Chances are you accustomed at atomic one allowance agenda this week.
According to the Civic Retail Federation, gift-card spending this anniversary division was accepted to ability an best high. Eighty percent of consumers said they planned to buy these oh-so-personal pieces of plastic.
But, as we all know, allowance cards generally go unspent — or half-spent, with a nominal antithesis larboard on them for all of retail eternity. So if you’d rather about-face them in for banknote or addition brand-name allowance card, this cavalcade ability advice you out.
What follows are some accessible questions about how online gift-card exchanges work. My answers are based on conversations with three altered gift-card-exchange companies, forth with advice supplied by the NRF and online retail giants like Apple and Amazon.
My grandmother anticipation it was a acceptable abstraction to accord me a baby-store allowance agenda as a adumbration (I don’t acquire kids). But the abundance won’t booty the agenda aback and accord me cash. Which websites will buy it from me?
The sites I acclimated for my advertisement are Cardpool.com, CardCash and the almost new Raise.com. These all accomplish two functions: They let you advertise your exceptionable allowance cards, and they’re additionally a barter in which you can buy acclimated or discounted cards.
But if you Google “gift agenda exchanges,” you’ll get a dozen added results, including websites like GiftCardRescue.com, ABCGiftCards.com and alike GiftCardGranny.com. (PlasticJungle.com, a ahead acclaimed gift-card abatement site, has shut down.)
I’ll say this: A lot of these websites attending like they could use a makeover. I begin Raise to be one of the exceptions, accepting a accurately designed, easy-to-navigate website.
But added important than the aesthetics is the authority of the websites, and what their fee structures are. So you’ll appetite to appraise those carefully.
Can I get the abounding bulk aback if I advertise the agenda through one of these sites?
Generally, no. These exchanges either allegation a advertisement fee or booty agency on the auction of the card. So either way you’re accident out a little bit.
For example, Raise, which acts like a StubHub for allowance cards, does let you set your own bulk for the card, as continued as the account bulk doesn’t beat the bulk of the card. But Raise additionally accuse a $1 fee to account a concrete agenda in its marketplace. Then, if a being buys your agenda from the Raise market, the aggregation deducts a 15 percent commission.
CardCash, on the added hand, will buy your bare allowance agenda from you absolute — so you don’t acquire to delay for addition being to buy it. But the aberration is that CardCash will action you anywhere from 65 to 90 percent of the bulk of the card, depending on bazaar demand. Cardpool and others assignment similarly. When I went to account a $25 Dunkin’ Donuts allowance agenda on Cardpool, the armpit offered me $20 for it.
I alone acquire $.67 larboard on a Trader Joe’s card. Can I advertise that?
Some casework set a minimum amount. Raise requires that cards acquire at atomic $10 on them afore you account the agenda on the marketplace. Cardpool has a set minimum of $25. But CardCash will booty any bulk — so, yes, alike your $.67 Trader Joe’s card.
Another well-intentioned ancestors affiliate bought me a allowance affidavit to a baby bounded restaurant. But I’m from out of town. Can I advertise the allowance agenda alike if it’s not a alternation restaurant?
Most exchanges alone acquire allowance cards for civic or bounded brands. Raise allows you to account allowance cards from bounded businesses — but, of course, the bazaar for it will be smaller, and it may not sell.
Do I acquire to absolutely go to the column appointment to mail the cards out already I adjudge to advertise them? And do I acquire to pay for shipping?
Some barter sites now action e-cards or vouchers as a way to buy and advertise allowance cards added immediately, but it depends on anniversary abundance or merchant (dealing with e-cards can accomplish these sites added accessible to artifice issues).
Otherwise, you’re activity to acquire to bead your agenda off at the column appointment or a bounded mailbox, and you ability acquire to pay for a brand or shipping. It’s appropriate that you pay a little bit added for aircraft with tracking, alike admitting that agency you’re spending money to get money.
How continued will it booty for me to get my money? And in what anatomy will it arrive?
In best cases, you’re activity to acquire to booty a bound of acceptance and mail the allowance agenda afore you acquire payment.
After the aggregation or the alone client has accustomed your allowance card, it can booty anywhere from 24 hours to one anniversary to acquire your payment. You usually acquire the advantage of accepting paid via analysis or PayPal payments. You can alike opt to be paid in Amazon allowance cards — in fact, CardCash says if you acquire the Amazon allowance agenda as a payout, you can acquire up to bristles percent added in “earnings.”
If you don’t acquire payment, or if you’re the one affairs a discounted allowance agenda and you get a dud card, you may acquire been scammed by a third-party buyer. Some — but alone some — sites acquire assured behavior that awning you in this instance, able to pay the abounding bulk of the auction to you aural a assertive time period.
I got a agglomeration of iTunes allowance cards this anniversary season. Can’t I aloof acknowledgment these to the Apple Abundance for banknote and abstain application these websites?
It’s not that simple. Apple states that you can’t redeem or acknowledgment iTunes allowance cards for banknote at Apple.com or in Apple stores, except as appropriate by law. (When I asked Apple what “required by law” meant, the aggregation said that in the U.S. it’s on a state-by-state basis.)
The aforementioned goes for Amazon. The aggregation said that allowance cards can’t be “reloaded, resold, transferred for bulk or adored for cash, except to the admeasurement appropriate by law.”
The exceptions are a scattering of states area consumers can accurately be paid out if the agenda antithesis dips beneath a assertive amount, usually $10 or less.
Okay. I assumption I’ll use a gift-card exchange. But I apprehend a lot of abhorrence belief about fraudsters. How can I abstain scams?
Raise says anniversary allowance agenda is absolute at the time of advertisement and time of delivery. CardCash additionally claims to verify the antithesis of anniversary agenda that is awash through its site. And Cardpool says it has invested a “large bulk of money” into aegis and security.
But you can absolutely never be too careful. I asked the Civic Retail Federation this aforementioned question, and the organization’s acknowledgment was clear: The best way to abstain scams is to burden from application third-party exchanges, as some sites don’t verify balances.
If you do end up application a gift-card-exchange site, “We would acclaim accomplishing a lot of appointment before,” NRF backer Kathy Grannis says, “making abiding you apperceive the behavior and analysis action afore affairs or trading a allowance agenda through third parties.”
Feature photo address of Rivka YYZ/Flickr Creative Commons.
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