The card exchange

December 27th, 2011

Some of the cards being offered at Gift Card Granny.

Was Santa good to you?

New kinds of days keep emerging around Christmas season to help retailers move products, but Gift Card Exchange Day is one of the few to help consumers move their unwanted gift cards.

Returns and exchanges once applied to physical goods, but with gift card sales hitting $100 billion, chances are the same qualms apply. While appreciative of the gifts and blessings that come our way, all the good wishes won’t erase the reality that some retailers just don’t suit your style, or maybe you turned vegan in the last year, but your aunt remembers your steakhouse-frequenting past life.

Gift Card Exchange Day is actually the day after Christmas, but if you were too overwhelmed to do anything that day, you can still head to to get the ball rolling.

At the site, you can enter the merchant name and denomination on the unwanted card to receive cash bids from gift card resellers. The highest rates paid are the day after Christmas. Cards from such popular retailers selling necessities, i.e. gas stations, Target, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Safeway will get you 92 percent of the card’s value. For other retailers, you’ll generally get back 75 percent of the value of the card, so a $50 card is likely to net you about $37.50.

The site also includes links and phone numbers where you can check on the balances of the cards you have.

You can also shop for gift cards at a 6 to 23 percent discount (they even do the math for the math-challenged, so you know where the biggest savings are) off their face value, mostly through eBay auctions that the site can link you to.

If you’re not sure you can trust the average eBayer, here are other sites to check out. The savings may not be as great, but you’ll have peace of mind that the card will arrive at the stated value:

For those who frequent just a few favorite stores, buying cards at a discount is one way of making sure you can shop at sale prices through the year, even when there’s no sale going on.

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