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What to do with unwanted gift cards

Updated on May 10, 2013

Whether you receive gift cards from well meaning friends and family, an employer, clients, or as a promotional benefit, there is more you can do than spend them on items you may not want from stores you don’t shop at. If you are like millions of people, you put them in a drawer, your wallet or purse, and forget they are there.

In the not so distant past, some of these cards would expire, or carry dormant card fees that would drain the balance quickly if they were not redeemed within a set time frame. Regulations passed in 2009 helped alert the consumer, as card issuers, are now required to inform customers whether the card is a closed-loop card, (carries an expiration date and/or fees) and the time constraint, and fee schedules on such cards, or if the card is an open-loop card, (carries no expiration date or fees).

There are several types of gift cards. These include, merchant specific cards which, can only be used at the store issuing the card, or prepaid, denomination specific cards, that are offered through Visa, Master Card and American Express. These cards are purchased in predetermined amounts ranging from $25.00 to $100.00; often requiring an activation fee when purchased.

Virtual gift cards are gaining in popularity through online outlets such as, and When these cards are purchased, an eCode is sent to your email address to be used for online purchases.

Another popular gift card, which is not actually a gift card but a refillable debit card, is making a strong showing in today’s market. The buyer determines the amount of money to be put on the card at the time of purchase. This card can be refilled anytime by the buyer or the card holder. These cards are popular for parents to give their children, and for college students as an alternative to carrying cash.

But what if I can’t use this gift card?

If you’ve received a gift card that you have no use for, all is not lost. There is a place you can trade your gift cards in for cash, gift cards that you can use, or even donate the gift card amount to your favorite charity. There are many reasons you may want to exchange your gift card, and whatever the reason, the best place to do so is at

This website offers to buy, sell, exchange, or donate your card balance to the charity of your choice. Of course you must join plastic and set up an account. It is very quick, easy, and free. A few clicks of your mouse, fill in some forms, and you can turn that gift card into cash, trade it for a card you will use, or donate the balance to charity. For any donations to charities, Plastic will provide you with a receipt of all donations for your tax record. A list of originations is available to choose from, and new ones are being added daily.

The beauty of this website is that you choose what works best for you. Upon verification of your gift card, cash payments can be deposited into your PayPal account or sent to you by check. Buying gift cards couldn’t be easier and you can get them at a discount.

Does this sound too good to be true? Check it out for yourself at the link below, and dig out all those gift cards you get throughout the year that you didn’t know what to do with.

Gift Cards available through Amazon


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    • Big Brother profile image

      Alex Valis 6 years ago from Earth

      Excellent Hub with brilliant ideas...

      Thanks alot my friend

      All vote up!!!

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      Great ideas as to what to do with unwanted gift cards. This is awesome and beats losing them as I do that easily. Well done! :) Katie