By now I hope some of you have acquired some type of rewards credit card and have shaved off some years of your required working life. So today I’m going to give you a tip to help boost your savings rate or (1-expenses rate) even further.
Every year millions of dollars in gift cards go unused by people who don’t really want or need them. Some enterprising online companies realized this and setup a marketplace to help people sell their gift cards for cash. Where people previously used to leave their gift cards lying around gathering dust they can now liquidate them and put the cash to good use. This marketplace is a win for everyone because the seller is able to get cash out of their gift cards the marketplace owners are getting a cut of the revenues and the buyers are able to purchase gift cards they will use at a discount from the face value of the gift cards.
If you are selling a gift card expect to lose between 10 to 50 percent of the face value of the gift card. If you are buying gift cards, you can expect to buy gift cards at 1 to 40 percent off the face value of the gift card.
Out of all the options I like Raise the best. I regularly use their mobile app to buy gift cards and they arrive in my email inbox within a few minutes each time. I find this especially handy when I am in stores and know exactly the gift card amount I need to buy to make my in-store purchase. I can just go to the app and find a gift card for close to that amount, purchase it with my rewards credit card, and then use the gift card(s) a minute later when I checkout. I never have to carry gift card inventory because I always spend the entire gift card I just bought.
Some other users have complained about receiving gift cards with no balance on them. I have never had this issue, but Raise is very clear they will refund any money spent on bad gift cards. (The link to raise up top is a referral link. When you buy a gift card through raise using that link I will get 5 dollars.)
I’ve only used CardCash to buy 5 Home Depot gift cards, but I was highly unsatisfied with how the transaction worked out. I was building a deck and when I needed supplies Raise happened to be out of gift cards, so I thought I would give CardCash a try. Unbeknownst to me CardCash processed my transactions like cash advances, which incurred rather hefty credit card fees that I was not expecting. Nowhere on their site do they disclose this fact. Cash advances also begin accruing interest expenses immediately, so I was on the hook for all the interest charges I racketed up before I reviewed my credit card statement and found out what had transpired. CardCash stated that this issue only occurs with cobranded American Express cards, but be sure to check with CardCash before you make a purchase or check your credit card statement immediately after any purchase.
eBay is always another option. It has its pro and cons though and is very different from the previous two websites/companies. When using eBay you will not get your gift card quickly through your email like you will with Raise and CardCash. Instead you will have to wait for it to come in the mail from the seller. eBay offers strong buyer protections; however, if you are going to buy a gift card from eBay I recommend you spend it immediately. The seller could potentially have all of the gift card information and spend the gift card when the seller protection period expires. if you are going to sell gift cards I would not recommend going through eBay. The buyer could claim there was no money on the gift card you sold and I do not think eBay has worked out a system to fairly protect the seller.
I don’t have any experience selling gift cards on any sites. I generally try to use my gift cards when I receive them, but I do have a gift card to the Star that I’ve been carrying around for several years. I think I’m going to use it this coming Thursday to celebrate with my wife when my MBA program is officially complete. What do you say Staci? Leave a comment if you are interested.
Title Image Credit: Raise.com