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How to Offload Unwanted Gift Cards

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RISMEDIA, August 6, 2007–(MarketWatch) — More and more people are giving gift cards in lieu of presents these days and while many of us appreciate the sentiment behind them we don’t always appreciate the giver’s taste in stores.

If Aunt Millie insists on giving you a $25 gift certificate for Toys “R” Us every year on your birthday even though you haven’t set foot in the place since you were 10, don’t just throw the card in a junk drawer along with all the others. You may be able to recoup the value.

There are now a number of Web sites that allow you to auction off unwanted gift cards or trade them in for cards from stores you regularly shop at:

Cardavenue.com. Registration for this site is free and takes less than five minutes. Once you’re signed in, browse available gift cards being offered for trade, or post your own for sale or swap. If you’re after a card from a particular retailer or restaurant, create a “wish list.” You can even combine two or more cards and trade them in for one card of equivalent value. So, for example, if you have a Starbucks’ card worth $50 and a Banana Republic card worth $100, you can swap them for one worth $150 at Bloomingdale’s.
Swapagift.com. This service allows you to trade or sell gift cards. Those looking to cash in their cards quickly should check out the site’s “preferred merchant list.” If your gift card comes from one of the retailers on the list, Swapagift will buy it from you for 60% to 70% of its original value. The only caveat: it has to be worth no less than $25 and no more than $500.

EBay. The online auction house doesn’t allow users to trade cards, but it is the largest market for selling them off, according to Bankrate.com, a Web site offering consumers free cost-saving advice. To start your search, just go to the home page and select “gift certificate” from the category menu.

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