwame Kuadey, CEO and founder of GiftCardRescue.com, a site where consumers can buy or sell gift cards. "You're going to mail your $100 card to someone, hoping they'll mail a $100 card back."
Instead, he says, stick with business-to-consumer sites where you can thoroughly vet the site, its policies and its customer service record before you send off your cards.
For gift cards, "my advice is to steer clear of" the consumer-to-consumer auction sites, Rea says. And do your homework, she says. Consumers "need to do their due diligence."
Business-to-consumer exchange sites are a great resource, and dealing with a business rather than an individual provides "an added layer of protection for consumers," Rea says. Two smart moves: Deal with well-vetted, respected sites and research before you sell.
Look for sites that offer a phone number to call if you have problems, says Mendelsohn.
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