What can I do with old or unwanted gift cards?
If you're holding on to old or unwanted gift cards, consider the many ways you can help ensure they don't go to waste.
Sell them. Search online for sites that allow you to exchange or sell your gift cards. You may wind up having to pay a small fee to complete the transaction, but at least you can trade in your unwanted gift card for one that you will actually use.
Donate them. Donating unused gift cards can be a great way to contribute to your favorite nonprofits. Plus, your donation may be tax deductible.
Reuse them. Before you throw away any gift cards you might have that carry a low or zero balance, check to see whether it's possible for you to add value back on to them. Many retailers offer customers the ability to reload store-issued gift cards in exchange for rewards and/or discounts.
Gift them to someone else. Did you receive a gift card for a store you dislike or where you never shop? Simply regift it to someone else who may actually shop there. You'll please the gift card recipient as well as save yourself from having to spend money on a future gift for that individual.
Return them. Have realistic expectations before initiating a return: Some retailers might not exchange the full value of the card for cash. You may be refunded only a percentage of the face value of the card, or you could end up receiving an in-store credit (which won't do you much good if you don't shop at the store in the first place). Other retailers might even refuse to accept a gift card return unless you have the purchase receipt. As a result, check the return policy of a gift card's issuer before attempting to return it.
Upcycle them. Most gift cards are made of a plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This particular type of material is recyclable, but few curbside programs are able to accept this form of plastic because it may contaminate other recyclables in a given batch. You can still do your part to reduce waste, though, by upcycling your empty gift cards. Find creative project ideas online that can help you transform your old gift cards into something useful.