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In Touch With 21st - January 2014

What to Do with All Those Gift Cards

Help with unwanted gift cards

Millions of Americans received gift cards this past holiday season. But what can you do if you get a gift card you know you are unlikely to use? In the past you could end up stuck, and the card would go unused. Not any longer: read on for some tips on how you can turn unwanted gift cards into cash.

Sell the Card

There are many websites that will purchase your unwanted gift card for a small fee. You won’t get the face value of the card. But you will get cash back by mail or funds deposited into a PayPal account. Be sure to research the company you choose, what fees they charge and how long it will take to receive your funds.

Exchange the Card

The sites that offer you cash back often let you buy other gift cards using the value of your unwanted one. Giftcardgranny.com, for example, will help you compare sites that offer exchanges for your gift card. Alula.com directs consumers to kiosks that take gift cards. These specialty kiosks take cards from different retailers and pay 65 to 85 percent of the face value. You can also swap the cards through websites like Swap A Gift, which uses a partner network to offer physical retail outlets to exchange a gift card.

Donate to Charity

A great way to use an unwanted gift card is to donate the card to charity. Many charities will accept the cards directly to provide care and services to their clients. If you want your donation to stay within your community, check to see if your local shelter or boys and girls club could use or auction the card you donate. On a larger scale, you can search online for websites that support a favorite cause that will accept the gift cards and distribute them to qualified recipients. Research how your donation will be used before sending in the card, and make sure you understand how your funds will be made available to those you are hoping to help. Large non-profit organizations often have donation contact information listed on their website. Email the contact, describing the gift card and its value. In return for the donation, the organization will supply you with a letter acknowledging your gift. The letter should be on their stationery, indicating the date it was received, the value of the gift, and their tax ID number. Keep this for your records, as you can take the tax deduction for charitable contributions.

One Last Resort

Finally, don’t forget, you can always re-gift your card. Gift cards are not registered to individual recipients, so if the card is unused and in good shape, pop the card into a new envelope and send it along to someone else. The main thing is to make sure the card is used in some way, as a gift, sold/exchanged or donated to a charity. It’s estimated that millions of dollars go unused each year on gift cards – let’s try not to contribute to that number.

Please note: This information is of a general nature for educational purposes only. It must not be taken as advice and does not signify an endorsement. 21st Century Insurance is not responsible for any injuries or loss incurred.

Sources: technorati.com; giftcardgranny.com; moneycrashers.com; alula.com

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