4 Smart Uses for Gift Card Programs


For many of us giving gift cards has become the ultimate solution when trying to find a great gift for a friend or family member. Gift cards allow you to designate the value of each card and choose the store where the card can be used. However, there may be times when you receive cards you just can’t use. When that’s the case, consider these smart solutions for using cards to benefit yourself or others.

Donate to Good Causes

Unwanted cards are the perfect way to help out charities, homeless shelters, soup kitchens or animal rescue centers. Many of these businesses will gladly accept your donation of a gift card, and they can put it to good work.

If the charity or organization cannot accept the type of card you have, you can easily have the card converted to cash, and make a cash donation to any organization of your choosing. In addition, cards that are good at large retailers could be used to purchase goods like dog food for animal shelters or clothing that homeless shelters would be glad to receive.

Convert Gift Cards to Cash

If you’ve received a card for a business that you won’t be able to use, consider converting the card into cash. Several gift card exchanges online are more than willing to purchase gift cards. You’ll end up getting some value and it won’t go to waste.

Selling unwanted cards to reputable websites that deal in exchanges makes it easy for consumers. Depending upon the site and their current inventory of cards, you may receive a cash value from about 70 percent to 90 percent of the card value.

Check the terms of use on sites you’re considering. Some sites may pay by check through the mail or credit a PayPal account.

Re-gift the Card

Fortunately, gift cards really are versatile and can easily be re-gifted. If you’re doing fine financially or just don’t have a need for a particular card, there is a good chance that someone would be delighted to receive a card you can’t use.

If the card looks worn after carrying it around in your purse, ask the retailer to exchange it for a new one before re-gifting the card. Double check the value on your card to verify the balance. Consider adding more money to make it a worthwhile gift.

Get Creative

Using your gift card to buy gifts for other people is an excellent way to get value from your card. You’ll save money by buying gifts with the card, and you’ll have your shopping done for some birthday or Christmas presents.

If you aren’t planning on using a card at a retail store or restaurant, hand it to a cashier at the store, and ask them to apply the credit on the card to the next customers making purchases. A stranger may be overwhelmed by your generosity and the card won’t be lost or collecting dust.

If you’ve received a gift card you just can’t use, put it to good use by donating, giving it to a stranger or re-gifting.