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What to Do with Leftover Money on Prepaid Cards

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47% of adults have at least one unused gift card, voucher, or store credit. That’s a ton of money that’s currently going unused! Do you have gift cards that are collecting dust in your wallet?

Sure, you know that you should spend it, but you always forget. Maybe you don’t like the store or restaurant the card is for, or the balance is so low that it doesn’t seem worthwhile to use. Maybe there’s no nearby store that’s accepting gift cards at all.

We’re here to give you a few ideas on how to use those pesky cards. Read on to learn more.

Can You Return Unwanted Gift Cards?

So you’re looking at a gift card that you may not have used yet. In other words, it has a high balance. You’re not just trying to get rid of a few extra dollars.

Sure, this gift card is lovely, but unfortunately, the person who gave it to you doesn’t know your taste! It’s for a restaurant or store you’ve never been to and, frankly, have no desire to visit. Now what?

Unfortunately, most of the time, gift cards have a “no refunds or returns” clause. You cannot return the gift card to the store from whence it came.

There are exceptions, but you’ll have to read the fine print. Exceptions often require that the gift card is completely unused and issued only a short time ago.

If you cannot return the gift card in question, don’t worry. The rest of our suggestions might be better options for you!

Consider Trying to Get Cash Back

In some cases, you may be able to get cash back for your cards.

In some states (including, among others, Washington, Texas, California, and Maine), buyers can get cash back for their gift cards. There’s always a limit to how much money must be on the card to allow this to happen.

For example, in California, cards can have up to ten dollars; in Connecticut, the card can’t have more than three dollars.

In some states, you may need to provide proof of purchase before you can get cash from your leftover gift cards. In other states, it won’t be an option at all.

If you can get cash from a gift card, it’s generally only store gift cards. Other card types, like a Visa, American Express, or MasterCard prepaid card, won’t qualify.

Alternatively: Prepaid to Cash Options

So what happens if you’re in a state that doesn’t allow you to get cash for your gift cards? What if it’s a non-store card, or if the balance is too high for you to get some money for it?

You can turn those prepaid gift cards into cash on a site like Prepaid2Cash.

You put in your gift card information, link your bank through the Plaid bank connection, and receive money immediately. This is a great way to use gift cards you would never otherwise use.

Prepaid2Cash is safe and fast, delivering funds to your account in as little as 15 minutes.

Keep Your Gift Card in Front of Your Wallet

Let’s assume that you’re trying to use those pesky gift cards before you resort to exchanging them for cash. No problem.

The hardest part about using gift cards is remembering to use them in the first place, even if they’re for your favorite places. How often have you forgotten that you had a gift card until after purchasing?

If you’re trying to use up a small remaining gift card balance, we recommend using your gift card in person rather than online.

One exception is if you can add a gift card balance to an online shopping account, and this can be helpful for retailers with an online presence.

Keep your gift card in plain sight, so it’s among the first things you see when you open your wallet. This way, you’ll notice it before you pull cash or a credit card to pay.

Tell the cashier you only have a small amount left on the card. They should be able to tell you how much you’ll then have to pay in cash or with your regular credit or debit card.

Look for Partner Stores That Are Accepting Gift Cards

Have you ever received a gift card for a store or restaurant that doesn’t exist in your region or where you don’t like their products? Again, Prepaid2Cash is a great option, but there’s something else you may be able to do.

Sometimes partner stores will be able to use each other’s cards. For example, you may use an Olive Garden card at any of the restaurants owned by the company Darden.

Not every store or restaurant with partners will be able to take gift cards like this, but it’s always worth asking. Often, you can look up the company ahead of time to see if they have any official policy on gift cards, so you don’t waste your time.

Attach Prepaid Cards to Paypal

You may be able to connect some of your unused gift cards to your Paypal account, and you can link them just as you would any other credit or debit card.

With this in mind, you can only use certain prepaid gift cards on Paypal, which must be from brands like American Express, Discover, and Visa.

In other words, you won’t be able to use any old restaurants or store gift cards on Paypal.

Trade Gift Cards With Friends

If you and your friends have gift cards you’re trying to get rid of, consider trading them. That’s right; this puts the concept of “trading cards” into a new perspective.

Gather your unused gift cards and record how much money is left on the gift card. Have your friends do the same.

Next time you’re all together, look at each other’s cards. Exchange your cards for someone else’s gift cards you’d rather have. You can even trade multiple small cards for one larger card.

Trading gift cards might seem silly, but it’s a great way for everyone to get a gift card that will be useful to them. You may even find a card for a store or restaurant you don’t recognize and can try something new.

Turn Old Gift Cards Into Donations

Turning new or partially used gift cards into donations is one option many people have never heard of. You can turn your old gift cards into valuable donations for others.

With a giving platform like CardFunder, organizations can turn unused or partially used gift cards into cash for their campaigns. You can recommend this to local organizations you support, like your church, children’s schools, and sports organizations. Or download the CardFunder mobile app, find a charity or cause whose mission resonates with you, and donate to their campaign.

Of course, you can also use Prepaid2Cash to turn those gift cards into cash and send money to charitable organizations on your own.

What Will You Do With Old Gift Cards?

Don’t let those old gift cards gather dust. Put them to good use, or you’re just leaving money on the table, more likely in a drawer somewhere. 😉 Whether you find a store accepting gift cards to exchange for cash, turn them into cash on a site like Prepaid2Cash, donate them, or trade them with your friends, make sure you get your money’s worth!

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