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The Best Gift Card Exchange
Ultimate Buyers Guide

The Best Gift Card Exchange

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If you're looking to buy or sell gift cards, the best gift card exchange sites are user-friendly, safe, and save you money. Online gift cards are perfect for birthdays, holidays, and all kinds of celebrations.

Gift cards used to be exclusive, where you could only spend a gift card at a particular store or company. With the introduction of Visa and MasterCard gift cards, you can redeem a gift card at nearly any location.

All the best gift card exchange sites solve two key issues - Where is the best place to sell my gift cards? And where is the best place to buy gift cards? In my research, I made sure that security was at the top of my list. I also looked at features, inventory selection, and fees.

I have reviewed the best places to get gift cards, so you can see who ranks highest for buying, selling, and exchanging gift cards online.

The Best Places to Buy Gift Cards: Our Top Picks

Cardpool.com Gift Cards Review

  • Pros
  • Refer a friend reward ($5)
  • Buy or sell gift cards
  • Extensive inventory
  • No fees or expirations
  • 100-day purchase guarantee
  • Cons
  • Mobile and electronic gift cards non-refundable
  • No Visa or MasterCard gift cards

Cardpool works as a type of gift card marketplace. There, you can sell your unwanted cards, buy ones up to 35% off, and never be hassled with fees or expirations. Cardpool has been featured on a number of high profile networks including CNN, ABC, FOX, and NBC.

What's the Process?

The site buys its inventory of gift cards from customers after thoroughly checking their authenticity and verifying their balance. If you want to sell your gift cards to Cardpool, you can expect payment within 1 business day after they receive it-even if they don't have a buyer for it yet. You can sell gift cards for cash and you'll receive a check in the mail.

On the other hand, if you're looking to buy a gift card you can browse their extensive inventory which includes thousands of merchants in a variety of categories. Just to give you a rough idea, they stock cards from:

  • Bath & Body Works
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Armani Exchange
  • CVS
  • Game Stop
  • AMC Theatres

The list goes on but you can easily identify the one you're interested in by using a search function or clicking on the various categories. Also, it's really convenient how they indicate the actual savings percentage directly under the card.

Last but not least, the site even carries electronic gift cards (to be used online only; not physical retail locations) as well as mobile gift cards which can be redeemed in person using a smartphone, tablet, etc.

Cardpool receives an A+ from the Better Business Bureau; they offer USPS free shipping and a 100-day purchase guarantee. This purchase guarantee ensures a full refund of your gift card if for whatever reason you're not satisfied. In addition, their commitment guarantees that your order will be valid at the merchant it's been purchased for, up to 100 days, up to a maximum of $1,000. For selling a gift card, Cardpool.com boasts payments up to 92% for your unwanted cards.

GiftCardMall.com Review

  • Pros
  • Large inventory of retailers and brands
  • Customizable options
  • No expiration on cards
  • No fees after purchase
  • Cons
  • Can't sell cards
  • No MasterCard gift cards
  • Shipping fee on select purchases

You may have seen their kiosks in one of the 180,000 retail stores that they partner with. GiftCardMall.com, operated by Blackhawk Network Holdings, offers consumers the gift cards they want from names like Kohl's, The Home Depot, and other Visa affiliates. You can even buy Amazon e-gift cards with no additional fee.

The homepage is very simple. Underneath the search bar there are only three tabs:

  1. Buy Gift Cards
  2. Visa Gift Cards
  3. For Business

As you can see there's no tab to sell cards, which will disappoint some individuals. The biggest selling feature GiftCardMall.com offers is its ability to customize gift cards with a photo or other one-of-a-kind image. With that being said, they do charge a shipping fee for Visa gift cards exceeding $250 and a purchase fee for all cards. In relation to the other sites who don't charge either of those fees, this strikes us as a big negative.

Another huge disadvantage is the fact that they don't accept returns. All sales are final once purchased, according to the site.

We don't have a ton to say about this site because its offerings are somewhat basic. You can purchase Visa gift cards as well as bulk orders for employees or business partners. Keep in mind, however, that you will pay a purchase fee on each card and all sales are final. Considering how lenient some of the other sites are with their return policy, it is mind boggling that GiftCardMall.com doesn't even permit exchanges, let alone refunds.

