Sunday, January 30, 2011

Money Earner: Gift Cards

Gift cards are great presents. But sometimes they are completely useless. When you get a gift card to a retailer at which you don't shop you may be at a loss for what to do with it. I know I could never bring myself to use the Bloomingdales gift card that has been sitting in my drawer for a year. I just cannot spend tripple what I usually would for the very same items of clothing because I have a gift card. Woudn't it be great if you could convert that gift card into actual cash? Well, now you can.

There are two ways to convert unused gift cards to cash. Each has its pros and cons.

1) e-bay: Once you register with e-bay you can sell just about anything. This includes electronic or conventional gift cards. I have seen amazon gift cards for 50$ sell at auction for as high as 47$. However, you should be aware that ebay will charge you a commission and possibly also a listing fee. You will also have to deal with the buyer. This is especially important when selling an electronic gift card. An unscrupulous buyer can use your card and then claim that you sent them a faulty code, or a code with no money attached. E-bay and paypal just about always side with the consumer.

This can be avoided by selling to people who have many positive ratings. The more positive ratings you have the more likely someone is to buy your card. The more positive ratings a user has the less likely they are to scam you. So far I have never had a problem with unscrupulous buyers but I would remiss if I did not mention the possibility. I have once had a person who won my card at auction and then canceled the transaction forcing me to have to relist the item. It didn't cost me anything but it was a time drain. Always save as much proof of the transaction as you can. The fear of unscrupulous buyers is why I try and use option number 2 whenever possible.

2) Plastic Jungle: Plastic jungle is a website that buys and sells gift cards. You sell your card directly to plastic jungle, never having to deal with a client at all. There is no danger of unscrupulous buyers. The company serves as a middleman. They offer a flat fee per card (the exact amount depends on the gift card vendor) that may be lower than what you can get on ebay. However, there is less hassle and no fee. They accept an extensive amount of hard copy gift gift cards. You print out a shipping label that they genreate and they pay for all shiping costs. More recently they have added an option to accept electronic gift cards. Delivery is immediate as is your payment. If you are interested in selling an e-gift card make sure it is currently accepted as options are currently limited to a handful of vendors.

These options are great for making money when used in combination with gift cards obtained for free or for half off from credit card deals (see Credit Card Series posts) or from banking thank you points. And yes, they even rescued my Bloomingdale's gift card.


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