PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Chances are you got a gift card for Christmas or sometime over the holiday season.
Gift cards have ballooned into a $32 billion a year business with about half of shoppers buying one this year. But what if you get a gift card you don’t want or know you’ll never use?READ MORE: Local Pediatricians Offer Health Advice For Trick-Or-Treating This Halloween
“Once I got a gift card to this clothing store I had no interest in. I just gave it to my little sister,” one shopper said.
Another way to get rid of gift cards – trade them for cash at one of the many gift-card exchange websites out there. Consumer Reports checked out four of them.
“These websites buy your cards at less than face value and then resell them,” Consumer Reports’ Tod Marks said. “That means you’ll get less, sometimes a lot less than they’re worth at the store.”
For example, a $100 Toys “R” Us gift card gets $80.50 at GiftCards.com but shrinks to $50 at MonsterGiftCard.com.Ohio Messes Up New Wright Brothers License Plate Design
“We looked at 13 different store gift cards in our experiment, and GiftCards.com gave us the most money back, but it still pays to shop around,” Marks said.
You’ll generally get more cash back for gift cards from popular stores. With Walmart, a $100 gift card gets you around $90 at all the sites Consumer Reports checked.
Another option: you can get cash right away at CoinStar Exchange kiosks found in stores throughout the country, but you may not get as much money back as you would have on the websites. For example, a $100 Walmart card gets only $71 there.
Some people give bank gift cards because they’re kind of like “one size fits all.”
“If they carry the logo of MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover, they can be redeemed at any merchant that accepts those cards,” Marks said.MORE NEWS: Study Says Water Is Pennsylvania's Biggest Phobia
But keep in mind that bank gift cards usually carry extra fees.