Gift card trading can be a very lucrative business, that is, if you know how to play your cards right. Here’s the only guide you’ll need on how to buy and sell gift cards for profit.
The gift card industry is estimated at $1 trillion in 2020 – that’s massive money. Millions of people still use gift cards for personal shopping every day, and it comes as no surprise.
There’s something undeniably attractive about getting gift cards at discounted rates.
And while consumers love them, retailers consider gift cards an integral part of their business as it pulls people into their stores and encourages them to make more purchases.
During the holidays, gift cards serve as some of the most popular gifts.
Offering a gift card from a store you know your friend loves has more impact than handing out hard cash, and is more convenient than having to purchase an item you’re not so sure your friend will love.
The bottom line is that gift cards are here to stay, and aspiring money-makers can still take advantage of their popularity to make money flipping gift cards – one of the most lucrative side hustle ideas if you study how the market works.
If you’re new to this trading game, sit back and relax. There’s a lot to learn and plenty to take in.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to buy and sell gift cards for profit.
Table of Contents
What is gift card flipping?
What is gift card arbitrage and how exactly do you start gift card flipping? Selling or trading gift cards can be very confusing for those who aren’t familiar with the practice.
In a nutshell, the goal of flipping gift cards is to purchase a gift card for less than its face value and make a profit during reselling.
The scenario plays out as follows.
- The seller buys a $50 gift card for $40.
- The seller sells the $50 gift card (that he bought for $40) for an amount of $45.
- A buyer purchases the card and earns $5 in saving (he bought a $50 gift card for only $45), while the seller makes $5 in profit (he sold a gift card he bought for $40 for $45.)
For the seller to generate profit, he needs to have purchased the gift card for less than $45 – his intended selling price. If, however, he got the gift card for free, then he takes home the entire $45 in profit.
The challenge of gift card trading is two-fold: where exactly do you get discounted or free cards, and where do you find people to buy what you’re selling?
In this guide, we’ll teach you how to get gift cards for free, how to purchase them at discounted rates through websites like MyGiftCardsPlus, and how to sell them to your friends or through online selling platforms.
Ready to make money? Read on below!
Where to get free gift cards
If you’re looking to make money online through selling gift cards, it’s essential to know where to get these cards for free as this will make you the most money.
Here are your options:
Your personal belongings.
Billions of gift cards remain unused every year, so there’s a good chance that you have gift cards in your drawer, purse, or wallet that you have no interest in using.
Selling your unwanted gift cards may be the best option as you don’t have to spend or lift a finger to acquire them.
Your credit card rewards.
Credit card companies like to give out reward points that you may exchange with gift cards. If you’re a regular credit card user, find out how much points you’ve currently racked up and how much you need to spend to exchange with gift cards.
Consider cashback sites.
Some cashback sites award you with points for every online purchase you make. These points may be exchanged for a variety of gift cards that you can sell for profit. Consider these cashback apps if you’re looking to sell gift cards:
This cashback app allows you to get up to 40% cashback on your purchases, but as a beginner, you’ll get only 5% to 10%. If you prefer the app to your friends and family, you’ll get even more.
Rakuten members get access to gift cards for over 2,500 stores. You’ll get a $10 bonus simply by signing up.
|Cashback||Payment Method||Min To
|Up to 40%||PayPal or Gift Cards||$5||CLAIM BONUS||Read Full Review|
Drop lets you choose five specific vendors that you wish to purchase from, and purchases you make from these vendors will earn you a certain cashback percentage.
You can redeem your points to get gift cards from places like Amazon, Starbucks, and Netflix.
This cashback app earns you cashback without requiring you to snap photos of your receipts. All you need to do is to download the Dosh app, link your credit card, and the platform looks over your expenses with its partnered stores.
You’ll find a list of popular merchants including Nike, Target, and Walmart.
One of the most popular cashback apps, Ibotta requires that you take photos of your receipts and upload them into the app to get cashback.
The platform claims to work at over 500,000 locations all over the United States.
This platform allows you to get up to 100% moneyback rebated from over 4,400 stores including Best Buy, Groupon, E-Bay, Walmart, and others.
Want to learn more? Read more in this TopCashBack review.
Sign up for market research platforms.
Several marketing research platforms pay you with points for answering surveys and participating in a variety of online activities.
These points may be exchanged for gift cards in thousands of partner stores and establishments.
If you’re looking to acquire or trade-in gift cards, you may consider these platforms.
Perhaps the most popular among paid survey platforms, you can make an average of $1 to $3 for every survey you answer.
You can use your earnings to get free gift cards from Groupon, Amazon, iTunes, Sephora, Walmart, and Starbucks, among others.
|Earn Per Activity||Payment Method||Min To
|$1 - $50||PayPal & Gift Cards||$10||SIGN UP||Read Full Review|
This paid survey platform allows you to earn up to $5 worth of Amazon gift cards or prepaid gift cards for every survey you answer.
