Gift cards: buy low, sell high, get cash back

Updated 5/7/2013 with new cash back rates

In a previous post, I showed that it was possible to increase credit card spend (and thus earn points and miles) by buying and selling discounted merchant gift cards. See “Churning merchant gift cards” for more information. If you’re interested in doing this, it’s helpful to have a “cheat sheet” showing where to go for the best deals. When looking to do gift card arbitration (buy low, sell high), start with GiftCardGranny.com to find the best buy and sell prices. Then, use the table below to figure out your total costs:

Buying gift cards:

Gift card re-seller Cash back portal Cash back % Cash back type * Notes
Cardpool.com TopCashBack 2% % of face value Cardpool only offers cash back on the first $1000 in transactions
PlasticJungle TopCashBack 1% % of transaction
 
EBay merchant EBay 2% % of transaction Cash back is in the form of EBay bucks which can be used for future purchases
GiftCertificates .com uPromise 5% % of face value  
GiftCardMall.com TopCashBack 2% % of face value 1% cash back for Visa gift cards.

 

Selling gift cards:

Gift card buyer Cash back portal Cash back % Cash back type * Notes
Cardpool.com TopCashBack 4% % of face value Cardpool only offers cash back on the first $1000 in transactions
GiftCards.com No current options   % of face value GiftCards.com limits you to $500 in sales every 6 months.
PlasticJungle TopCashBack 1% % of transaction
 

 

* Cash back type: some portals offer cash back as a percentage of the gift card’s face value, others offer cash back as a % of the transaction amount.

NOTE: GiftCardGranny sell prices for PlasticJungle are not always up to date.  To get an accurate sell price from PlasticJungle you need to actually enter a gift card number into PlasticJungle’s web site to get an offer.

Pingbacks

  1. […] Originally Posted by Marathon Man For example, what is a GC reseller? Who would sell one for less and why and all that? And even if I do not care, are they always real ones? And and and? What is the process to get topcashback to GIVE cashback on cardpool? What is kaching? You know I'd love to know more about icebergs, since we are in Titanic season thanks There are several gift card resellers, I like PlasticJungle and Cardpool the best. They buy gift cards from people who received them as a gift (or otherwise got them at a discount) and they resell them. They buy low, sell high, but not as high as face value. GiftCardGranny.com does a good job of showing the buy/sell prices. I think that "kaching" is the sound of money coming in. Here is how to buy discount gift cards (very simple): 1. Go to GiftCardGranny.com to find who has the best prices 2. If PlasticJungle or Cardpool.com, go first to TopCashBack and find PlasticJungle or Cardpool. Click through to PlasticJungle or Cardpool. TopCashBack will give you extra money back because they get referral money when you click through. 3. Buy the gift cards. Amazingly, you can also sell gift cards to these resellers and get extra cash back by going through TopCashBack first. I have a helpful chart here: http://boardingarea.com/freque…get-cash-back/ […]

Comments

    • Asen: Yes, it’s quite a bit of effort so I don’t recommend it for everyone. If someone was really motivated I imagine they could do about $100 per day to generate a little over 30K of spend per year. Loss/gain depends upon the deals you find. It is possible to make money doing this (but not much).

      PointsSummary: When selling a card, go through a cash back portal (listed above) first and then sell your card. You’ll get cash back.

      Ryan: Not that I know of, but it might be out there somewhere

  1. @PointsSummary: If you can find the right ones, you can actually do some good spend and make a decent amount. I’m looking at one right now that would be about $9K in spend and I would make about $350 off of it. I’m going to do small ones to begin with and then build up from there. Cashback is nice, but the PPM could be even better.

  2. Please note shopathome will not pay you if you have 1K worth of transactions with cardpool irrespective of which cashback site you went to or not. So if you made 1K transactions in 2011, and if you go through shopathome you will not get anything. Support just broke this startling news to me. Unfortunately I had around 4-5K worth of shopping at cardpool which I went through from shopathome.

    • Kushal: Sorry to hear about that! Yes, the limitation is with cardpool not with ShopAtHome. That is, CardPool will not give anyone referral fees after a customer has made $1000 in transactions in a year.

      Michael: Yes, any credit card can be used to buy gift cards

  3. Is there an easy way to see the sell prices on GiftCardGranny without having to drill down on each card? It takes me a lot of time to figure out the spread between buy and sell. Have you figured out a way to quickly see where the opportunities are or do you just know where to look since you’ve been doing this for a while?

