Do you have a stack of gift cards you received for a holiday or birthday but don’t plan to use? Are you always rummaging for discounts when you shop? If you answered yes to either question, CardCash may appeal to you.
Table of Contents
- What Is CardCash?
- Selling Gift Cards to CardCash: How Does It Work?
- Buying Gift Cards from CardCash: How Does It Work?
- Scammers and the 45-Day CardCash Guarantee
- CardCash Pros
- CardCash Cons
- Alternatives to CardCash
What Is CardCash?
Elliot Bohm and Marc Ackerman founded CardCash in 2009 in Brick, New Jersey.
CardCash allows you to buy and sell gift cards within its marketplace. You can sell cards to CardCash for less than the balance. And you can buy gift cards from more than 1,100 brands at discounted prices.
The company acquired competitor PlasticJungle in 2014 and has partnered with the likes of CVS, United Airlines and Walmart.
According to a poll published by Bankrate in July 2021, Americans held more than $15 billion in unused gift card and credit balances. And the majority of American adults have held an unused gift card for more than a year.
Selling Gift Cards to CardCash: How Does It Work?
Selling a gift card to CardCash is usually simpler than buying one.
Type in the store name and your gift card balance. Then click “Get Offer.” You’ll see the dollar amount that CardCash is willing to pay you. According to CardCash, it will pay up to 92% of the value of your gift card.
If you want to accept the offer, click “Get Cash” and determine whether you want your money a mailed check, direct deposit (ACH) or PayPal. CardCash requires you to enter a credit card number for identification. It will make a temporary $1 authorization charge on your card.
In some cases, you’ll need to provide further verification or physically mail in your card. But in most cases, you can enter your gift card information online.
CardCash accepts only gift cards with no expiration date.
Once CardCash approves your transaction, it takes up to 48 hours to process your payment. Depending on which payment method you choose, it will take up to a week for you to receive the money.
Buying Gift Cards from CardCash: How Does It Work?
You can sort the gift card brands in the CardCash marketplace by the discount percentage, popularity and in alphabetical order. You can also search by store name or brand category.
When I checked the site, there were gift cards available from 584 brands.
If you click on an individual brand, you can review whether the gift cards for sale on the CardCash marketplace are electronic or physical. You can also review the value (balance) of the cards, the discount percentage and how much you’ll pay if you buy a card.
Often there’s a limited quantity of cards (as few as one) at the highest listed discount percentage. Larger gift card balances may offer slightly lower discount percentages.
The inventory fluctuates. When I checked, I found 197 Starbucks gift cards listed for sale, but sometimes a search for a particular brand will yield no results.
You may not be able to redeem multiple gift cards in a single transaction. For example, I could buy two $50 P.F. Chang’s gift cards for $44.60 each (a 10.8% discount). But if I eat at P.F. Chang’s and run up a bill of $80, I may be able to apply only one of those $50 gift cards to the bill.
CardCash also sells “merchandise credit,” which you normally when you return an item to a store. These balances often include restrictions (example: “must redeem in-store”). Printable (electronic) cards usually arrive in your email inbox within 24 hours of your purchase. Physical cards get dropped in the mail within 48 hours. But CardCash says they can take up to seven days to arrive.
Biggest Gift Card Discounts
I sorted the gift cards in the marketplace by discount percentage. Here were the five largest discounts I found:
- Karen Allen Salon & Spa: up to 41% off
- Tony Roma’s: up to 40% off
- Good Feet: up to 39.3% off
- NYX Makeup: up to 36.6% off
- Golf There: up to 35.4% off
Smallest Gift Card Discounts
Here are the five brands with the smallest available discounts when I reviewed the site:
- Giant Eagle: up to 0.2% off
- Gift of Choice: up to 0.25% off
- Uber Eats: up to 0.5% off
- Uber: up to 0.5% off
- Sunco: up to 0.5% off
- Shell: up to 0.5% off
- Mobil Gas: up to 0.5% off
- Exxon Mobil: up to 0.5% off
- Best Buy: up to 0.5% off
Most Popular Gift Cards on CardCash
Here are the five most popular brands in the marketplace as of October 2021:
- Starbucks (up to 4% off)
- Target (up to 5% off)
- Walmart (up to 1.3% off)
- AMC Theaters (up to 17.2% off)
- Olive Garden (up to 10.3% off)
Scammers and the 45-Day CardCash Guarantee
In theory, companies such as CardCash can help limit the scams that plague the secondary gift card market.
To that end, CardCash requires sellers to provide a credit card for identity verification. It claims to take other mitigation steps as well.
The company guarantees all gift card balances for 45 days. So it’s strongly recommended that you use the full balance on any gift card you purchase from CardCash within 45 days.
“Unscrupulous sellers love selling cards and then using the card numbers once they’ve received payment,” CardCash says on its FAQs page. “Or they purchase the cards with stolen credit cards which causes the merchant to wipe the balance once the fraud is discovered and leaves you holding the bag.
“We screen sellers carefully and protect you with our 45-day buyer protection guarantee.”
If for any reason some or all of your card balance disappears before you can use it within the protected 45-day period, you can report it to [email protected] to request a refund. If the Better Business Bureau complaints are any indication, a refund is not guaranteed.
CardCash holds a B+ rating with the BBB, but there’s an active alert that balances often disappear after the 45-day period. There are also fairly frequent complaints about various other logistical problems.
Here are some of the best CardCash features:
- Big discounts available. There were only a few gift cards available at a discount of more than 30%. But I saw an abundance of gift cards for sale at discounts of 15% or more.
- 45-day guarantee. If you spend the balance of any gift card you purchase from the company within 45 days, you’re protected against fraud of any kind.
- Large number of brands. The marketplace includes more than 1,000 brands. Not all of them are available simultaneously, but there’s an impressive depth of options.
- Multiple payment methods. It’s nice to have options when it comes to payments.
Here are some of the downsides to doing business with CardCash:
- Volume of Better Business Bureau complaints. There appears to be a steady march of people filing formal complaints about CardCash to the Better Business Bureau.
- Reputation for poor customer service. At minimum, it seems that there can be lengthy delays when customers reach out to the team’s customer service department for help. And the BBB has a healthy list of complaints from people who claim they’ve done everything right but still can’t get their money.
- Sellers typically earn significantly less than gift card balance. CardCash makes money by selling a high volume of gift cards for slightly more than what they pay for them. As such, in most instances, you’re not going to get a great offer when you’re trying to sell your gift card.
- May need to request refund. The 45-day guarantee is in place for a reason. It isn’t unheard of for a gift card balance to go to zero without you making a purchase. If that happens, you’ll be at the mercy of a customer service team that may be slow to respond and require you to jump through some hoops to recover your funds.
Alternatives to CardCash
If you’re thinking about buying a gift card to give to someone as a present, consider that money expert Clark Howard is a bigger fan of cash.
The great thing about buying or selling gift cards through these third-party sites is that you can compare prices quickly. If you want to compare CardCash offers to another site, you can do so in a few minutes (or less).
Some of the biggest alternatives to CardCash include:
If you have a gift card that you aren’t going to use and want to recoup some value, it may be easier to sell it to CardCash online than to post it for sale on Craigslist, pawn it off on a friend or re-gift it.
It also may be worth checking CardCash for available gift cards if you’re shopping online and you’re ready to make a purchase.