According to the National Retail Federation, 88 percent of consumers are expected to purchase gift cards this holiday season — up from 77 percent last year. Sooner or later, you’ll be on the receiving end of a gift card from a retailer that you never frequent. Here’s what to do with unwanted gift cards.
Look for someone who will actually use the cards before you pass them on. Re-gifting isn’t a bad thing if you are actually benefitting someone else.
Many websites allow you to swap or sell gift cards, but this often involves fees or the obligation to take another gift card in return. Beginning this week, Swap.com is expanding its online marketplace for swapping books, CD and DVDS to products from virtually any category — including unused gift cards. So now, you’ll be able to swap an unwanted gift card for something you really want, whether that’s an iPod shuffle or a piece of furniture. There are no fees; the site is completely free to use.
Give them to charity
Giving a gift card to charity gives you the satisfaction of donating to a worthy cause, plus a tax write-off. Your local children’s or homeless shelter probably accepts gift card donations. Also check out the websites of large non-profit organizations to see if they accept cards For tax purposes, be sure you get a receipt or a letter from the charity listing the date received, value of the card and a tax ID number.