GiftCards.com Review

  • Pros
  • No fees
  • Visa, MasterCard, and Discover certified
  • Local merchants
  • Customizable options
  • Group gift cards
  • Cons
  • Fewer brand name gift cards
  • Some negative reviews

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Giftcards.com is a reputable source for Visa, MasterCard, and other brand name gift cards. They have an inventory that covers several popular brands and includes a selection for special events such as anniversaries, teachers, and graduation.

The local merchant feature is one of a unique thing about this provider. By typing in your location, you'll be able to find local merchants (not necessarily chain stores) that offer gift cards. Say, for example, you want to purchase a gift card for a relative who loves a local bakery. Just type in the bakery's zip code, and if that merchant is partnered with GiftCards.com you'll be able to purchase one for whichever amount you indicate.

Better yet, the site allows you to customize many of the gift cards with a personal photo, logo or design. Be aware though that there is a $500 limit for personalized gift cards so anything above that may need to be split into two transactions.

There are an array of pre-made designs and styles to suit any occasion-in case you don't have a creative gene. For other help with tips, questions, or ideas, the site's own 'gift card girlfriend' can offer some assistance through her blog page.

If you're looking for a particular merchant or gift card type, your best bet would be to enter the name into the search bar or otherwise browse the particular category. Some of these are:

  • Accessories
  • Apparel
  • Beauty and spa
  • Books, music, video
  • Coffee houses
  • Department stores

Those are just a handful of the categories to choose from. Another interesting option is the group gift card feature. This allows a group of people to log in and contribute money towards one card which is then personalized and sent to the recipient.

As a whole, the site does have a wide selection of brands and customizable options. There are certain dollar limits and other restrictions which are important to read over on the site's terms of use page.

GiftCertificates.com Review

  • Pros
  • SuperCertificates and gift cards available
  • Convenient search filters
  • No additional shipping charge
  • Range of brands to choose from
  • Returns/ exchanges accepted
  • Cons
  • Purchase fees
  • Can't sell cards

GiftCertificates.com caters to both consumers and the corporate sphere. Started in 1997, this site is known for its extensive selection of merchants and commitment to customer satisfaction. The homepage has three main categories:

  1. Reward-intended to offer incentives to employees, partners, and customers
  2. Redeem-redemption of SuperCertificates for gift cards to exclusive merchants
  3. Give-Gift a family member or friend your choice of a SuperCertificate or gift card

A SuperCertificate is a great gift because it allows the receiver to shop for the gift cards they want. It never expires and doesn't force you to play the guessing game which is often a hit or miss endeavor.

If you do opt for a gift card, you can narrow your search by occasion or recipient. For example, in the 'teens' category, there are gift cards from Banana Republic, Aeropostale, Barnes & Noble, and Express, just to name a few.

You will be charged a purchase fee for both SuperCertificates and gift cards, however. Consumer purchase fees range from $0.99 to $3.99 while corporate purchase fees start at $2.45. Luckily, the service fee should cover the cost of shipping and processing so you won't face any extra charges on that front (unless you opt for expedited shipping).

GiftCertificates.com is a suitable resource for both corporate buyers and consumers. You can find some great discounts on popular merchants and retailers, and they provide friendly and reliable customer service.

It differs severely from the other gift exchange sites, however, because you can't sell your gift cards.

Raise.com Gift Cards Review

  • Pros
  • Set brand alerts
  • 100% purchase guarantee
  • Free shipping
  • Filter by price
  • Visa and MasterCard gift cards available
  • Cons
  • Prices set by sellers
  • Some negative reviews
  • Poor customer service

This fairly new company, launched in 2013 by George Bousis and Bradley Wasz, has quickly risen to the top of the ranks as one of the best gift card exchange platforms. Whether you're looking to buy or sell gift cards, this site can help you do that with ease and convenience.

Immediately upon looking at the site I noticed that you have a number of convenient search tools at your disposal. More specifically, you can filter the options by price, card type, and category. This is really great if you are on a tight budget or looking for something very specific. Like Cardpool, you have the option to purchase physical or electronic gift cards. The prices, however, are set by the individual sellers so the purchase price may differ from the face value.

If the card you want is out of stock you can set brand alerts and be notified when it becomes available. All purchases come with free shipping and each card is fully insured by their money-back-guarantee.

