Gift cards are more popular than ever this Holiday Shopping season; they no longer hold the stigma of being the “thoughtless” gift they once did. In fact, they are expected to top over $100 Billion in sales this year. But, even though gift cards are a terrific way to allow the recipient to get what they truly want, more than a $1Billion worth of cards are not redeemed each year. That’s a lot of dough left on the table!!
Experts cite numerous reasons why people don’t use their gift cards including:
- Lost cards,
- Partially redeemed cards,
- Cards that expire before they are redeemed, and, of course,
- The gift card is for a store that the recipient doesn’t like.
So, savvy shoppers and gift card givers, listen up! Here are several websites, smart tips and other great gift card hacks that you need to know:
Did you know?:
- Not all gift cards are created equal… Some rechargeable gift cards are nothing more than pre-paid cards and marketed in a way to encourage you to spend, spend, spend. Don’t fall for that trap!
- Gift cards that are given out as part of a promotion (in other words they were not directly purchased) are NOT subject to the same rules and protections under the 2010 Card Act.
- By law, a gift card has to have an expiration date of at least 5 years (The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009).
- Got a gift card to a local/small business? Don’t wait to use it! About ½ of all small businesses fold within 5 years…
Websites to Bookmark:
Sell Your Unused Gift Cards/Buy Gift Cards at a Reduced Cost
- Card Pool
- Card Cash
- Gift Card Granny – (Granny also has a great App for your mobile device)
- Gift Card Rescue
Check Your Balance
Gift Card Exchange
Turn Your Gift Cards Into Points
- Plastic Jungle offers a program where you can turn in other retailer’s gift cards and be given My Best Buy points in exchange. Note: They also have a similar program with United Airlines.
Customize a Gift Card
Crowd-Source a Large $ Gift Card
- Want to give a gift card to someone special for a large ticket item? Organize a group of people to contribute to one gift card – check out how.
Other Gift Card Tools
- Make sure you are getting the best deal on your gift card purchase or swap with this great tool: Gift Card Exchange Site Comparison Tool
- Here is a great database of Gift Card Hacks
Try these great tricks:
- Use your remaining balances on pre-paid debit/credit cards to buy an Amazon Gift Card. Amazon has nearly every thing and anything you could want…
- Use your Credit Card Rewards points to buy Gift Cards (It’s like doubling your money!)
- According to LifeHacker, you can get cash back on gift cards you buy from certain places with these cards:
- Use your Store card points to buy Gift Cards – for example, I have a Walgreen’s Balance Rewards card. Once I hit a certain spending limit, I can apply my points for “dollars” off my current bill. Once I am eligible, it would behoove me to use those Balance Reward points toward the purchase of a gift card. It *almost* makes it free!
Have a tip, trick or other gift card hack? Share the wealth and post it here!