5 Legit Ways to Earn Cash for Your Gift Cards Instantly

Get the most from gift cards you already own

I understand that you likely landed on this blog post because you wanted to find places to exchange gift cards for money. And I’ll get to that. But first let me share three tips on how you can make the most from the gift cards you already own. One of these tips includes how to direct deposit that gift card as cash in your bank account. Yes, that’s possible.

Register your card for extra perks

When you get a Starbucks gift card, it makes sense to register it right away so you can participate in the My Starbucks Rewards program. When you register the card, you’ll get a freebie. You can also upload the gift card to the Starbucks app and reload it that way, too.

Because you have to include your birth date during registration, Starbucks will send you another freebie on that special day. (Here is my list of birthday freebies.) And then every time you pay with that card, you’ll earn rewards points, which will add up to free food and free drink down the road.

Remind yourself how much is on each gift card

If you were to look in my wallet right now, you would see a gift card in there. Written on the back in Sharpie is this: $12.80. That’s because the last time I went to that store and used my gift card, I wasn’t buying enough stuff to use up the whole amount. The receipt told me I had $12.80 left on the gift card so I wrote it on the back. This simple gift card hack helps you remember how much is left on a gift card so you can use it up smartly.

While some retailers can handle the notion of “partial purchases” with gift cards, others cannot. And if you can’t make a purchase for that “$12.80,” then using up the remaining balance could become a problem. Which is why using the entire amount on your gift card the first time you’re using it can often be the best way to get the most from a gift card.

Deposit the gift card amount in the bank

Believe it or not there are certain gift cards, often in the form of a debit card that you receive as a reward for a purchase, that you can deposit directly into your bank account. I usually get these after buying my dog’s flea and/or heartworm medicine at the vet.

I learned this the hard way. For the longest time, I would try to use these gift cards (usually a VISA-branded debit gift card) to buy gas or groceries. But each time I would swipe it and even after the instructions for use at retailers, the card would be reject. Finally, one day I read the fine print on the back and discovered the bank deposit option, which is what I did.

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How To Check A Visa Gift Card Balance

Before you try to trade in your gift card for cash, I recommend you check the current balance on your Visa gift card. Even if a friend gave you the card as a gift, it’s smart to know the balance.

You have a few options for checking your balance.

1. Call the Toll Free Number

There will be a toll-free phone number on the back of your gift card that you can call. Once you call, the automated system will have you enter your card number and some other information before telling you the remaining balance.

2. Go to the Gift Card Issuer’s Website

If you don’t have access to a phone, no worries. You can also check your card balance through the issuer’s website.

To find out who issued your gift card, look on the back of the card near the phone number. There should be a URL listed that you can go to and find out your card’s balance.

You can also go here for a list of the card issuer websites.

3. