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The Real Deal: Turn unused gift cards into cash

News 12's consumer reporter Janice Lieberman gives us The Real Day on ways to cash in instead of wasting good money.

News 12 Staff

Sep 21, 2022, 10:13 AM

Updated 610 days ago

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According to a recent study, almost 50% of us have at least one unused gift card. News 12's consumer reporter Janice Lieberman gives us The Real Day on ways to cash in instead of wasting good money.
Hard to believe but the holidays are coming quick. Gift cards are a great gift, if they are actually used. 
Most of us would rather have cash in our pocket than an unused gift card. Experts say there are $21 billion of unused cards, with many having $175 left in our drawers. So, use them or sell them! 
Kelsey Sheehy, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet, says people should treat gift cards like cash.
"Keep them in your wallet so they're ready to use whenever you have the chance and don't feel like you need to save your gift card for some hypothetical big purchase," Sheehy says.
With cards that are widely accepted like Visa, MasterCard and American Express, it's easier to deplete the balance, but with store cards, small balances are sometimes forgotten.
"Chip away at that balance with small everyday purchases or splurge and treat yourself to something fun. If a gift card is just not a good fit, you can re-gift it, donate to charity or even sell it for cash," Sheehy says.
Sites like Card Cash, Gift Cash or even Charity Choice, which is a nonprofit organization, will let you donate your unused, unwanted store gift cards or restaurant gift cards to an organization that can use them. The offers in these websites should range between 70-90% of the total value.
GiftCardGranny.com tells you how much is left on your card, or if you used it.
Take a picture of the gift card in case you lose it, or if you don't have it with you at checkout. If you plan on selling your card, choose a reputable website. Popular restaurants and stores will fetch the most.
Check out CouponFollow.com for discounts on purchasing cards.
If you have a story idea, question or tip, click here to reach out to Janice.      


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