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How to Get Cash for Gift Cards

Dec. 18, 2012
3 mins
A woman uses her credit card for online shopping

Gift cards are a great invention that have simplified holiday gift-giving. After all, who wouldn’t prefer a shopping trip to their favourite store rather than an ugly sweater?

The downside - we often neglect to cash in our gift cards. (I just bought something at a bookstore and days later found a gift card from the same retailer stashed in my wallet.) One U.S. study found that as many as 25% of gift cards are never redeemed. They’re lost, damaged or they linger in the bottom of wallets and purses, sadly forgotten.

Some families are even sitting on hundreds of dollars of value in gift cards! However, there's good news for those who can't get organized or motivated to cash those cards in -  a whole new slew of companies have emerged that allow you to get cash for gift cards from your home computer. Here are our reviews of some of the most popular.

Cardswap: Turn Your Cards Into Cash

This Canadian company provides a one-stop-shop for gift cards that encourages repeat visits and purchases. First, it provides an extensive selection of cards to buy online, which is great for those who buy cards in bulk or are looking to avoid lineups. You also collect points when you buy which you can redeem for purchases.

As well, you can cash in cards you have in hand for up to 92% of their value.

Giftah: Grab Your Cards for Less

Another locally founded company, this site allows you to buy cards at a discounted rate from the site or via an eBay link. (For example, the deals range from saving just 75 cents on a card or getting a Jack Astor’s gift card valued at $25 for just $18.25.) You can create a wishlist to find discounted cards.

This site will also give you 92% back on your card's value should you choose to swap it in.

Gift Card Fraud is Real

It may not be widely known, but there have been cases of gift card fraud. Thieves can duplicate the magnetic strip on cards and then use the balance, rendering your original card worthless. Be wary of this possibility when buying cards from these public sites, and do your homework on a swap site before buying to ensure it's not fraudulent.

Keep an Eye on Expiries

Some gift cards do have expiry dates and limits. Always read the fine print before you buy a card for yourself or as a gift. And make sure when you give a gift card to someone else you truly consider just what that person wants and where they shop. The best gift card is truly one a person will use, not need to redeem later for cash.

PS: What's better than getting cash back for a gift card? How about scoring one for FREE? Right now, you'll get a $100 gift card for your choice of four retailers when approved for either the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard® credit card or MBNA Platinum Plus® MasterCard® credit card.

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