You can also cash out your earnings once you’ve earned a total of $30.
|Earn Per Activity||Payment Method||Min To
|Up to $5||Cash & Gift Cards||$30||CLAIM BONUS||Read Full Review|
This survey platform’s unique selling point is its interesting surveys that you’d actually want to answer.
You can earn 10 points to as much as 500 points for each survey you answer, which you can redeem for a variety of gift cards.
|Earn Per Activity||Payment Method||Min To
|$0.6 - $1||PayPal||$20||CLAIM BONUS||Read Full Review|
Just like other paid survey sites, this survey platform follows a points-based rewards system. You can earn points through simple online activities like shopping online, answering surveys, and watching videos.
Each survey you answer can earn you anywhere between 50 cents to $2 which you can exchange for gift cards to eBay, Walmart, Macy’s, iTunes, Sephora, and others.
|Earn Per Activity||Payment Method||Min To
|$0.4 - $2||PayPal or Gift Cards||$3||CLAIM BONUS||Read Full Review|
Best places to buy gift cards on a discount
If you can’t get cards for free, the second-best way to earn more is to purchase them for discounted rates and selling them for a higher price. Gift card discounts may vary depending on the market value.
You’ll find that gift cards for popular brands have lower discount prices than other products. If you’re aiming to sell gift cards, here’s where you can buy them at discounted rates.
Ask your friends and family.
A great place to look for discounted gift cards is from people you already know. Ask your friends and family if they have gift cards lying around that they’re willing to let go of.
They could offer you a bargain of 10% to 20% of the total face value. This means that you could purchase a $100 gift card for $80, which leaves room for profit-making.
Purchase directly from stores during sale periods.
Another method for securing gift cards on a discount is to purchase directly from stores themselves during periods of promotion. You may also consider purchasing them in bulk in order to get the best value for each card.
Purchase from wholesale sites.
You’ll find a variety of websites like Sam’s Club where you could get as much as 20% savings when purchasing a group of cards. Buying gift cards in bulk can yield discounts and pretty attractive savings.
Purchase from websites.
If you’re looking to sell gift cards at discounted rates, you may opt to purchase them from websites that sell them at lower prices. Here are some of the best options.
Powered by Swagbucks, each gift card you purchase from MyGiftCardsPlus plus earns you a percentage cashback of up to 10%. MyGiftCardsPlus is partnered with over 150 retailers and restaurants.
The cashback you earn from this platform can be used to purchase even more gift cards which you can sell for discounted rates.
eBay allows you to purchase discounted gift cards from a variety of local stores which are mostly sold by sellers who want to get rid of them. If you’re lucky, you’ll find discounts worth more than 50%.
Be wary though, as you’ll most likely run into scammers.
This platform offers discounts of up to 35% from around 100 brand-name merchants. Some of the gift cards sold here are only available as codes and consumable only through online purchases.
With gift cards from merchants such as Petco, Home Depot, and BestBuy, Cardpool is a great choice if you’re looking to sell gift cards at profitable rates.
You’ll get as much as 35% off on gift cards, with a great selection of both physical and electronic gift cards.
How to sell gift cards for profit
Now that you’ve acquired a solid selection of gift cards from our tips above, it’s time to determine how to sell them and make a profit. Most of these sites will offer you a percentage cashback for the gift cards you sell them.
For example, selling a gift card worth $100 at face value will earn you up to 92% cashback which you can cash out for real money or trade for other gift cards.
In order to earn a profit when you sell gift cards online electronically instantly, you need to have a solid strategy. Let’s say your aim is to sell a gift card from Walmart worth $100 at face value and make a profit.
Here’s how you can profit from these websites:
- Purchase a $100 Walmart card at a discount via any of the tips we listed above. Let’s say for example that you purchased a $100 Walmart gift card for only $90 at MyGiftCardsPlus.
- Your next goal is to find a platform that offers cash for gift cards with a percentage cashback higher than 90%. This ensures that you make a profit.
- Since Cardpool offers up to 92% cashback for gift cards, you get paid $92 for a Walmart gift card that only cost $90, earning you a total profit of $2.
Best places to sell gift cards
With the aforementioned strategy in your arsenal, it’s time to scour the web for the best sites for gift card flipping.
Most of these sites will allow you to sell gift cards for percentage cashback only, which means that you won’t be getting the full face value of the card you’re selling.
This ensures that the platform earns from your gift cards as well.
Cardpool is arguably the most well-known and trusted platform where you can sell gift cards online (it has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau).
The platform works as a broker, serving both as a buyer and seller of gift cards.
You can sell a wide array of physical and digital gift cards from most major retailers to Cardpool, as long as it has not expiration dates or associated fees.
If you choose to sell a gift card to Cardpool, the platform can issue you a check within a day of the website’s receipt of your card, or you may opt to exchange your gift cards for electronic vouchers from Amazon.com.
Cardpool claims that you can earn up to 92% of your card’s original value, making it one of the highest buyers available online.
