The Secret in Gift Cards

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If you ended up with a gift card over Christmas to a place you’ll never go, Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey offered up some creative things you can do to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.

Ryan also teamed up with a shopping pro at the Viewmont in Lackawanna County to show how much farther a mall gift card and your money, in general, can go post-holiday season.

The following ideas on what to do with your Unwanted Gift Cards are from Kerry Sherin, a Shopping and Savings Expert with

Sell Unwanted Gift Cards

Today, there are a number of sites eager to get their hands on your gift cards, including CardCashRaise, and Cardpool. These companies will purchase your unwanted gift card for anywhere from 60% –92% of its value to sell at a discount to customers. You can sell most physical and eGift cards, even if they have been partially used.

Swap Unwanted Gift Cards

Some gift card sites—CardCash included—give you the option of trading your gift card for another. If you swap your gift card for one of CardCash’s partner gift cards, you can often swing a higher payout rate. Target offers a similar trade-in program, providing Target gift cards in exchange for competitors’.

Visit a Coinstar Exchange Kiosk

Visit a yellow Coinstar Exchange kiosk in your local supermarket to trade your card in for cash. Once you scan or swipe your card, Coinstar will make you an immediate offer and print out a voucher you can redeem in the store.

Donate Unwanted Gift Cards

Goodwill, CharityChoice, and other philanthropic organizations accept retail and restaurant gift cards as donations, as do many local schools and churches. You may even qualify for a tax deduction for your gift card contribution—be sure to hold onto a receipt or letter confirming the donation.

Re-gift Unwanted Gift Cards

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and the gift card you have no use for might be a welcome surprise for someone else. If you know someone who would appreciate it, better to re-gift a gift card than let it go to waste so long as the card has never been used.

Use a Gift Card to Buy a Gift

Your unwanted gift cards might come in handy as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day approach. Consider holding on to your gift card to make a future purchase as a gift for someone else.

Get a Refund for Unwanted Gift Cards

In certain states, merchants are required to refund a gift card balance if it falls below a certain threshold. In California, for example, you can get a refund from the store for a card with a balance under $10. In Maine, New Jersey, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, you may be able to receive a refund for a card with a balance under $5. Many other areas have laws regarding gift card refunds, so be sure to check out the gift card laws for your state.