Gift cards are one of the most requested gifts in the U.S. However, despite the popularity and versatility of gift cards, consumers sometimes find themselves with well-intentioned gift cards that go unused – like when they receive a gift card for a store where they don’t frequently shop or that doesn’t have a location in the area. This has resulted in the propagation of gift card exchange services online and in retailers across the country.
Gift card exchanges began popping up after consumers started selling or trading their unused gift cards on their own – often through unsafe channels like independent entities that allow peer-to-peer sales. Gift card exchanges now allow consumers to sell their gift cards for a payout that is less than the gift card’s value, and purchase other previously owned gift cards at a discount.
The Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA) found that 64 percent of shoppers would be open to using exchange websites to exchange gift cards that they received and did not want to use. However, the RGCA warns that consumers should educate themselves on gift card exchanges before selecting one, as the services are still new and not all offer equal experiences to shoppers.
The RGCA offers the following tips for shoppers considering using a gift card exchange in 2016: