You watch your budget like a hawk, but it’s always good to keep looking for ways to cut your spending just a little more. Buying discounted used gift cards can help.
There are many online marketplaces that provide a place to buy and sell used gift cards, like Cardpool, CardBazaar, CardFlip, Raise, and more. You could go to each of these sites to browse, but a better method is to go to Gift Card Wiki, which aggregates cards from many different card marketplaces.
Most discounts fall in the 5 to 15 percent range, but some are higher. Even if you only save 5 percent, it can be significant savings if you’re buying a big-ticket item.
In most cases, you can use the gift card just like cash, so you can take advantage of any other coupons or discounts the store offers. For example, RetailMeNot is a site that collects data about discounts that stores are offering. Be sure to check it to see if there is another coupon code you can use for your purchase. RetailMeNot also offers discounted gift cards, but their inventory isn’t as extensive as the other gift card marketplaces.
Buying a used gift card is easy and fast
It all starts when you find something you want to buy. For this example, we’ll say it’s a girl’s bicycle at Target. Here are the steps to get your discount:
- Add the bicycle to the Target shopping cart and begin the checkout process so you can see the total cost, including tax and shipping.
- Go to Gift Card Wiki and look for Target cards.
- Look through the list to find a card with a value that is just under how much you want to spend. You don’t want to get a gift card that’s worth more than you want to spend because you’ll be left with a card that has a balance on it. However, If the discount percentage is much higher than other cards, it might be worth it to have that tiny amount left over.
- Purchase the card. You’ll save even more if you use a credit card with cash back benefits to buy the card.
- Check your email for the card you purchased and use the card code to pay for the bicycle on the Target site.
A few things to think about as you’re looking:
- Unless you have a lot of time to wait to receive a physical card in the mail, choose egift cards.
- The list of auction gift cards is usually not worth exploring. The auction won’t end right away, so you would need to wait for the card. Also, auction discount percentages might look great, but by the time the final bidder wins, the percentage is almost always minimal.
- CardBazaar offers higher discounts than other marketplaces, but you have to buy cards with either an e-check or cryptocurrency. Other exchanges offer a discount if you pay with a bank transfer or cryptocurrency, but you can still buy with a credit card.
Timing can be everything with used gift cards
If you want to buy something that’s on sale, you might need to get a card that will be sent to you right away. Most cards are sent almost immediately, or at least within 24 hours. It may take longer the first time you buy a card, as they might need to verify you as a customer. Physical cards are sent through the mail, so they take a few days.
You’re protected from getting scammed buying used gift cards
Because these marketplaces are places for third parties to sell you a card, it might seem that there could be a potential for fraud, like a card that’s already been used or a physical card that is never sent.
However, the card marketplaces protect you from this. They verify and authenticate the card values before they are sold to you, and if there is still a problem with the balance, they will give you a refund or replacement card.
There’s no downside
Saving money with discounted gift cards is so easy, there’s just no reason not to do it. The only tricky thing is remembering to get that gift card before you buy! Once you do it a few times, you won’t be able to shop online without checking first to see if there’s a good discounted card.
You can sell used gift cards too
The gift card marketplaces also allow you to sell your used gift cards if you no longer need them. This is great if you received a card for something you have zero interest in.
If you’re adventurous, you can even check into arbitrage, where you make a profit by buying cards at a high discount and selling or trading them at a lower discount. Gift Card Wiki has an Arbitrage Rate section that shows the best cards for this.
However, it can be risky if there is a problem with the cards you buy and sell, as the guarantee time limit can run out. Be sure to do your research before you dive into this endeavor.
Brenda Darrah is a freelance writer and a relentless knowledge seeker with expert research skills. She writes blog posts, articles, and other content about personal finance and personal growth/wellness. Learn more about Brenda at brendadarrah.com.
Have you ever bought used gift cards? If so, how was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!
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