Discount Gift Cards: How Much Can You Save?

Assortment of gift cards

Assortment of gift cards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know where you shop regularly?

Would you be happy if the things you bought there were suddenly, magically discounted?

It could happen.

I don’t think the game store down the road is suddenly going to institute a “Jason Rocks” discount program, but some of the bigger chains I visit have an unofficial option that can save you money, and it’s not a five-finger discount.

You can buy discounted gift cards.   You can find a gift card exchange being run on a number of websites.  How does it work?

There are two kinds of card exchange.

The first simply connects buyers and sellers.    If you want to buy a gift card, you browse the list of available cards until you find something you like.   You place your order with the exchange, who then take a fee and pass the rest of the payment to the seller, who’s got the job of sending it to you.   When you get the card, you get to find out if the balance still exists or if it’s going to expire in the morning.   Most people don’t sell a lot of gift cards, so their reputation isn’t really at stake.  Avoid these, unless you like gambling.

The second kind of exchange actually buys the cards from the sellers and verifies the balance and expiration date before posting them for sale.   When you go shopping, you’re dealing with a company that is putting its reputation–both with its customers and its bank–on the line.  If there’s a problem, you’ve got someone to contact who probably isn’t going to vanish.

You visit the site, find a business you want to visit, and buy a card at a discount.   The discount ranges from around 3% up to around 30%, with most discounts hovering around 10%.    That means–depending on the store–you can get a $100 gift card for $90.   Not a bad deal, especially if it for a store you’d be visiting anyway.

Have you ever bought a second-hand gift card?  How did it work for you?

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  • 8 comments

    Comments

    1. I have seen the discount sites and thought about buying cheaper gift cards, but for most big stores (ie Target, Walmart, grocery store) that I go to regularly, the discount is not big enough to justify buying up front. I don’t go to those stores that often and I don’t want the gift card burning a hole through my pocket.

    2. This is something I plan on investigating. I never thought about buying discounted gift cards.

    3. I like this idea. Could save you a really decent amount of money during the dreaded Christmas season that is coming up fast.

    4. I’ve never bought a second hand gift card, but every year at Christmastime it seems like many of the places we like to go offer deals on their gift cards, so I pick up some them for later use.

    5. This topic was one of the first articles I ever wrote about on my blog. Discounted gift cards are great! I have used them many many times!

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