November 11th, 2013
This is the time of year when we begin thinking of holiday gift ideas, and gift cards are definitely a popular choice. In fact, gift cards have been the most requested item on holiday wish lists for the past six years, from 2007 through 2012. And an even better buy would be gift cards at a discount! You can buy them for yourself and use them when shopping for holiday gifts, or wait until after the holidays to take advantage of an increased inventory of unwanted gift cards.
We’ve reviewed the sites and found five that all have the three features we consider most important as far as buying gift cards go: guaranteed transactions, no fees, and free shipping. The amount you can save varies based on the popularity of the merchant. And it’s definitely worthwhile to compare prices between the sites, because no single site offers the deepest discounts on all their cards. Many of the cards are for odd amounts, however, because the sites will buy cards that have a remaining balance after being partially used.
|Cardpool was new in our last review 2 years ago. It’s the easiest gift card service to use, with cards listed by category or merchant. All orders include free shipping and are covered by 100-day purchase guarantee that the cards are valid at the merchant and to the dollar amount specified on your order. The guarantee covers up to a maximum of $1,000 per customer. Cardpool buys the gift cards directly from their customers, verifies the authenticity and balance of each gift card, and holds them until a buyer is found. There are no fees and and the cards have no expiration. Cardpool is the only site in this list that doesn’t provide a customer service contact phone, but there’s not much reason to call them. They do offer a feedback form and email at this link. Reseller Ratings gives Cardpool 8.10/10 with 43 reviews, and customers who received cards that didn’t work reported getting a prompt refund.|
|Raise.com (formerly known as CouponTrade) acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers to facilitate every transaction and ensure a secure exchange. Sellers list their gift cards and choose the value, price and discount. But the site fully insures all gift card balances and covers them with a 100% money back guarantee. If a gift card has a value other than what was shown at the point of sale, Raise will cover the buyer’s transaction for up to 60 days from the date of purchase. There are no shipping costs or processing fees. You’ll have to create an account or sign in with Facebook to get full access, but once you do you can easily search through the selections by price, card type, or category. If the gift card you want is out of stock, you can set up email notifications to send you alerts when the gift card is restocked. Both egift cards and physical cards are offered, and customer service can be reached via live chat or at (888) 578-8422. Reseller Ratings gives Raise.com 2.5/10 with 5 reviews.|
|MonsterGiftCard is the only other site still active from our last roundup, and they offer the highest discount rate – as much as 40% on some cards. Available cards can be sorted by popularity, price, or discount, and are also grouped alphabetically in 27 categories for browsing. MGC is in possession of every gift card listed on the site, and there are no fees. The value of each card is verified before it is sent to the buyer. If there’s any discrepancy, they will offer to send you another gift card to make up the difference or send you the difference in cash. Contact customer service at (866) 439-6340.|
|GiftCardBin guarantees that the buyer will receive card(s) within 10 days. If the balance is not the same as indicated at the time of purchase, a claim can be filed up to 100 days. They only have physical gift cards, no egift cards. The site has no FAQ section, and the search function is poor. With the highest payout of up to 93%, the site may have more value to sellers, although buyers can save up to 33% off face value. Reach customer service at (888) 967-0008.|
|CardCash charges no fees and has no expiration dates for the cards. Plastic Jungle, tops in our last review, is now partnered with them and redirects to the CardCash site. They’re #85 on the Forbes List of Most Promising Companies, and you can get discounts up to 35%. But it’s last in this list because the search function is poor and buyer protection is only 45 days. You have to scroll through all the cards for each merchant, or you can use the advanced search to find cards by a specific dollar amount. Their customer service number is (800) 227-4214. Reseller Rating for CardCash is currently at 1.25/10 with 10 reviews, while Plastic Jungle had a higher rating of 3.5/10 with 100 reviews.|
Entry Filed under: Shopping