A Little More About Us
Our mission is to improve well-being and financial security by supporting people through their time of greatest need.
Gift Card Bank is a purely philanthropic initiative, started by a team of Stanford students and social entrepreneurs in response to the COVID-19 crisis. We are fortunate to have an Advisory Board that includes veterans of the financial services industry and current / former C-suite executives at prominent technology and impact-focused companies.
Can I Sell A Visa Gift Card For Cash
I have seen a few websites that say they convert Visa gift cards to cash, but I have not used any of them myself nor do I know who backs these companies. Since the reputable gift card resellers that I typically work with do not buy or sell Visa gift cards, I dont feel comfortable making a recommendation to do so at this time.
You could, I suppose, sell your Visa gift card to a friend or family member who you trust.
Rather than sell the Visa gift card for cash, however, I suggest converting it in a different way. Heres what I do:
When I receive a Visa gift card, I store it in my wallet next to the debit and credit cards I use most often. When I reach into my wallet to pay for something, I am reminded to use the Visa gift card. I do this until the balance is used up. A Visa gift card with a small balance might get used quickly at a restaurant the next time I go out to eat. A Visa gift card with more money on it might get used to pay for groceries, gas, a co-pay at the doctor and more.
Although I dont cash out the gift card using this strategy, it feels like I did because I used the gift card to pay for things that normally would have come out of my checking account.
Donation Of Gift Cards To Charity
Honestly, gift cards are probably at the bottom of your list of items you envision when you think about donating to charity yet, many charities accept unwanted gift cards as donations to their cause. If you have a specific charity that you’d like to support in mind, then you’ll want to look at their website first or contact their local office to see how they prefer having these gift card balances transferred to them. Thanks to the ease of the internet, most charities that accept gift card donations use online third-party organizations to help transfer the funds to their group. However, there are other methods of getting these funds to your favorite non-profits, so it’s important that you make sure you’re following the proper pathways before accidentally erasing your card’s balance in the process.
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Use Them To Buy Items To Donate
Instead of giving a card directly to a charity, use it to buy gifts that a group can put to good use. This way, you can enjoy the fun of going shopping and feel the satisfaction of helping others.
Let’s say you’ve received a gift card to a sporting goods store but haven’t put on a pair of gym shorts since high school phys ed.
Find charities for kids in your area that would be thrilled to get a few new baseball bats or basketballs. Then, use the gift card to buy the items, and drop them off. Maybe you’ll see a few young smiles when you do.
Charity Transfers An Issuer Donated Gift Certificate To A Third Party
When the issuer donates a gift certificate directly to a charity, and the charity transfers the certificate to a third party , the redemption of the gift certificate by the third party does not entitle the issuer to a receipt. The honouring of the gift certificate by the retailer cannot transform the character of the original transfer of the gift certificate to the charity into a gift. Each transaction must be viewed independently when determining whether a gift has been made.
In this scenario, no income is realized for the donation and no donation deduction or tax credit can be claimed. However, when the issuer has donated and redeemed a gift certificate for inventory for the purpose of earning income in its business, a deduction is generally available for the cost of the goods. Footnote 1
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Sell Unwanted Gift Cards For Cash
The easiest way to turn a gift card into good, old-fashioned dollars is to sell the card to a gift card exchange site. The amount of money youll receive will depend on the popularity of the gift card and the amount of inventory already in stock, but could be anywhere from 70 to 92 percent of the gift cards value.
Although you could find a gift card buyer through social media or online classified ads, reputable gift card resellers are significantly safer to use because they offer money-back guarantees, fraud prevention and secure ways to receive cash back for your gift cards such as PayPal. Plus there are customer service representatives available to answer questions and assist if anything goes awry with the transaction.
You can also sell gift cards for Amazon.com gift cards, for Target gift cards and more.
Check out my list of 20 Ways to Save on Valentines Day without Looking Cheap for more details.
