Getting value out of unwanted gift cards

If you’re like me, from time to time you acquire a gift card from various sources… friends, family, work, companies as an incentive, loyalty programs, etc. Because most gift cards are set to work at one or a few stores, they can sit dormant for months, or even years, with the value on them just waiting to be unlocked. The longer they sit, the more they lose their value thanks to inflation and ever-rising prices.

So, what can you do with gift cards you don’t want?  You can trade with friends or re-gift them, which might work in some cases.  You can also sell them.

Two online sites offer the ability to sell those gift cards back, as well as buy gift cards at a discount for stores you know you’ll shop. Plastic Jungle and Cardpool both have online marketplaces where you can sell your cards to them, or buy cards at a discount.

At the time this post was assembled, Plastic Jungle had better discounts on their cards for purchase, but Card Pool had a larger selection of in-stock cards.  These ebb and flow, of course, based on demand and what people sell to them. Card Pool and Plastic Jungle had the option of trading in for items other than cash; both supported Amazon, while Plastic Jungle offered a few others, such as Best Buy, PayPal, and United airline miles.

In terms of selling back values, Cardpool was more upfront about their trade-in values, letting you choose a brand and an amount to see what you’d get; Plastic Jungle required verification of the card’s number and PIN before offering any information, limiting the ability to provide a comparison. Of course, if you have the card handy you could certainly punch it in.

With either site, unlocking the value of a gift card in ways other than being forced to shop the store becomes possible, and is worth a look if you have cards collecting dust.

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