Could buying discounted gift cards online help you save money and reduce your spending each month? Possibly, if you teach yourself not to spend them like free money. Also, be aware that inventory and discounts on gift cards can vary greatly from one site to the next, and you could end up spending a significant amount of time trying to hunt down the best deal.
Fortunately, there are some sites that help you find the best deals and save the most money on the specific cards you’re looking for. Some of these sites also buy cards if you have unused gift cards you'd like to sell for cash.
This list is a compilation of discount card sites, but be aware that their deals and requirements are constantly changing, and you should consider the pros and cons carefully before making a purchase.
- Buying discounted gift cards can be a good way to save money, but unless you plan on purchasing in large amounts, the time-to-savings ratio doesn't always warrant the investment.
- Some card sites will buy back unused cards, but you are unlikely to receive a full credit or the cash equivalent.
- There are some people who purchase and sell discounted cards independently as a way to generate profit.
Giftcards.com says it offers discounts of up to 35% on gift cards from more than 100 name-brand merchants. Some gift cards are only available as gift codes, which means you can only use them for online purchases. To get a physical gift card by mail, you’ll pay about $2 in postage for USPS shipping, which takes five to nine business days.
At the time of this writing, Giftcards.com had Staples electronic gift cards available in a variety of denominations, mostly in the $25 to $95 range, all with an 8% discount. There were quite a few Whole Foods gift cards worth about $25 to $165 being sold at a 6% discount.
There were a few dozen Old Navy gift cards valued at $25 and offering a discount of 15%. There were both physical and electronic Nike gift cards ranging in value from $25 to $105, all with a 6% discount. For many top merchants, there were just one or two gift cards available. With any gift card site, however, inventory can change at any time depending on how much supply is available and how much demand there is.
Cardpool also says it offers discounts of up to 35% on gift cards, and its homepage features gift cards from major merchants such as Home Depot, Petco, and Best Buy. The site has an ample selection of both physical and electronic gift cards, as well as printable electronic gift certificates that can be used online or in-store from dozens of merchants. Physical gift cards ship free via USPS.
At the time of this writing, Cardpool offered a few dozen Best Buy gift cards and gift codes in a variety of denominations starting at $15, all with a 5% discount. There were dozens of Uber email gift cards (good for rides or UberEats) worth $15 to $25 being sold at a 5% discount.
There were dozens of Petco gift cards available, ranging from $25 to $100, with a 4% discount. Restaurant chains Subway, Red Lobster, and TGI Friday's had gift cards discounted anywhere from 4% to 17%. There were no gift cards available for quite a few merchants, including Costco, Walmart, and Target.
At Raise.com, there were discounts as high as 35% off for a House of Hoops gift card from Foot Locker. Raise might have the broadest selection, with discounted gift cards from nearly 1,000 name-brand merchants. Like Giftcards.com, some gift cards at Raise.com are only available as eGift cards, which means you can only use them for online purchases. The site also sells physical gift cards and printable vouchers. To get a physical gift card by mail, shipping is free.
Unlike the other gift card sites described in this article, Raise lets sellers choose their discount.
At the time of writing, there were hundreds of Target gift cards available, from about $20 to $300, with discounts up to 0.5%. For Lowe's, there were hundreds of gift cards available ranging in value from $25 to $500, with discounts up to 4.2%. As with other sites, only a couple of gift cards were available for certain retailers. Some retailers’ gift cards were in abundant supply.
CardCash offers discounts of up to 35% on gift cards from more than 550 merchants. The site sells both physical gift cards and printable e-cards. To get a physical gift card by mail, standard USPS shipping is free, and your card should arrive in one to five business days.
At the time of this writing, there were dozens of Whole Foods gift cards worth $9.29 to $256.19 being sold at a discount between 2% and 2.7%. Best Buy was well represented, with more than 100 cards valued as little as $5.00 and as much as $60.55, with discounts ranging from 2% to 3.14%. There were also a few dozen Gap gift cards in a wide variety of denominations with discounts ranging from 10% to 12.02%, and 90 Target gift cards available for $5 to $82.59, all with discounts of 6% or more.
For Home Depot, there were more than 100 gift cards available in amounts from $5.00 to $199, all with discounts of 1.0%. Autozone gift cards (valid in-store only and not online) had dozens of cards available with discounts ranging from 30.3% to 31.62% for cards valued from $6.38 to $1,255.
Studies have shown that people spend gift card balances more freely than they spend cash. Some people have the self-control to spend gift cards like cash, but others will spend more than they would have otherwise.
Another problem arises if you want to return something you purchase with a gift card. Instead of getting real money back as you would if you made the purchase with a credit or debit card or with cash, you’ll usually get your refund in the form of a gift card.
You also have to consider the value of your time. A 5% discount at Starbucks sounds great, but when that means getting a $15 gift card for $14.25, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the trouble just to save 75 cents. At larger denominations, your dollar savings become more significant, but even if you buy a $100 gift card with a 5% discount, you’re only saving $5.
The Bottom Line
Gift card inventory is constantly changing. Because inventories and discounts vary by site, there’s no one best choice for buying discounted gift cards. Giftcards.com, Cardpool, Raise, and CardCash are just a few of the many websites that sell discounted gift cards.
There are several others, and all offer the same basic service: a way to buy retail store gift cards for less than face value. Giftcards.com was the only one that charged for shipping at the time of this writing.