What to do With Unwanted Gift Cards

coupon-883638_640Most Americans like giving out gift cards as a present. If you are on the receiving end and it’s not the plastic that you were hoping for – maybe because it’s at a store you never go to or you’d rather have a gift card to somewhere else instead, don’t let them go to waste and just toss them in the drawer to gather dust.

Here are several ways you can get some use out of those unwanted gift cards you got:

Use it to pay bills

This will depend on the card and the retailer. If your gift is a debit card from a bank, there is no better time to spend it. You can use the balance to pay the stuff you’d normally pay for and you may be able to convert your card to cash to save a step. Just don’t forget to check the terms and conditions if you can make this exchange.


If you want to go this way, make sure that the card and gift envelope doesn’t show any signs of wear. It could be possible to get a new envelope from the original retailer. You can also add the re=gifted card into another gift such as making it a bookmark on the inside of a new book or attach it to a stuffed animal.

Give it to charity

This can be a good use for a gift card. Making a charitable donation on your gift card does have some advantages such as the convenience, tax write-off and the opportunity to donate to a good cause. It’s best to find a non-profit organization that can utilize the gift card. Don’t just donate to the first organization that pops up, take into consideration the nature of the organization. A food bank won’t have use for a gift card from a clothing retailer but it can help an organization that assists people that needs clothes.

Sell them

A lot of websites have sprung over the years that buy and sell gift cards. Buyers can save some money on gift cards for gifts or for purchasing goods and services. Sellers can convert their card to cash to use however they’d like. Keep in mind that some cards are more desirable than others so it’s best to shop around before buying or selling as prices may vary across exchanges.

Redeem the gift card for cash

Look for a reputable business that will allow you to sell to the site itself and not just to individuals as there would be some sort of protection this way. These sites will often send you a check or credit into your account. It’s best also to investigate if cash exchange is an option in your state.

Don’t let unwanted gift cards sit around and keep them unspent. Make them work for you instead or even trade the card for some extra cash. If you have been given a gift card at a restaurant you don’t plan on going back to anytime soon, go to a different location and see if they will honor the gift card. Got a gift card from a coffee shop but not a coffee drinker? You can also trade this to a trusted friend or colleague who has another gift card that you’d like that has the same value as yours.

Would you have any other suggestions on what you can do with unwanted gift cards you’ve received?

For more on gift giving and what are good gifts other then gift cards check out these sites.

7 Practical Gifts a Minimalist Will Enjoy
Time To Put American Express Gift Checks on Your Gift List
Christmas Club Accounts. Why?

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