What to Do with Your Gift Card Balance

in Lifestyle

New to the gift card secondary market? Whether you’re interested in selling a gift card for quick cash or buying a previously used gift card it’s important to familiarize yourself with industry. Purchasing pre-owned discount gift cards can be a great way to save on upcoming expenses.

What many don’t know is that the gift card industry has experienced tremendous growth. Thousands of people purchase previously owned gift cards every day. What can you do with a gift card balance that is relatively low? Does it hold any value?

How to Find the Balance of a Gift Card?

Finding out the balance of a gift card is essential especially if you’re looking to resell it for cash. Often, you’ll need to have the gift card handy to check the balance since the card number and PIN number is needed. You’ll find that most retailers and restaurants allow you to easily check the balance of a gift card online by visiting their website. There are also third-party websites available that allow you to check the balance of a gift card by simply selecting the associated brand and entering the card information.

If you’re not technologically savvy you have there should be a toll-free number located on the back of the gift card. You can call that number free balance inquiries. Visiting the retailer in person is also an option.

State Laws Regarding Merchant Gift Cards

Does your gift card have a low balance? Did you know that in some states merchants are required to allow the customer to cash out low remaining balances? Some stores will automatically refund customers if the money in gift cards with low balances, other retailers may claim it’s against store policy while dime may require approval by the store manager. Check out the following the following threshold for some of the states below:

  • California – In California if the balance is below $10 it should be automatically cashed out
  • In Colorado, Maine, Montana, Washington and Puerto Rico if the balance falls below the $5 threshold it can be cashed out to the customer.
  • States like Texas, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have low thresholds of less than $2.50.
  • Knowing the gift card laws in your country is important because it can help you get cash back on your gift cards.

Gift Card Hacks for Low Balances

What if cashing out your gift card isn’t an option? You don’t have to go feel stuck with a minuscule gift card that doesn’t hold much value. Here are some hacks you can use to get as much as you can out of your gift cards.

Consider Adding it to Your Account

Ask the merchant if you could add your remaining gift card balance to your online account. If so, simply redeem and add the value to your online account in which you can apply to future purchases. Merchants like Amazon and iTunes have a similar system. In fact, every time you make a purchase you’ll chip away at the balance.

Purchase Something Else

Why not buy something else and use the remaining balance on the gift card to decrease the overall cost. This may be your best bet instead of holding on to a few extra dollars. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can throw in a small-priced item like a pack of gum or a candy bar to fully redeem the balance.

Donate the Balance

If you can’t redeem the balance without exhausting a lot of your funds. You can donate gift cards worth any amount. Yes, the unused portion can be donated to a variety of charities that have been specifically chosen by the merchant. There are services available where you can select what charity you want to donate your gift card too.

Can I Sell My Used Gift Card?

Not interested in using the remaining balance on your gift card? Gift card owners can sell their used gift cards. It’s important to note that most resell services purchase gift cards based on their value. Depending on a number of factors such as where the card is sold, the brand, and the amount of the gift card, individuals can receive between sixty to ninety percent of the card’s worth. These companies sell these gift cards at slightly higher rates.

Interested in cashing out your gift cards? Here are some options available to you:

Mall Kiosks

One of the easiest ways to sell your used gift cards is through a kiosk at your local mall. These kiosks are typically operated by major online resellers. You’ll receive an offer on your gift card which you can choose to reject or accept. These venues tend to offer about seventy-five percent of the card’s value depending on the brand and the remaining balance on the card.

Service Center

There are thousands of service centers around the country that give individuals the opportunity to resell their gift cards. Much like a mall kiosk, you’ll immediately get an offer and if you decide to accept it you can receive the cash offer immediately.

Online Vendors

Additionally, gift card owners can also resell they’ve used gift cards through online vendors. When selling your gift cards through an online vendor, you’ll simply need to provide important information such as the balance of the card and the brand of the gift card. Depending on the company, you’ll have to mail the card in to receive payment. However, in some cases, owners are able to submit the gift card electronically by providing the card number and pin (personal identification number).

Online Auctions

Gift card holders can also sell they’ve used gifts cards on online auction and classified websites. Yet the downside of this method is that it leaves individuals vulnerable to fraud. There are measures one can take to help prevent fraud when selling gift cards on these websites such as requiring identification and putting a hold on for the amount for a credit card until the end of the purchase.

Before you throw your gift card in the junk drawer you should consider your options. From reselling your used gift cards, donating the remaining balance, or applying it to your next purchase there is still value in used gift cards.

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