Analyze Your Spending Habits
I dont shop at some major stores ever. Its not that I dont like them Ive just found them to be too far away geographically, or out of my comfort zone. For this reason, Ive become very familiar with the stores I use most, and their policies for using prepaid gift cards. Walgreens, for example, has no issues about letting me pay for a purchase with multiple methods of payment. This makes my local Walgreens store a great way to ditch balances with little interruption to my shopping routine. If Im taking advantage of a Walgreens Register Rewards deal, and want to buy several packages of diapers, I can just ask the cashier to apply $2.36 of my purchase to the gift card, then pay the remaining balance with my regular credit card or cash. Easy peasy. Other stores are really great about this too.
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Hotels And Resorts Donation Requests
Best Western Best Western focuses on three areas of philanthropy: poverty relief, education, and disaster relief. They work with networks like World Vision and Kiva to help families and kids in underprivileged countries and communities around the world.
Choice Hotels Choice brand hotels have partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help young people across the country enhance their local communities. They also distribute financial matching gifts via the Choice Hotels International Foundation.
Disney Last year alone, Disney donated more than $330 million to nonprofits that assist children and their families. Disney demonstrates their support through cash grants, in-kind donations, and public service announcements.
Hilton Worldwide Nonprofits can submit their grant applications to Hiltons Contributions Review Committee. The application requires basic information, a project budget and timeline, and details about the projects expected achievements.
Host Hotels Host Hotels allows their employees to choose which charity they would like to donate to each and every month. They also support over 125 community investments that are also selected by their employees.
InterContinental Hotels Group InterContinental accepts donation requests from nonprofits that focus on environmental sustainability, economic opportunity, and disaster relief. The IHG Foundation also helps local communities and focuses on sustainability.
How Long Should You Hold Onto A Gift Card
The longer you hold onto a gift card, the more likely you are to let it go to waste via losing the card, forgetting you have it or allowing the cards value to be depleted from non-use. Although Ive heard warnings such as use your gift cards within three months and a gift card older than 2 months will never get used, I think you should assess a gift cards value immediately.
As a gift card lover, I rarely receive a gift card I dont want. Some gift cards take a little more effort to use than others, but I typically find a way to get it done. There are times, however, when the total cost of using a gift card outweighs the benefit. Here are some examples of reasons I find some gift cards difficult to use:
Travel Required. A gift card to a store or restaurant that isnt located in my town would be hard for me to use because Id have to spend time and gas to go to the location in order to redeem the gift card.
Shipping Charges. Though redeeming gift cards online is convenient, I sometimes have a hard time using a gift card online if the cost of shipping and handling is significant. Its not much fun to use a $25 gift card is half of that money goes towards delivery.
Higher Priced Merchandise. If the value of the gift card is lower than most merchandise sold in the store or wouldnt cover a single meal at a restaurant, then the gift card is more like a coupon. I may not want to spend my own money just to receive a discount off of the total bill.
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Regift Unwanted Gift Cards
One year, my husbands employer gave him two, 50-dollar gift cards to Benihana as an employee thank you gift. Benihana is one of our favorite restaurants, but we also happened to be a little pinched financially that year. So we kept one gift card to use and gave the other one to his parents for Christmas. In this case, we certainly wanted the gift card, but decided to regift it in order save money during the holidays.
If you have an unwanted gift card that is in good physical shape and has a whole dollar amount left on the card, then consider gifting it to someone else. If the gift card looks like its been in your wallet for a few months or the gift card balance is an odd number , then see if you can take it to the store and get a replacement gift card that is more giftable. Although not all stores will let you buy a gift card with a gift card, I have done it multiple times. Since there is no federal or state law governing whether or not a gift card can be used to purchase another gift card, each store is allowed to set its own policy. If you redeem the used-looking gift card online, you may be able to have the new gift card wrapped, packaged and delivered to the recipient, free of charge.
Make it a group gift! Tie your unused gift card to a gift card tree or wreathe.
Look for your brand gift card in our Gift Card Balance Check Directory.
