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Can you sell gift cards for cash?

Yes! You can sell gift cards for cash. Gift cards are a great gift—as long as you use them. But what do you do when what you really need is cash? Or, if you’re unlikely to use the Walmart gift card you got at the office holiday party?

If you’re among the 47% of Americans with unused gift cards in their wallet, you might consider freeing up some space by selling gift cards for cash. It’s easy to do—the trick is getting the biggest bang for that virtual buck. We’ve done the homework for you on where and how to sell gift cards online. 

3 Tips to make fast cash when selling a gift card online

There are lots of gift card exchange options.

But, if your goal is to make fast cash be sure to follow these pro-tips when looking for a place to sell your gift cards.

  1. Only use gift card exchange apps that pay you by PayPal, direct deposit, or some other electronic means. Read the fine print and avoid sites that snail mail you a check or debit card with the cash loaded onto it since it could take possibly weeks before you will receive your money.
  2. Similarly, if making fast cash is the key priority, don’t choose an app or website that asks you to mail in the physical gift card in order to be paid because that can tack on days if not weeks of time before you are reimbursed with cash. Not to mention, the concern for whether it might be a scam and you just got duped out of your money. Many sites offer electronic exchanges. 
  3. Try to sell unwanted gift cards early in the day – most apps have transaction cut-off times, like 5 pm EST. This means you won’t get your money until the next day if it’s after 5.

Where to buy and sell gift cards

There are a ton of gift card exchanges where you can sell your gift cards for cash or trade them in for a gift card you’ll use.

Here are Roost’s top three app picks for the fastest cash turnaround, easiest to use, and for getting the most money for the gift card’s value.

Best app with the fastest turnaround to sell gift cards for fast cash


This app can pay you “in as little as 15 minutes” for your gift cards and says you can receive up to 92% of the gift card value.

For example, if you have a $35 Walmart gift card, you’d link your bank account to get up to $32.20. 

However, they charge a hefty 15% processing fee and a $1.50 delivery charge to get your money instantly. (If you can wait one business day, the processing fee is 7.5%.).

This is the app to use if you need to sell Walmart gift card for cash instantly.

Roost Tip! Don’t need your money same day? You can get more out of your gift card by avoiding express fees.

Best quote tool app to sell unwanted gift cards


Without ever having to create an account or give up your email address, their quote tool will give you a quick answer about the cash or trade-in value of your gift card.

Trade-in values tend to be higher than cash values, so if you’re just going to turn around and use the money at a different store, you should consider a trade-in rather than cash.

Payments are typically sent within 1-2 days of approved orders, but it could take longer if you need to mail in your a physical gift card.

Best app to sell gift cards for the most cash


If you’re more concerned about making maximum cash rather than a quick turnaround, consider an app like Raise.

Raise allows you to list your gift card and try to find a buyer who will pay what you are hoping to make. 

They also have a cash-back rewards system called Raise Cash that allows you to earn points/cash when you buy a gift cards for businesses like Amazon gift card, for instance.

You can then use those points to get money off other purchases.

How are gift card values determined?

Not all gift card values are created equal. Although $100 is a $100 to you and me, in the world of gift card exchanges, that one-to-one thinking doesn’t hold water.

According to WalletHub, for example, Walmart gift cards are currently ranked third in gift card popularity.

If you sell a $100 Walmart gift card, you’d likely receive about $82. Red Lobster, on the other hand, ranks 47th, which means the cash value of a $100 gift card will probably come in around $60. 

Roost Tip! That still doesn’t precisely answer how gift card values are determined, does it?  The honest answer is…nobody knows. It depends on the popularity of the card at the time you try to sell, how many people are looking for that card, the brand, and how much you spend on processing fees, delivery charges, and shipping.

What is the difference between a gift card and a prepaid card?

A gift card is a plastic or electronic voucher with a specific cash value that you can use to make purchases at a particular store.

Prepaid cards are cards that have brand names like Visa®  or MasterCard®. They have a cash amount loaded onto them and can be used anywhere that brand is accepted.

Although prepaid cards seem cool because you can use them almost anywhere, pay close attention to sneaky transaction fees, expiration dates, and other hidden restrictions that often make these cards more expensive to use for the recipient.

How safe are gift card exchanges?

For the most part, gift card exchanges are considered safe to use.

Generally, you’ll want to look for things like double authentication for security, especially if you are linking your bank account. 

It’s always a good idea to: 

  • Use more prominent, reputable sites
  • Read user reviews to gauge real-world experiences
  • Avoid selling on places like E-Bay or Craig’s List because you are often dealing with individuals instead of companies

Whenever buying or selling on-line you want to be aware of steps you can take to protect your identity and financial information.

Buy and sell gift cards

Most gift card exchanges do allow you to buy and sell gift cards. You can look at app reviews on Google Play to see if they do.

6 Top gift card tips

1. Shop for discounted gift cards

If you’re buying gift cards as a present, look for discounts. You’ll find discounted gift cards at stores like Costco and can save up to 20% on the value.

You don’t even need to buy a discounted gift card as a gift. If you see a deal like $100 worth of cash for $80 for a store or restaurant you frequent anyway, snap that baby up, you just got yourself a 20% discount!

2. Avoid giving pre-paid cards as gifts

Pre-paid cards often have lots of fees that can chip away at their value such as transaction fees, monthly fees, inactivity fees etc.

Just give cash instead, most people will probably appreciate it more anyways.

3. Use reward points to buy gift cards

Most credit card companies that offer points for purchases allow you to redeem those points for gift cards. It’s a great way to buy a gift for someone using zero cash.

4. Don’t overspend when using your gift card

Many people tend to spend more than they would have when they have a gift card.  It’s normal, it feels good to have all that ‘free’ money, but it can be easier to go over budget.

For instance, say you were going to buy a new pair of jeans for $50. Your gift card is for $50.

So now you start looking at more expensive jeans and end up with a pair that costs $90.

Now you are still out $40 when that $40 could’ve gone to savings or paying down a bill.

5. Beware of inactivity fees

Although banned in many states now, some locations still allow cards to charge fees by deducting it from your card balance if you don’t redeem it within a specific time period. 

6. Don’t wait too long to use or sell a gift card

As we mentioned above, gift cards should not expire but sometimes they do after a very long period of time.

So whatever you decide to do, try not to procrastinate for too long.

What are some other ways to make fast cash?

If cashing in a gift card doesn’t seem like a good option (or you don’t have one!), there are other ways to make fast cash. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Sell unwanted gift cards for cash: final thoughts

As with most money-making ventures, selling your gift cards for cash takes a little homework. While plenty of apps are ready to help you sell your unwanted gift cards, make sure you’re clear on your priorities —to sell quickly or to get the most money for the card’s value.

Once you’ve figured that out, make sure you use a reputable gift card exchange provider.