Selling gift cards online

Editor’s note: This column was written by Team Clark Howard staffer Theo Thimou.

Gift cards are extremely popular to get and give as gifts. But often, you don’t really like the restaurant or retailer somebody else gave you a gift card for. So do you just leave it sitting unloved in a drawer somewhere? No. Try selling it online and turning it into cash.

Websites like ABCGiftCards.com, CardCash.com, CardPool.com and MonsterGiftCard.com all offer you the opportunity to unload unwanted gift cards. Sellers can typically expect to make about 70-80 cents back on the dollar.

Buyers, meanwhile, can find gift cards discounted up to 30 percent off the face value. The websites themselves make money on the buy/sell spread. The cards are typically guaranteed to work for up 180 days after purchase (depending on website).

We put four websites to the test: CardPool, CardCash, ABCGiftCards and MonsterGiftCard.

When you sell a gift card online, you typically have the option to get your money by check or have the value transferred (trade) to gift cards from other retailers. You may even be offered more value if you get your money on, say, an Amazon gift card.

I was looking to sell 10 cards from nine different retailers that my family received as gifts but never used.

I had two gift cards from Target and then an assortment including Dunkin Donuts, Domino’s Pizza, Bloomin’ Brands (Outback Steakhouse, Carraba’s and others) and Rite-Aid.

So I priced out quotes on four popular websites to make sure I was getting the most money for all 10 gift cards I wanted to sell.

Here’s what I found: The clear winner here is ABCGiftCards, which, with a total of $128.57, beat the next nearest competitor with an offer that was $2 and change higher for my gift cards.

By contrast, MonsterGiftCard yielded a much lower offer than any of its competitors.

In the course of my research, I came across other websites for selling your gift cards, but there’s a reason why I didn’t include them in this article.

For example, Raise.com, a popular site, makes you do a lot of legwork before they’ll even give you a quote. You have to enter your gift card serial number and PIN, along with your current balance. That’s a lot of typing when there are other sites out there that only ask for your gift card’s balance before making you an offer.

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