You became the owner of an unnecessary gift card. What should I do next?

Despite the fact that a prepaid certificate is almost an ideal gift, sometimes people make a mistake with its choice. And it doesn't happen all that often, according to unused gift card statistics. They become dead weight in your drawers in the hallway or on your desk. Don't let donated plastic just collect dust and be a silent reminder of the donor's mistake. Below we will give some short recommendations on what to do with unused or partially spent certificates.

Exchange your desired gift card online

Currently, there is a sufficient number of services where you can buy, sell or exchange certificates online. The effectiveness of these resources is also confirmed by the Chairman of the Board of the Gift Card Association, Tim Walsh: "Now we know all these exchange sites where you can really exchange an unwanted gift card for another that will bring you joy and benefit."

On these Internet sites, you can both sell an unused certificate, and get rid of a card with a partially used face value. Having received the money, you will be able to purchase another gift plastic at a discount, saving on the purchase you need. When you sell a card, you will receive about 75-85% of the nominal value on average. In the best case, as the CardCash website promises, for example, you will earn up to 92% of the initial cost.

Before making an operation to exchange or sell a card, carefully study the text of the announcement. It is also worth noting that on sites like Craigslist, there are cases of inconsistencies between the ads placed and the actual state of the product. For example, a user promises to send a new and unused card, and instead, you can receive a partially spent or completely empty certificate.

Tim Walsh advises looking for warranties to make sure the cards you sell are as advertised. This is how Craigslist user Michael LaGarde received blank certificates when purchasing gift cards. But thanks to the 48-hour guarantee that goes with that deal, he was able to get them back and didn't waste his money.

Turn the rest into cash

Merchants love gift card holders. Because the overwhelming majority of them, when selling their certificates, spend more than the face value available on the cards. 59% spend the entire amount of the deposit on plastic and add their money on top, according to statistics from the Blackhawk Network company.

Generally speaking, gift cards often put us in an uncomfortable position. Infrequently, there is an opportunity to spend exactly the amount that is on the deposit of the certificate. We have to either add what is missing when buying more expensive or think about the remaining change.

Many cardholders simply prefer to forget about the balance on the card, but we do not advise doing so. After all, the giver of this certificate was paying the full cost of it, so don't be disrespectful and refuse to use all the money.

Legislation in some states allows you to turn a small balance of the gift card deposit into cash directly at the seller. So in California, you can redeem a gift card with less than $10 left on it directly in cash or by check starting January 01, 2008. Check the laws of the state where your prepaid certificate is issued or valid to collect your legal money.

Do something good with gift cards

If our first and second tips do not suit you, or you consciously want to do charity work, then donate your prepaid plastic to a fund of special organizations.

CharityChoice can help you decide where to spend your money. With it, you can donate your money to over 1,000 charities of your choice. If you wish, you can contact these funds directly to find out if they accept gift card donations. A certificate you don't need can save someone's health or life, help animals, and do many other good deeds.

Give yourself a time limit to using plastic

It happens that even the necessary gift cards are never activated, but simply disappear due to the fact that the owners are too busy with their own affairs, but rather they organize their personal time incorrectly.

When you receive this piece of plastic as a gift with a deposit made, set a clear deadline for yourself to use it. If a gift card suits you - fine, if it doesn't - well, you still need to use it somehow. Set aside a clear timeframe for this.

How to present a card correctly

The majority of US citizens receive or give gift cards every year. It became a global and good tradition in the country. To make your congratulations as useful and safe as possible for the recipient, we provide a few short recommendations that were prepared by the experts of the National Retail Federation:

  • Pay close attention to the financial position of the card issuer. A number of certificates fail to be used because the seller is declaring bankruptcy. Try to avoid this.

  • When handing a gift card to its new owner, do not forget to give the recipient a receipt that confirms your purchase.

  • Carefully read all the terms of the certificate. Study the entire text, even those that are written small. This will save you from buying a card with a short expiration date and paying extra commissions.