Gift Cards explained – Part 2

Gift Cards - Part 2

In my last post (Gift Cards explained – Part 1) I talk about gift cards: what are they, how do you buy them, how can you save money using gift cards. Today I’ll continue on this subject answering the question:

What do you do when someone GIVES you a gift card?

Well, you have several options.

Use it!

You can just head to the store (brick and mortar or online) and buy something (of course you will not pay full price, right?). Just pick what you want and when the cashier asks you how are you going to pay, you say “With my gift card”. He/she will then add up the taxes and debit the value from your card balance.

Re-gift it!

Give the card to somebody else (thinking about holidays or birthdays here). Nice way to solve that last-minute birthday gift problem we all face sometimes. Do not wait too much to put that card to use. We’ll discuss this shortly.

Sell it!

If you don’t need it and are looking for money to buy some other stuff, you can try to sell the card. See if a friend or colleague is not in need of one. You cannot go to the store that emitted the card and exchange it for money or get a refund. But there are several websites where you can do it. I’ve never used any of them, but I’ve read good things about this practice., are some of the big players here.

Another option is the RedFlagDeals forum for selling and buying gift cards. We will talk about RedFlagDeals later because it deserves a post for it. For now, visit this forum if you need to sell or buy a card, but take care and check if the seller has a good reputation.

Be warned, though, that you will not get the face value by selling the card. First, because some of these websites will charge a fee (RedFlagDeals does not). Second, because some of them are more common than others. If you need to sell a common card, you will have to bargain, right? Why would anyone bother about buying a gift card from a website and pay fees if he/she would get no discount on it? On the other hand, some gift cards are a bit rare and people are willing to pay for them.

I would not be surprised to see somebody regularly buying discounted cards and selling them for a profit. Why not? If done right, I think it can be done.

Put it inside a drawer and forget about it (warning: bad idea)

As I said before, if the card expires or if the store goes out of business, there is not much you can do about the money stored in it. It’s lost, it’s gone, you will never ever see this money again. Because of that, maybe it’s not a good idea to hold on to that card for too long.

Gift Cards are a huge thing here in Canada. You will buy one or receive one sooner or later, so it’s always better to be prepared, right?


Do you have any good history about gift cards? Share in the comments, or send me an email. I have some, and I’ll tell them in another opportunity.

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