2. Gift Card Granny
Another popular site for gift card arbitrage, Gift Card Granny allows you to sell your gift cards or trade gift cards online instantly for gift cards you’d actually want to use.
The platform offers three different selling options for gift card flippers looking to make a profit.
- Sell it now: By selecting this option, you may opt to sell your cards for the platform’s best offer while you receive a payment within days. This option is the fastest way that you can get paid.
- Name your price: If you’d rather set a price for your gift cards rather than follow the platform’s instant selling price, you can list your card online. While this option will make it longer for your cards to sell, you can make even more profit this way. If someone purchases your gift card using the platform, you receive payment.
- Trade in: You can exchange gift cards you don’t want for gift cards you’d actually want to use. Gift Card Granny offers several popular retailers to choose from. You’ll receive a higher payout with the trade-in option.
Raise is another famous gift card platform with over 2 million buyers and sellers. The platform claims that it has helped buyers save over $150 million to date through discounted gift cards.
You can list your gift cards on the platform for free, with the feature to set your own selling price. Raise pays its sellers through direct deposit, check, or PayPal once their gift cards sell, taking a 15% cut of your total sale price.
The amount you should discount your gift cards in raise depends on the competition. If you like your cards to sell easily, you’ll want to offer a bigger discount to get ahead and make it to the top of the listings.
As you list your card on the platform, it shows you the going discount rates for gift cards of the same store. If your gift card is from a recognizable brand, there’s a big chance for it to sell quickly.
CardCash allows you to sell cards with full value, or even those that are partially used. The amount you get when you sell gift cards through CardCash varies, but the platform claims that you can get up to 92% of your card’s total value.
The platform can pay you through hard cash through a check, ACH deposit, or through PayPal. CardCash also allows you to trade your gift card for other gift cards from different brands.
Do note that the platform doesn’t accept gift cards with expiration dates, as well as some promotional gift cards that can only be used in certain locations or for specific products.
Once CardCash receives your order, it will only issue payment once it does a full balance and fraud check on your cards. Payment is generally issued within 24-48 hours upon receiving your card.
QuickCashMI is another selling and gift card exchange platform that allows you to sell cards from popular brands like Ace Hardware, Macy’s, Rite Aid, Old Navy, Amazon, and Gap, among others.
QuickCashMI offers up to 90% cash for your gift cards. The platform allows you to sell gift cards in three ways:
- In-person: Visit any of QuickCashMI’s physical locations and you can sell your gift cards instantly. While this method is the fastest way to get cash, it may offer the lowest payout.
- Via-mail: Sending your gift cards through mail allows you to get paid through check. This process offers the highest payout but may also be the slowest (it could take at least 10 business days for your payment to arrive). If you’re aiming to get paid fast, this isn’t the option for you.
- Redeem online: You can also choose to send your gift card code online. This offers more money than selling in person, but less money compared to selling via mail. Payment takes around 5 business days to process.
There are a plethora of pawnshops that buy and sell gift cards, including 1st United Pawn and Loan, Gem Pawn Brokers, and Lou’s Jewelry & Pawn, among others.
Do note however that not all pawnshops accept gift cards. To make your searching easier, you can head over to PawnGuru.com and submit your gift cards. The platform will tell you which pawnshops are likely to accept your gift cards.
See Related: How to Convert Visa Gift Cards to Cash
Pros and cons of gift card flipping
Before buying and flipping gift cards, you may want to consider the advantages and disadvantages associated with the practice.
Here’s everything you need to know.
The cons of flipping gift cards
- Acquiring cards with discounted rates (or free) requires lots of work. If you’re looking to make a profit with this method, you need constantly be on the lookout for deals. You also need to be in tune with the market’s supply and demand to know which brands have the highest-selling gift cards.
- Reselling gift cards won’t earn you a massive profit. You’ll probably earn around $2 to $3 dollars from each gift card, or even less. In order to make a considerable income, you’d need to trade a lot – and trading a lot requires that your efficient in sourcing cards.
- Scammers abound in this business. If you aren’t careful, you may purchase cards that no longer have value in them, or sell cards that no longer work because someone has stolen the code. Buying and selling gift cards on eBay or Craigslist, for example, is not advised as these are unsecured places where scammers run rampant.
The pros of flipping gift cards
- You don’t need to invest a lot of money when getting started in gift card flipping. You can get started with only a few gift cards and work your way up from there.
- Gift cards can be very popular during peak seasons such as the holidays, so you can take advantage of the shopping trends of big retailers to earn more.
- Gift card flipping is a flexible side hustle you can work on during your free time. With zero targets and commitments, it’s a great gig for people who don’t have a lot of time in their hands.
- How to Start Book Flipping for Profit
- 17 Best Part-Time Jobs 2020 [High-Paying Extra Cash]
- 70+ Ways to Make Extra Money
- 10 Easiest Items to Flip for Profit (Including Ways to Resell)