6 secrets to get more out of your gift cards

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Gift cards are a way of life in America. Each year, about 93 percent of people in the United States either give or receive a gift card. Beyond just spending the value on the card, did you know you can make gift cards pay off to an even greater degree?

If your favorite aunt gave you a gift card to a retailer you don’t really like, you cab take that card to Target and trade it in for one of the retailer’s own gift cards. Bring gift cards from leading consumer brands that still have a balance to a participating Target store, and exchange them for a Target gift card that can be used for online purchases at Target.com or in any Target store. Target has a list of gift cards it accepts on its website, however, you might not get full value for the card.

Buying a gift card at a discount gift card website is another great way to boost your savings. Several such sites exist, and the bargains vary depending on which site you choose. For example, at Raise.com you can find Target gift cards for up to 1.5 percent off and up to 5 percent off at CardPool.com.

You can also sell your unwanted gift cards at these sites. Raise.com has recently lowered its fees, allowing you to keep more of the profits on cards you sell there.

If you belong to a warehouse club, you might get a discounted price on gift cards for your favorite restaurants and retailers. For example, Costco offers deals, like two $50 P.F. Chang’s gift cards for $79.99. Sam’s Club card bargains include three $20 gift cards to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit for $47.98.

Each holiday season, scores of restaurants offer to give you free bonus gift cards when you buy a gift card at the regular price. That makes December the perfect time to stock up on these cards. You’ll have to wait until December to see what’s available. To get a sneak peek of what might be to come this year, check out “17 Restaurants Offering Free Gift Cards for the Holidays.

A feel-good, do-good option is to donate your unwanted gift card. You can do this by handing the card directly to a charity. Consider a church, food bank or school that might use it to buy supplies, or offer it to a needy family in your community. Cardpool and Compassion International co-founded CardFunder which lets consumers donate gift cards with available funds on them to a number of charitable efforts.

Here are a few websites that offer options for unused gift cards:

Buy or Sell Gift Cards

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