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Did you know about $44 billion in gift cards has gone unused since 2008? $44 BILLION — with a B!
Enter discounted gift cards.
Instead of letting that digital cash gather dust in a sock drawer, many people are now selling their unused or partially used gift cards to recoup some of the value in cold, hard US Dollars.
This is great news for bargain hunters who can swoop in and pick up gift cards for less than their face value. But before you buy discounted gift cards from just anyone, read through these tips on what to know and where to buy discounted gift cards.
1. Score someone else’s unwanted gift card for up to 60% off the face value.
If you want to buy discounted gift cards but your “too good to be true” meter is on alert, rest easy. There are a lot of possible reasons these gift cards are “on sale.”
The most likely scenario is that someone received a card to a store they don’t shop at, or they used part of the card and then didn’t see anything else they wanted to buy.
Vendors take advantage of this by buying the gift cards at a discount and then reselling them to bargain hunters at a slightly higher, albeit still discounted, rate. It works out to be a win/win for everyone.
2. Buy and sell gift cards on Raise and Gift Card Granny.
These sites act like discounted gift card middlemen. Some have relationships with trusted and vetted resellers who list their cards on the site, while others allow individuals to list their gift cards.
The sites all offer a money-back guarantee, which protects you in the event that something goes amiss with your purchase.
(Shhh! Here are gift card secrets that’ll save you time and money.)
3. Get an average of $0.80 on the dollar when you sell.
If you’re looking to sell a gift card, these sites have options to connect you with buyers, who will happily take your card off your hands, or they will allow you to list your card on the site.
You can expect to get about $0.80 on the dollar for most gift cards, and the process to sell or list is simple. Shipping your card to the seller is free.
4. Stack discounted gift cards with coupons and rebate apps.
Buying discounted gift cards is like creating your own sale on anything, anytime you want, but because discounted gift cards are treated like cash, you can still stack them with other sales, rebate apps and coupons to save even more.
For example, say you purchased a Jo-Ann Fabrics gift card at a discount of 3% and you have a coupon to save 50% in-store. Use the coupon and discounted gift card in-store and then snap a photo of your receipt to save an extra 15% through Ibotta. (Your savings will depend on each individual Ibotta offer.)
TIP: Did you know Ibotta can be used for non-grocery items? Sign up for Ibotta now.
5. The biggest discounts are for restaurants and clothing retailers.
The level of discount you can find is largely the result of supply and demand.
For example, cards to Apple, Target and Walmart will be harder to find and offer a smaller discount (think 1-4%) than discounted gift cards to a clothing retailer or restaurant.
It’s easy to find 25% discounts at popular stores like Hollister, Ann Taylor, Macaroni Grill and more.
When you’re shopping for a card, some sites let you “sort by highest discount,” which reveals which cards offer the best deals. Find out which retailers offer the best discounted gift card savings.
6. Search for discounted gift cards from sister stores.
Sometimes you can buy a discounted gift card for one store and then use it at a sister store. This comes in handy when the store you’re looking for doesn’t have any gift cards available, or when you can find a bigger discount at a related retailer.
The best example of this is the Gap family. Cards for Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta can all be used interchangeably. But make sure you know the policy before you buy, or you could get burned.
For example, even though Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are related, they don’t accept each other’s cards.
TIP: Did you know you can use West Elm or Williams-Sonoma gift cards at Pottery Barn? Learn even more Pottery Barn hacks.
7. Sign up for brand alerts on Raise.com.
Create an account on Raise.com and you’ll get alerts via email anytime a Raise gift card for a brand that matches your desired discount becomes available.
Learn more about what Raise gift cards can do.
8. Get free shipping on any physical discounted gift cards you purchase.
The discounted gift card you purchase will either be a physical card or an e-code (check the card description to know what you’re buying).
Either way, you can use it the same as a standard gift card. If you purchase a physical card, it will be mailed to you free of charge. If you receive an e-code, you can either enter that code in at checkout when you shop online or print it to redeem in-store.
TIP: Don’t forget that you can stack coupon codes for online purchases at stores like Gap and Kohl’s. Learn even more Kohl’s shopping hacks.
9. Download apps and you can use your discounted gift cards within 24 hours.
If you want to buy discounted gift cards, it’s easier than ever — plus, it’s completely FREE. Just tap to purchase on your mobile device, no planning ahead needed.