Their return policy is reasonable and covers the following:

  • Inactive gift cards
  • Inaccurate balances
  • The wrong card from a mix-up in orders
  • Cards are not received within 30-days

Overall, this company has competitive offerings and a broad selection of gift cards to purchase and sell. It is important to note that Raise.com has a number of complaints floating around on sites like sitejabber.com and resellerratings.com. Some customers voiced concerns with their refund/exchange policy and an inability to settle their issue with the customer service department. At this point, we can't say whether or not those cases were resolved but the company has proactively handled 28 complaints logged with the Better Business Bureau.

Key Considerations When Buying a Gift Card

So what's the benefit of giving a gift card over cash? Well, cash can easily get lost or stolen and it's often inconvenient to carry around. An online gift card, on the other hand, is replaceable (if lost or stolen), compact, and can even be personalized with photos or an insignia.

Buying and selling online gift cards, or electronic gift cards, have also become more popular in the recent years. In a 2015 study published by InComm, a transactions services company researching consumer shopping trends, it was noted that 89% of consumers surveyed have purchased two or more gift cards through online or mobile means annually. There is no need to walk into a store and buy physical gift cards when online gift card exchanges are safe and easy to use.

Gift cards fall into two categories: open and closed loops. Open loop cards are those issued by Visa and MasterCard and work at whatever store or restaurant that accepts credit cards that is a part of those networks. Closed loop cards are issued by a particular retailer and can only be used at that merchant.

If it's your first time purchasing gift cards online, these considerations may help you make a more informed decision.

1. User-friendly Platform

Evaluate the site's ease-of-use and navigation features. A user-friendly gift card exchange site should answer these questions:

  • Is it easy for you to find exactly what you're looking for?
  • Are the features and pay options clearly outlined?
  • Are there customer reviews?
  • Is there an FAQ help section?

2. Features

Can you buy, sell, and exchange gift cards? Does the site offer a purchase guarantee to ensure that you're satisfied and the cards are indeed valid? On the other hand, what features are in place to keep personal financing information and transactions secure? Most online stores uphold the industry standard encryption practices that protect your information. Be sure to learn about the company's fraud department and their efforts to prevent identity theft.

These are all important questions to answer before purchasing any product or service online.

3. Inventory Selection

Gift card exchange sites are like open marketplaces. You're sure to find several of the well-known brands, but an immediate advantage of online gift card exchange sites over physical stores is that they can offer a broad range of gift card brands--including stores that might be out of your area. A good inventory selection satisfies these three questions.

  • Does the site have a wide selection of top brands to choose from?
  • Are there categories that cover a wide range of products and interests?
  • Can you personalize it with photos and messages?

4. Fees

No one likes paying fees. You can avoid unforeseen charges by checking whether the website had purchasing, shipping, or expiration fees. Sometimes, if you don't use a card within a certain period of time, you get charged a monthly account fee until the balance reaches zero. This is called spillage, and in 2014 the NASDAQ reported that leftover money on unused gift cards accounted for just under $1 billion.

If there is any lesson to be learned, it's that you should never keep money lying around to expire!

The Best Place to Sell Gift Cards

Selling gift cards online is an easy way to get rid of those unused gift cards you don't plan on spending. The gift card exchange sites I have reviewed make the process a breeze. You should sell your gift cards at a site that provides the best combination of security, user-friendliness, and inventory.

How to Sell Gift Cards Online

Knowing how to sell gift cards effectively and securely is important to making sure your money and sensitive information are safe from potential threats. Online shopping allows for an untold number of opportunities to find the products and services you need, but that also means you, family, and friends may be at risk.

If you want to sell gift cards online, the United States Department of Justice is an excellent resource for tips to avoid potential identity theft.

Selling gift cards is often as simple as filling out some personal contact information including your name, address, email, and phone number. If you're selling an electronic gift card, the online service will handle the transfer for you. For physical gift cards, you may need to ship it out.

Tips & Advice

Gift card exchanges are useful tools to sell unwanted or unused gift cards or to buy as a present for family, friends, and coworkers. If you're interested in buying or selling a gift card, I compiled a list of tips to safely, smartly purchase or sell gift cards.