  4. Have you detected any patterns on the types of cards that have a narrow spread on the buy and sell? Do you gravitate toward the cards on the list you provided earlier containing the 20 best value gift cards?

  5. If you use the cash back site topcashback.com you will get 2% for purchases at carpool and plastic jungle and 4% for selling to carpool and plastic jungle.

  6. If I sell to Plastic Jungle via TopCashBack, is there is a limit on how much I can get 4% cash back on? For example, with cardpool there is a 1K limit. Thanks for any tips you can give.

  7. Also, does anyone know if there is a limit of how much I can sell to Plastic Jungle? I mean if for example I had $100,000 in Walmart cards I wanted to sell to them over a month of time, do you think it would be an issue or would they buy them at top dollar? What’s the most anyone out there has sold to Plastic Jungle over a month of time?

    • Niko: I’m not aware of any limits with Plastic Jungle or Plastic Jungle via TopCashBack. I know that Plastic Jungle has information for “volume sellers” so they are used to people selling a lot to them.

  8. @Niko

    I believe that the amount paid for a gift card is variable with the amount of that gift card that they have in stock. I can’t prove this but I do have anecdotal evidence. So if they are adverising 85 cents on the dollar and someone sells them $10000 worth of cards then I expect that cents on the dollar to decrease.

    Matt.

  9. The PJ Volume Seller spreadsheet doesn’t show any values any more. I also can’t find the link to info on Volume Sellers on the PJ web site any more. Do you know if they ended that program?

  10. I was wondering if this is a good deal: currently AMEX gives $100 back for $599+ purchase at dell.com. I can buy $600 Dell gift card and sell it for $504 to Cardpool. Ebates gives 5% cash back for Dell purchases (no restrictions). So, the profit for this is $25. So, overall if everything is good, I can even gain a profit – ~$29. Since I need to meet a spending requirement for AMEX Business Gold card, I’m leaning to go for this. However, I never did “buy gift cards, sell them” before. Is it possible, that cardpool may not pay and return a gift card?

  11. Sergey: I’ve had good luck with Cardpool, but anything is possible. One risk is with Ebates. Just because they don’t list a restriction against gift cards doesn’t mean for sure that you’ll get cash back for it. You probably will, but I wouldn’t be surprised if not. Otherwise, this looks like a really nice opportunity!

  12. Hello friendships! Can anyone recommend to me a gift card with no requirements of SSN to activate. And possible for reloadable or used by ATMs. Thank you.

  13. FM, I have a question. I sold a few gift cards to cardpool and got a check in two weeks. Then I sold them again few cards, and after a week I received a call from them – they wanted to verify me, and asked some strange questions – where I got the cards, how long did I have them before selling, why decided to sell. Is it normal practice? I told them the truth, that I bought them and then decided to sell. Was it stupid answer? I don’t think it is illegal to sell gift cards.

  14. FrequentMiler: Did you try ABC Giftcards portal for selling GCs? Cardpool is nice (now they call every time to check your identity and reasons why do you sell GCs), but it is limited to $1K in sells for cashback portals.

  15. It seems to me the best way to make money with giftcards is to buy them cheap, probably in person with cash from people who receive them as gifts for places they don’t shop, and then USE them ( assuming you buy them for places you already shop).

    I got here by searching for making money buying and selling gift cards. I guess the best I have ever done with giftcards is using them to get free gas. A couple grocery stores with fuel stations give away free gas near me. I can get around $100-120 in free gas ( 0.00 per gallon for 30 gallons) based on how much I spend in the store. Sometimes they double the gift card bonus ( which was actually halved recently, so not the greatest deal). Right now it’s basically $6 in free gas per $50 in gift cards. So it’s 12% in free gas- $1000 in GCs for $120 in free gas.

    I’ve also seen people on Craigslist and places selling giftcards at 70-80%. I imagine there is high potential for fraud there though.

    I guess maybe I glossed over these posts too much, but I don’t really see enough spread between what you can buy and sell for using these services. I mean, you are selling at a huge discount. I’d just as soon use the cards like cash and acquire them at a discount/with rewards.

  16. I posted that response before reading the previous related post. I see now a big appeal of this is to have a minimum spend on cards to unlock rewards- makes more sense, then. I also see that other post is a lot more informative. Thanks.

  17. Do you know where one can find an uptodate list of portals paying on gc selling?

    I jumped into the deep end of this hobby about 6 months ago, and you’ve taught me a lot–thanks!

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