So you just spotted, tucked away in your wallet, that gift card you received over the holidays. You still have plenty of time to use it. Here are some ideas.
Cash it in. Online marketplaces such as Cardpool.com and PlasticJungle.com will buy your cards, but don’t expect to reclaim full value. You can compare how much various sites will pay for a card as a percentage of its value at GiftCardGranny.com. Sites such as Cardpool.com, GiftCards.com, GiftCardRescue.com and PlasticJungle.com will buy only cards issued by major retailers, but you can sell any card at any price on eBay or on Card Hub’s exchange
Get off the ground. Airline travelers may find a new option enticing. United Continental’s MileagePlus Gift Card Exchange allows members of the airline’s frequent-flier program to trade in gift cards from dozens of retailers for miles. Cards must have a balance of at least $25, and you may redeem partially used cards.
Look out for bum cards. Gift cards in stores are vulnerable to theft, says David Jones, chief executive of GiftCardLab.com. Someone could copy the card number, then check frequently to see whether there’s money loaded on it. As soon as a balance appears, the thief makes a purchase. Call the retailer to ask whether you can register your card. Before you transfer a card, make sure the money hasn’t vanished. Try GiftCardGranny.com’s Balance Checker.
Watch the deadlines. You have five years from the date the card was activated or loaded before the money expires.