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Options for Customers’ Unused Gift Cards

Receiving a gift card you can’t or will never use always happens to someone. When one of your members comes to you with the problem of unused gift cards, don’t let them leave feeling as if they lost.

Here is a handy list of some options for those unutilized gift cards.


  • Always a good option for anything you know you won’t use. iTunes gift cards are great for hard to shop for teenagers. Barnes and Noble gift cards are great for the book lover who seems to have read everything. The best part, no chance of giving it to the person who gave it to you.

Card Trades

  • This is an option you should be careful with. Many websites from Craigslist to Facebook offer groups for trading unused gift cards for different ones. Be vigilant if you’re going to try this. Verify legitimacy of the card you’ll be receiving and check the balance from the store’s website or from the phone number listed there. If possible, deposit the card’s funds on the store’s website immediately. offers this option.


  • Large gift card distributors such as Coinstar will buy certain unused gift cards at a percentage of the card’s value. This percentage is usually higher for more popular cards.

Donate Remaining Balances or Unused Gift Cards

  • Many charities are happy to receive a gift card donation. Homeless shelters and women’s shelters appreciate cards for stores such as Target where food and personal items can be purchased. Animal shelters look for any card that can be used to purchase pet food, such as PetSmart. Cards that can’t be used directly are still often appreciated to be used in fundraising activities such as raffles. These donations are tax deductible.
  • Several websites specialize in gift card donation to participating charities. Sites such as will translate your gift card to a cash charity donation of a percentage value of the card. These sites should also offer a receipt for tax deductions.

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