  • Know Where To Go. Visa and MasterCard gift cards can be used wherever merchants accept them. According to an article published by Consumer Reports, there are well over 10 million merchants across the United States that accept open-loop gift cards.
  • Personalize. Customizing a gift card with pictures or names may be a great way to make a gift just a bit more special. However, some gift card exchange sites might not accept personalized cards.
  • Pay with a Credit Card. Paying with a credit card is the easiest, safest way to make purchases at gift card exchanges. The sites reviewed have a liability guarantee for unauthorized transactions.
  • Be A Savvy Saver. Instead of snapping up a gift card you're interested in immediately, keep an eye on it for a day or two. Discounts, especially during the holiday season, may come from your favorite stores.
  • Shop Around. You might not find the best deals on your first search. Take a look around to find the websites that do. This is also true for selling gift cards online. Snoop around multiple websites and observe the trends to maximize your profit. Remember that you won't be able to get a 100% return on the value of the card, but consider the sites that offer as much value as possible.

Buying Gift Cards Online

Buying gift cards online should be painless. You do a quick search, find the card you are looking for, and in a few clicks, it's on its way to your email or mailbox. The companies reviewed in this article keep the shopping simple and control rests in the hands of the user.

Buying gift cards online is as simple as browsing the selection, clicking on the card you are interested in, and completing the necessary information. Online marketplaces make it easy to find discounted gift cards to popular brands.

Amazon Gift Cards

Amazon is arguably America's largest online retailer so it's no surprise that you may find yourself with one of their gift cards soon. The gift card exchange sites I've reviewed all offer the opportunity to buy and sell Amazon gift cards. Most grocery and convenience stores throughout the United States also sell Amazon gift cards with no additional purchase fees.

Of course, you can buy Amazon gift cards safely and securely in any amount you wish straight from the source. Any digital gift card purchased can be personalized with photos, seasonal designs, and even animations.

Recap

Each one of these sites has their pros and cons. Remember to always check a site's fees and shipping policy before purchasing to avoid any unpleasant surprises. A few of these online gift card companies have negative user reviews but it's important to remember that you're only getting one side of the picture so don't write-off a provider from that alone. When looking to buy or sell be sure to shop around and look for the best offers.

Gift Card Exchange FAQs

Q What should I do with unwanted gift cards?

A

Gift cards are great in last minute situations or if you have no knowledge of someone's likes. If you are the recipient of a gift card and don't foresee yourself using it, it may be best to give it to a friend or relative. Certain stores will put an expiration date on their cards and while some may be valid for years, they will still expire if not used in a certain period of time. Aside from giving it away, the next best option would be to sell the gift card through an online gift card marketplace.

Q Can a gift card be transferred to another individual?

A

Most gift cards don't bind to one specific person so a transfer between individuals is relatively easy. Most stores know that the user was not the original buyer since gift cards are typically given as gifts. A lot of stores do not require ID when using a gift card unless it's used to purchase alcohol or other items restricted by age. Most MasterCard and Visa gift cards can be purchased with a particular individual's name and even a customized photo. If you've received this type of gift card, then you'll need to check the card's specific terms and agreements regarding transfers.

Q Can you get eBay gift cards?

A

Ebay Gift Cards are available from $15 to $100, but only as a digital gift card. Purchase them through Paypal Digital Gifts at eBay. They are the single eBay vendor to offer this product as an option at checkout. Purchasers can forward the digital eBay gift cards to anybody they like via email.

Q How do I check the balance on my eBay Gift Card?

A

Here's the steps to check the balance and redemption code on an eBay gift card that you already have:

Open PayPal in your browser and log in. Find the profile tab and click through. Under Financial Information, select "Gifts and Discounts" to view the balance on your gift card.

Q How do you redeem a Target gift card online?

A

Visit target.com and shop. When finished, proceed to checkout and click Target Giftcard for your payment method in the billing options. Check your giftcard for the Gift Card Number and Access Number. Enter them at the site to purchase your items.

Q Where can you use a Target gift card?

A

Visit Target stores or Target.com to redeem gift cards for merchandise or services. You can't buy Visa or American Express gift card with Target gift cards. The cards cannot be used to receive cash or credit except where allowed by local law. Call 800-544-2943 or visit target.com/giftcards for balance information on Target gift cards.

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