Buying Gift Cards at a Discount to Save More When Shopping

There are online sites, called gift card exchanges, that sell unwanted gift cards at a discount. You can take advantage of this and save even more when you shop. Here’s what you need to know.

What are gift card exchanges?

You’ve been through this before. During the holidays, someone gives you a $50 gift card for Banana Republic when you’re clearly a J.Crew type of guy/girl. You thank them anyway, but in the back of your mind, you’re wondering what you’re even going to buy at place you don’t really shop at.

Enter gift card exchanges. These sites buys unwanted gift cards from people and resells them at a discount to people who really need them.

In the story above, the person who receives that $50 gift card for Banana Republic sells it to an exchange for $40. They then turnaround and offers it for sale for $45. It’s a win-win-win for all 3 parties involved:

  • Party 1: The seller gets rid of a card he/she didn’t want and gets actual money for it
  • Party 2: The buyer gets a card to a place where he/she will buy something at a discount
  • Party 3: The gift card exchange makes a little bit of money for making it all possible (buying a $50 card for $40 and sell it for $45)

Which gift card exchange site should I use?

Ones that offer great customer service, big discounts, and a guarantee. The last part, the guarantee, is the most important. I have never ran into any problems, but think about what could go wrong.

Maybe the person who sold the gift card is dishonest – he/she sells the gift card to an exchange, but then uses the gift card right afterwards. You’re stuck with a card that’s worthless.

Gift card exchanges are great at banning bad sellers and pursuing legal actions against those that do things like this, but that doesn’t help you, the buyer, if the situation arises.

To put people at ease, some exchanges offer a guarantee that if, within 1 year (can be shorter or longer time period depending on the exchange) of buying the gift card, that the card doesn’t work as expected, they will reimburse you for the purchase.

With that in mind, here are 3 of the biggest exchanges out there, offering good customer service, a wide variety of cards at a discount, and a guarantee that they’ll take care of you in case of any problems:


Raise is a privately-owned company launched in 2013 by George Bousis. Headquartered in Chicago, they are one of the biggest gift card exchanges in existence. It originally offered a 100-day guarantee, but raised (pun intended) it to 1 year.

I buy most of my cards here. Sometimes Raise also has site-wide sales, offering an additional discount on top what they normally resell it for.

One other thing I like about them is once you buy from them a couple times and they trust you, they will send the gift card information almost instantly. This is helpful in situations where you are ready to buy something and want to get a gift card last minute to reduce your cost.


CardPool is an established exchange created in the early 2000’s and later acquired by Blackhawk Network Holdings. They also have a 1 year guarantee on gift cards purchased through them.

What makes Cardpood unique is if you have gift cards to sell, they not only offer cash for it, but will give you 6% more if you take an Amazon gift card instead.

I tested this today and went through the process of seeing how much I can sell a $100 Walmart gift card for. If I decided to take cash for it, Cardpool will pay me $88.50.

But if I take an Amazon gift card instead, Cardpool will send me an Amazon card worth $93.81 (6% more than the cash value option). Something to consider if you are thinking about getting rid of some gift cards you’re not going to use.


CardCash and ABC Gift Cards are the same company. Based in New Jersey, this is also one of the gift card reseller giants. They offer one of the most wide-ranging assortment of cards available.

The reason why I don’t put them in the same level as Raise and Cardpool is that their guarantee is a little short at 45 days, while the other two offer 1 year.

Still, sometimes CardCash offers the highest discounts for gift cards and if you know you’ll spend the card within 45 days, this is also an excellent place to buy gift cards.

The Bottom Line

Buying discounted gift cards can be another weapon in your ninja arsenal.

Combined with our strategy on stacking promotions and coupons to buy things at the lowest price, along with using cash back shopping portals, you’ll be on you’re way to squeezing every last bit of your dollar’s worth!

What are biggest deals you’ve done? Curious to see what you paid vs the original retail price of something?

About John Pham

John Pham is a personal finance expert, serial entrepreneur, and founder of The Money Ninja. He has also been fortunate enough to have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and U.S. News & World Report. John has a B.S. in Entrepreneurship and a Masters in Business Administration, both from the University of New Hampshire.

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