With Christmas only a few days away, there is still time to give that special someone what they really want (a gift card to their favorite store) without leaving the sanctity of your own home. There are now several gift card exchange sites competing for your business over the internet. Besides giving you the ability to purchase a discounted gift card, most gift card exchange sites will purchase or exchange unused gift cards as well. We’ve taken a look at some of the top gift card exchange sites that offer discounted gift cards to help you find one that fits your needs. (Just in time for last-minute holiday shopping!). Be sure to catch our follow up article called, “Have An Unused Gift Card? Sell It!“
It is important to understand that most, if not all cards offered on these gift card exchange websites are pre-owned and like any pre-owned product, there is the chance of it being “less-than-perfect”. With that said, all the sites we took a look at offer some sort of guarantee of their product. Here’s what we looked at: the card availability or selection available of each site (their inventory may vary from day to day), the shipping cost, how simple or intuitive each site is to navigate and any unique attributes offer by each site. Finally, we looked to make sure that each site prominently displayed some way of getting in touch with customer service (for you convenience, we provide the customer service contact info for each site). With that in mind, let’s get started!
Card Availability With 50 gift cards offered per page and 38 pages, plasticjungle.com is one of the leaders in this category with almost 1900 cards available for purchase. Card availability of the “Big 5” retailers (Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s) was limited, probably due to the holiday season. Best Buy had the most with over 30 gift cards available. Although PlasticJungle.com claims to have discounts up to 30%, we only found one card offered at 25% for 1-800-flowers on the day we looked. There were several decent discounts offered over 10%, but more than half of the gift cards were less than 10% and the more popular Big 5 were typically less than 7% discounted.
Shipping Cost Free Shipping is available with up to two weeks delivery time.
Web Site Navigation Very simple, straight forward layout with the main category links located at the top of the home page directing customers to “How it Works” or “Buy Cards” or “Sell Cards”. Easy to see picture links of all cards are shown in the main body of the home page. Just click on whichever card you wish to see availability. If you click on the green button on the top left of the buy cards page, you can see a list of all cards and perform sorts according to merchant, value and discount in case you specifically are looking for say, a $100 Sears card with a 5-10% discount. You will have to open an account with your email, password and address info to continue on and purchase a card. There are two methods of purchasing, PayPal or credit card.
Unique Attributes At the bottom of the homepage there are links for Wish List and Learning Center. If there is a card that you want, but isn’t available, you can set up a notification on Wish List a plasticjungle.com will email you when one becomes available. Gift Guru can assist buyers when setting up card purchase as a gift to another. Also, there is an in-depth Learning Center set up to help web users navigate the site.
Customer Service – Email: email@example.com; Phone: 877-695-8645.
Card Availability CardPool.com had over 120 cards available for purchase when we reviewed their site. Gift cards from the Big 5 Card retailers were limited, with only a few Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s gift cards available. Only one Target gift card was available for $500 and no Wal-Mart gift cards. The only 30% discount available was for 1-800-flowers gift cards, and there were only 5 available. Several movie theater gift cards were offered at 20% discounts, and several other gift cards were offered with discounts between 10% and 20%.
Shipping Cost Free Shipping is available by USPS (3-7 day turnaround).
Web Site Navigation Another very simple site with “How it Works”, “Buy Gift Cards” and “Sell Gift Cards” easily found at the top of the home page. Also displays card graphics well. One nice feature on this site is the category and merchant link lists on left side of home page will turn blue and display a number if there are cards available in that category. Also helpful is a checkout feature that you can choose several cards and see total discount and payment required before you have to open an account with your email, password and address info. The site requires payment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover.
Unique Attributes Electronic Gift Cards are available and can be emailed within 24 hours. You can also manage a Wish List from a link on the top of the homepage. A $10 incentive will be awarded for friends invited to Cardpool.com
Customer Service – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. No telephone number available.
Card Availability Cardwoo.com, as of today, had over 400 cards available for purchase. Gift cards from the Big 5 retailers were limited, with about 10 Best Buy gift cards and 5 Lowe’s gift cards. Home Depot, Target and Wal-Mart gift cards were not available. There were only four 30% discount cards available for Bluemercury Spa, Marcus Theatres and Wolfgang Puck’s (2). There were plenty of Spa Finders gift cards at a 20% discount and there was a large supply of other cards offered between 10% and 20%.
Shipping Cost Free Shipping is availabl by USPS (3-5 day turnaround).
