Not too many Christmases ago, all-purpose, prepaid holiday gift cards were the ultimate holiday present that could do no wrong in the hands of its recipient. Today, our attitudes have changed somewhat.
While the Starbucks and Targets of the world have become names associated closely with the gift card as we know it, few shopping outlets can match their pitch-perfect customer satisfaction levels; a gift card from another retailer might not be as coveted as it once was. Like that garish sweater we’ll never wear, a voucher for merchandise we don’t want has no value, no matter what its price tag reads. And perhaps no other store this Christmas may evoke that feeling than Best Buy.
The longtime electronics chain isn’t faring too well these days financially, with competitors like Amazon and Apple. Even former Best Buy chairman Richard Schulze can’t seem to save the out-of-touch gizmo giant from retail oblivion. Though Schulze was given an extension until February to save the struggling company, according to Wired.com, last week’s trading on Best Buy fell 15 percent. To say Best Buy isn’t quite popular this holiday season is an understatement.
So what can you do later this month when you’ve got a few unwanted Best Buy gift cards with nothing to spend them on? No, you won’t have to put them on some clandestine gift card black market. But there are a number of online destinations to find your gift cards a new home, buy reduced cards to replace them, and give a Christmas present to that special someone in your life: your savings account.
Cards for Savings Account Cash — The Where and How
Don’t feel badly about unloading your Best Buy gift cards. If you don’t want yours, someone else will. If it means making some green from it, all the better to purchase a gift (or another gift card) of something you really like. Several “gift card marketplaces” that sell gift cards are worth checking out.
1. Gift Card Granny
A database listing the best gift card auctions and sales available on other websites, like eBay or ABC Gift Cards. While it’s not a direct point of sale, it’s a great destination for collecting all of the most recent gift cards up for grabs that you might have overlooked, or been unaware of.
The site’s layout is very good, listing each card, its original value, selling price, and seller. For gift card buyers, this is a great resource for discounted gift cards, too. (A $119 gift card on GCG goes for $116.62, a 3.5% reduction.)
Cardpool is a good buyer’s marketplace, but also gives choice to gift card sellers, too. If you’re worried about getting only a fraction for what your gift card is worth, have no fear — according to Cardpool, sellers can obtain up to 92% of their card’s original value. Cardpool also accommodates gift card “bulk sales” of $5,000 or more.
Cardcash does what its name says — the website will turn around your Best Buy gift cards into cash, eliminating the need to place it up for sale on the web. Cardcash is impressively fast and resourceful, and will issue a high reimbursement rate for your gift card within 24 hours, through either check, PayPal or direct deposit.
There are also sites like Swapagift.com, with offline locations where you can trade in your gift card for cash, in person.
Getting the “Best Buy” for Your Best Buy Cards
Pam Goodfellow of Forbes cited last week a new study from the National Retail Federation, which reported that gift card sales have experienced a resurgence in 2012. Store bought gift card sales, according to the report, are up 25% from last year.
If you successfully auction or sell your Best Buy gift cards, you can use the cash to buy a gift card for another store. But don’t get one at a walk-in location; use your card selling skills to buy discounted gift cards off the web.
What’s great about Best Buy gift cards is that they retain most of their value — what little money you may lose when you sell gift cards can be made up through buying another gift card, from another vendor, at a steeper discount. For instance:
- At Giftcardzilla, a $100 Best Buy gift card auctions for $95.50; at a 5% discount, that’s a $4.50 difference.
However, you can cut the loss and have cash left over by buying a second hand gift card online, for a Best Buy competitor, at a larger or equal discount.
- Giftcardzilla lists a $100 SonyStyle gift card for $90. That’s a 10% discount, twice the savings of a Best Buy card.
- One hundred-dollar gift cards for Apple and Target stores also list for $95.50 at various auction sites, so you won’t lose a cent on the turnaround of your Best Buy cards.
Be a Savvy Gift Card Seller
When you buy and sell gift cards, treat them like any other item of value. If you’ve received an unwanted gift card or certificate, check store terms before selling it — you may be able to redeem yours for cash, in store. Best Buy does not honor gift card returns for cash, though other retailers may.
Best Buy gift cards, though, don’t expire, so that gives you plenty of time to auction or sell yours off at the best rate you can find. With the gift card selling websites listed in this article, plus others across the web, you’ll be able to compare and contrast how much money other comparably priced Best Buy cards are going for.
Be patient for good prices in the post-holiday season. Take advantage of them — but don’t take them at face value. Best Buy’s uncertain future could make this the last Christmas we’ll ever see a gift card from the retailer again.
(Top Image: Rob Boudon)