What Is an Online Gift Card Exchange?

Internet Gift Card Exchanges

Ever received a gift card for a store you hate? Or maybe you don’t hate the store, but you don’t live near enough to a franchise to make the gift card valuable. Online gift card exchanges exist as a trading post for gift cards, gift certificates, and even high value coupons. The idea behind the online gift card exchange is simple enough — find people who want your gift card (ideally people with a gift card you’d trade for) and setup a simple trade. This way, you don’t waste your gift, and someone else gets to spend money at a store they really want to do business with. Gone are the days of trading gift cards on the first day of school after Christmas — online gift card exchanges are the web’s answer to the playground trade.

$100 gift cards for as low as $70 to purchase brand name products at your favorite stores! PlasticJungle -Buy, sell & trade gift cards

There’s another side of the online gift card exchange, a genius bit of marketing that some shoppes can’t resist. The discounted gift card. Discount gift cards are not exactly revolutionary — I remember selling discounted gift cards as part of a school fundraiser as a kid — but the way these companies deal in discount gift cards is the draw. Many online gift card exchanges also offer discounts on store gift cards, meaning you don’t just get $1 of gift card credit for every $1 you spend. In some cases, you can earn as much as $0.40 more per dollar spent on the gift card. In layman’s terms, you can buy gift cards for thousands of different retailers that are worth more than you paid for them. Spend a ton of money at Bass Pro Shops? You could pick up a $250 Bass Pro Shops gift card for just $150 — that’s like getting a free Benjamin just for buying your new fishing pole.

The final option common to many online gift exchanges is a simple sale. Online gift card exchanges and discount gift card dealers need your gift cards to do business with other clients. Think of the discount retailer as a middle man between you and the gift card holder that wants to trade with you. Usually, it is better to find a trade on your own, but if you are having trouble getting rid of the terrible card your Aunt Betty gave you, simply selling it to a discount card dealer is a great option. The amount you can earn for your card differs by company. As of this writing, the most popular gift card exchanges are trading really high numbers for grocery stores and box store pharmacies (92% for Albertson’s or CVS) and particularly low numbers for chain restaurants (50% for Chili’s or Chipotle). If you have a really valuable gift card, you can earn some serious cash in exchange for the useless plastic in your wallet.

You can trade your current gift card to a member of one of these online gift card exchanges for a card at a store you like, or you can shop for discounted gift cards you can use at the stores you already visit. Either way, online gift card exchanges exist to fill a consumer need; sometimes we just want to get rid of those awful gift cards we get at holiday time.

Here’s a breakdown of three popular online gift card exchanges.


Buy, Sell, and Trade Gift Cards -PlasticJungle.comThis is a new player in the online gift card exchange world. Online since Fall of 2008, ABCGiftCards has earned a reputation as the largest discount online gift card dealer. You can also sell your gift cards to ABCGiftCards for some pretty good percentages. Most gift cards were exchanging at 70%, or seven bucks paid for every ten bucks on the gift card. The customer service at ABC is awesome — if your gift card isn’t listed on their page, you can call the company toll free to get a quote on its value. ABC has pledged to beat the numbers at all their competition, and will match advertised gift card values from other sites. ABC depends on their customers for business, so they want to offer good payment for the cards their customers want.

To get the best value for your gift cards at ABC, you need to have gift cards from specialty retailers or (best of all) a large gift card from a big chain grocery store. For instance, a $100 RiteAid card sold to ABCGiftCards.com tonight would earn the seller a check for $94.

The sale and trade process at ABC is top notch, and I’ll describe it here so you know what kind of service you should be getting from your gift card exchange service.

  1. Buy a card from ABC with an equal or greater face value than the card you want to get rid of.
  2. Pay with Paypal and have the cards shipped to a Paypal confirmed address.
  3. Fill out a trade form within twenty four hours.
  4. Wait for an email with shipping instructions to mail in your awful gif cards.
  5. Wait a few days for your Paypal account to be credited for the trade amount less any transaction fees.

Not everything at ABC is rosy — I don’t actually think they have the largest selection of gift cards or the largest volume in gift card trading as they claim. As an active user of ABCGiftCards I can promise you that the selection at ABC is not as good as at either of the other sites in this review. But you can get great value for your trade, and they move really fast.


I only use CertificateSwap.com (a site aimed at exchanging gift certificates) for a few specialized purposes. The site advertises that users can “Buy, sell, and trade gift cards”, and they do a good enough job of two out of those three. The problem with CertificateSwap is that most of the “certificates” are vouchers for travel. Sure, there’s a few other types of certificates scattered around, but most of the business at CertificateSwap is in the form of credits for rental cars, airplane tickets, or hotel reservations.

Now that I’ve complained about that lack of variety, I kind of like that you can hit up one website for travel gift certificates. I know that I will save some money if I book a flight with an airline I can find on CertificateSwap, or a hotel chain that I buy a gift card for on CS.com. All of the trades are handled through the mail, and most of the business at this site is between members.

CertificateSwap.com is an ugly website with too many ads. There, I said it. I don’t like the “eBay ten years ago” style interface and at the end of the day, the lack of variety in the gift cards here makes it only valuable to me a few times a year when I fly.


I have to include this specialty online gift card exchange because they’ve helped me out of some real gift card jams in the past. GiftCardRescue is one of the only online gift card services that will deal in so called “open loop” gift cards — re loadable cards and credit card branded gift cards such as Visa or Mastercard reloadable debit cards.

I understand that giving a credit card style gift card is a secure and classy way of giving someone money. Cash is pretty “blah”, and it seems like a cool idea to give a person a little card preloaded with money instead of a cheesy envelope with money in it. But I hate these open loop gift cards — it may be my least favorite gift. For starters, it is almost impossible to keep track of the running total on the card. I always feel awkward pulling out a Visa gift card on a date or pretty much in any public setting. I feel like it makes me look poor or incapable of having a real credit card. So when someone gifts me one of these open loop monsters, I know to head right for GiftCardRescue and barter for a good return.

I’ve sold four open loop cards to GCR and never made less than an 80% return. For a $500 gift card, that’s $400. Use these guys to sell that gift card that no one else will buy.

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Buy, Sell, and Trade Gift Cards -PlasticJungle.com