Many people have saved hundreds of dollars by scouring the internet for used gift cards that can be bought, sold and traded online at incredibly low prices.
Purchasing a pre-owned card is anticipated to be one of the most popular presents to date, generating about twenty billion dollars in overall retail sales during the holidays each year. Many experts expect a total of sixty billion more will be spent on store brand specific cards the following years.
However, a rarely known fact is that approximately 10% of the dollars on all those sold cards actually goes unspent. As a result, many sellers have suddenly sprung up online creating a little known secondary market for these popular items. Many analysts estimate this to be an additional 2 billion dollars more in additional sales.
For all the buyers, these private and professional sellers present an amazing opportunity to buy one at savings of anywhere from 10 to even 50 percent off the original face value. All of these cards can be given to friends and family or redeemed for store merchandise. For all the traders, this can be a simple way to exchange an undesirable gift card for a more desirable one from a store that they actually prefer without the original giver ever knowing anything about it. For all the sellers, it is a rarely quick and easy way to get cash for their unused card.
As a note of caution, gifting card exchangers need to be extra cautious when trading cards. While the majority of online sellers are legitimate, the secondary market is still a developing business. Even though there are a range of policies and protections, a transaction is only as safe as the people who mutually participate in it. Furthermore, there is still the very real concern in regards to stolen merchandise and fraud.
Currently, there are many different business models when it comes to buying second hand cards online. A more careful look into this matter reveals that there are an increasing number of reputable online market places such as eBay.
One can also purchase these cards online at specific card trading websites but all of this generally comes at a price. Although it varies from website to website, these used card specific sites usually require users to pay a registration fee, usually about fifty cents to a few dollars, or a transaction fee of 3-8% of the gift card’s total value. Many of the sites charge a combination of both, which can really eat into the overall value of your card.
Another fact to be wary of is that all gift cards are not traded equally. Paying close attention to the market demand will aid you in your search for that perfect pre-owned card.
Firstly, you need to be careful and consider many things such as when to buy and sell.
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A lot of gift card exchange sites are disproportionate in their supply and demand and have significantly more sellers than buyers on any given day. However, during the first few weeks in the beginning of each year, particularly in the month of January after the holidays, that imbalance is amplified when the market is flooded with unwanted holiday gift cards. Other peak time periods include the weeks after similar popular gift giving holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s & Father’s Day.