Exchanging gift cards I don't need for money I do?
July 29, 2012 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Is there a place online where (presumably they would have to be nice, I would guess) people would trade money for gift cards to stores at which they shop anyway? Or something similar?

I don't know if this is even possible so I don't know how high the likelihood something like this exists is, but I assume there could be some kind of PayPal money transfer and the numbers on the gift cards could be given to the party trading the money OR some kind of local thing. I can't be the only poor, young person whose parents/godparents/aunts/uncles/older friends/whatever people have give me gift cards to places I don't shop because they "don't trust my spending" or something or to personalize gifts more than cash or etc. I wish the grocery store would accept my Barnes and Noble gift cards, I really do. I would be willing to give a small percentage of the money to the other party in this exchange, but it wouldn't amount to much as these giftcards, as you probably guessed, aren't for thousands or multiple hundreds of dollars.

Subquestion: "Western Union Money Gram Paks" are just a way for people to rip you off, right? I mean to say - do legitimate transactions that don't involve corporate things ever happen on there or is it all people telling you they'll send you artwork/books/gift cards/I would imagine drugs and other things I'm neglecting to even think of/whatever people do on there and then stealing your money super effectively?
posted by jitterbug perfume to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
i've bought gift cards from craigslist. there are 1-800 numbers on the back of gift cards so you can check the balance, and when we meet up to trade money-for-gift-card, i call the number and check to make sure it's full. i've never been scammed, but i also choose wisely.

the craigslist people will generally sell their gift card for a few bucks less than it's worth. so they'll usually sell a $25 gift card for $20. otherwise, what's the point?
posted by kerning at 2:17 PM on July 29, 2012

You can sell the cards on eBay, per these guidelines, but you'll lose out to the tune of whatever discount you end up accepting, the cost of a stamp and the PayPal transaction charges.
posted by carmicha at 2:17 PM on July 29, 2012

There are places online that will give you cash for gift cards. You're never going to get face value, of course, but a little cash is better than a giant wad of credit you're never going to use anyways. I've used Plastic Jungle, there are probably others out there.
posted by calistasm at 3:03 PM on July 29, 2012

I've used Plastic Jungle and Gift Card Rescue. Both turned out great. I've only been the buyer of cards myself but both companies seem pretty legit and handled the whole transaction quickly.
posted by cschneid at 3:12 PM on July 29, 2012

You could also try asking your friends. In my circles, I've seen people post things on Facebook like "I have a $25 gift card to B&N. Will trade for $20 cash or equivalent card for Target/Walmart/favorite grocery store." One benefit of this is that your friends trust you & you trust them, so it removes a little of the sketchiness dealing with strangers on Craigslist. I'd certainly be more likely to respond to a friend's facebook post because A) helping out a friend and B) Hey! An extra $5 to spend on books!
posted by belladonna at 4:10 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you happen to be in the Chicago area, Alula has machines in area stores where you can sell your gift cards for instant cash. I got $18.50 for a $25 AMC gift card.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:33 AM on July 30, 2012

Oh, and I'm not sure if a Western Union Money Gram Pak is different somehow from just "wiring money", but I occasionally send someone money through Western Union and MoneyGram and when I check out it always asks me if I'm paying for "goods or services" and warns me not to due to scams.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:42 AM on July 30, 2012

You could also just Google "sell gift cards" and you will see that yes, there are many sites that exist for just this purpose... Also how-to articles, etc. You might want to check out this old AskMe that I happened to read just yesterday, though; I had never heard of gift cards being used in conjunction with stolen credit cards in such a manner, but if you're just looking to sell yours, not buy other people's, then I guess you don't need to worry about it.

Personally I would never use Western Union for any kind of online transaction. I only use PayPal because there is usually some kind of protection if you get scammed, and I've heard way too many stories of people getting ripped off through Western Union (including people I know personally, and by all manner of elaborate scams involving fake eBay sites, etc). Even for sending money to a friend or family member, I'm just more comfortable with PayPal. Plus there's no fee if you send it as a gift vs. a payment for goods/services.
posted by désoeuvrée at 11:17 AM on July 30, 2012

for future folks who stumble on this, Plastic Jungle shut down earlier this week. CardPool has filled the space.
posted by TravellingCari at 7:34 PM on May 16, 2013

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