Gift cards are a popular present at the holidays—the National Retail Federation says more than half of consumers plan to give one this year. But they aren't always wanted—research organization CEB TowerGroup estimates that $1 billion of the $130 billion spent on gift cards last year went unused. It could be that the gift card is for a retailer or other business the recipient doesn't like. Or they simply don't have access to the restaurant or movie theater to spend it. So if you got a gift card that is going to sit untouched, what should you do? The AP has a few options for you:
- Regift it: This may be your easiest solution. If you can't use the card or just don't want it, someone else might. So why not hand it over to a loved one who wants it? Gift cards are typically good for several years and there are no rules about changing hands.
- Sell it: Online exchanges like Cardpool.com, Raise.com, and Cardcash.com let you buy and sell gift cards. Expect to get about 80 to 90 cents on the dollar at a reputable site, says a rep for Blackhawk Network, which owns Cardpool. She discourages consumers from trying to sell or buy cards for themselves online as there's no way to discern a con. You can also visit a CoinStar Exchange kiosk to get cash for your gift cards. Target will allow you to bring in gift cards for major brands with remaining balances on them and exchange them for a Target gift card. You won't get the full value, but it's better than gathering dust.
- Donate it: A feel-good, do-good option is to donate your unwanted gift card. You can do this by handing the card directly to a charity. Consider a church, food bank, or school that might use it to buy supplies, or offer it to a needy family in your community. CardFunder lets consumers donate gift cards with available funds on them to a number of charitable efforts.
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