Web Site Navigation The home page of the Cardwoo.com site is a little cluttered, but offers “Sell Cards”, “Buy Cards” and “How it Works” at the top of the home page. On the Buy Card landing page, card graphics are displayed well. The site has a card filter on left side that will help you narrow down your search. You will have to open an account with your email, password and address info. The site requires payment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover.
Unique Attributes eDelivery of select gift cards that is displayed directly under card picture when available. There is a Gift Card Wish List link on the right side of the Buy Cards landing page in case you want to be notified of a card not listed for purchase.
Customer Service – Email: email@example.com. 877-810-6490.
Card Availability We found between 100 and 150 cards available on the GiftCardRescue.com site. Only a few Big 5 merchant gift cards were available (today, only cards from Home Depot and Lowe’s were available with none of the other Big 5 retailers represented). GiftCardRescue.com claims to have 30% discount offerings, but we only found two Ann Taylor cards for a 25% discount, all others were discounted at 20% and below. The majority of the gift cards offered was available at over a 10% discount.
Shipping Cost Free Standard USPS Shipping is available for 7-10 day delivery as well as several options including Express USPS overnight for $16.50.
Web Site Navigation The home page of the GiftCardRescue.com site has the normal “Sell Cards”, “Buy Cards”, “Wish List” and “How it Works” at the top of the home page. On the Buy Cards landing page, card graphics are displayed well. The GiftCardRescue.com site has a card filter on left side that will help you narrow down your search by category and merchant. The number of cards currently available is next to the company or category name. You can get pricing and total discounts before registering your email address and password by clicking on the “Buy for” button to the right of each card. The site requires payment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover and you will have to set up an account with email, password and address info before buying a card.
Unique Attributes GiftCardRescue.com currently offers a promotion of being able to win a $100 Shopping Spree by subscribing to newsletter. There is a green button labeled “Wish List” on the right hand side of Buy Card landing page.
Customer Service – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. 1-877-800-4413.
Card Availability On the GiftCards.com site, click on “Discounted Gift Cards” and then “View All Available Gift Cards”. When checked today, GiftCards.com had less than 40 cards available. Of the Big 5 retailers, only 5 gift cards at Lowe’s were available. There were no percentage discount numbers available, although we found several in the 12 to 15% range doing our own math. None found were close to the advertised 25% discount.
Shipping Cost GiftCards.com offers free Standard USPS Shipping (with 7-10 day delivery) as well as several options including Federal Express overnight for $44.89.
Web Site Navigation The home page of giftcards.com is somewhat busy as there are several offerings being presented. In the top right corner, you can click on “discounted gift cards” to get where you need to go. There is a unique filter that you can sort the cards by: Merchant Name, Newest (days), Savings Amount ($), Price, Balance and Popularity. The site requires payment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover and you will have to set up an account with email, password and address info before buying a card.Unique Attributes GiftCards.com allows you to pay your bills online with unused gift cards valued between $25 and $200.
Customer Service – Email: submit on the website at “Contact Us” link. 1-877-944-3822.
Card Availability There were over 100 cards available today on MonsterGiftCard.com. Of the Big 5 retailers, only 3 Lowe’s gift cards were available – all valued at over $200. The highest percentage discount available was a Cache card at 21%. There were several other merchant cards available in the 20% discount category. The majority of the cards listed had discounts 10% or higher.
Shipping Cost Free Standard USPS Shipping is available for 7-10 day delivery as well as several options including USPS Express Mail for $21.00.
Web Site Navigation Clean, easily navigable home page with tab links for “home”, “buy”, “sell” and “trade”. Click on the “buy” tab to see card availability. You can perform an “advanced search” at the top of the landing page, or you can scroll down a bit and see a “gift card listings” table. One neat aspect of the table is the ability to click on each of the headings to perform a sort. So if you want to see cards listed in order of “card balance” or “% discount”, just click on the headings and you will get them in alphabetical or lowest-to-highest order. You will have to set up and account with email, password, etc. prior to viewing multiple cards in a shopping cart. The site requires payment by Visa, MasterCard or Discover.
Unique Attributes You can use the “Monster Point System” which allows you to swap gift cards online with another user anonymously and set your own price. There is a listing fee of 4.95% + $1.49 to monstergiftcard.com. You can also get “instant trade credit” by selling card to monstergiftcard.com and trading for points toward participating retailer cards.
Customer Service – Email: email@example.com. 1-866-439-6340.