Know What Your Balances Are
This seems obvious, but there are times that I may have one or two cards floating at the bottom of my purse that Im not sure how much is left on them. While I prefer to use the web address printed on the back of each card to find the balance, some will only allow you to call an 800 number. Another thing to note is that in order to check your balance online, you may be required to register that card. The benefit to doing this is that your balance is stored online, and in case of a lost card, you can at least make purchases online with it or possibly get a replacement. The drawback is that you may not want to keep the card forever and you dont want to register a card that someone else may try to register in the future.
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Can I Get Cash Back From A Visa Gift Card
In my experience, banks will decline transactions that are deemed cash. That means you cant use a Visa gift card at an ATM nor can you take it to a cash register and ask for cash back. I have tried it myself to see if it will work, but the transaction declines every time.
In general, you cannot use Visa gift cards and Mastercard gift cards on peer-to-peer payment apps like PayPal or Venmo either. Though I have heard of people working these systems , loopholes that may have previously existed are now closed.
Can I Cash Out The Small Balance Of A Visa Gift Card
State gift card laws that require merchants to cash out gift cards once the balance falls below a threshold do not apply to bank-issued gift cards such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express. In my opinion, however, it is pretty easy to use the miniscule balance on a Visa or Mastercard gift card in most places. Heres what I do:
Step 1: Keep Gift Cards Handy I carry my gift cards next to the debit and credit cards I use most often. Doing so prompts me to consider whether or not I can use a gift card whenever I reach into my wallet.
Step 2: Know the Balance Although not necessary, I check the balance of my gift cards so I know how much I have to spend. Many point of sale systems can deduct the balance of a gift card without knowing how much is on the card, but I have found that some older models will simply decline a card if the balance is less than the full amount of my purchase. Having the balance handy helps ensure the card is run correctly.
Step 3: Tell the Cashier Before handing over the gift card, I tell the cashier that I would like to use more than one form of payment for my purchase. I might say something like, I have a Visa gift card with a couple of dollars left on it that I would like to use first. Then Ill pay the balance with another card. Is that ok? This gives the cashier a heads-up in case the system has issues with split-tender transactions.
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Restaurants And Food Donation Requests
Albertsons If a nonprofit wants to ask Albertsons for a donation, they must make the donation request at least 8 weeks before the event or fundraising need. Nonprofits must provide details about their organization as well as the fundraising event.
Burger King While each Burger King franchise owner is in charge of handling their restaurants specific donation requests, the company as a whole has a Benefit Night program where 20% of all sales from a particular night will go toward a nonprofit or school.
Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A donates surplus food to local shelters and soup kitchen through their Chick-fil-A Shared Table program. They also help victims and first responders during and after natural disasters. Individual restaurants also host fundraising and benefit nights.
Coca Cola All donation requests for Coca Cola must be submitted online. Nonprofits can apply year-round, and there is no dollar limitation for these community grants. Nonprofits can also request product donations from Coca Cola.
Darden Restaurants Since the mid 1990s, Darden Restaurant Group has donated more than $82 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.
Dunkin Donuts Dunkin DonutsThe Joy In Childhood Foundation helps sick and hungry children across the country. They have donated over $11 million to hundreds of national and local charities all across the United States.
Make an online donation request right now!
Donate Your Gift Cards
Charities often accept donated gift cards, even if part of the balance has been used. And, you might even get a tax deduction.
You also might consider CardFunder, where you can start a group collection drive so your unloved gift cards can be combined with others to make a major donation for a needy cause.
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How To Use Up Remaining Balances On Prepaid Gift Cards
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Use Your Prepaid Gift Cards Wherever Paypal Is Accepted
Did you know that you can add Visa, American Express, MasterCard or Discover gift cards to your PayPal account?
Yes, you can actually use these general purpose gift cards during checkout, as you could with any other debit or credit card that you have on your PayPal account.
This means that anywhere you can use PayPal to pay you can use your gift card!
This is great because PayPal is widely accepted now as a payment method so it can make spending the balance on a Visa, MasterCard or other prepaid gift cards much easier.
You just need to make sure that the prepaid card has enough balance to cover the total amount to pay.
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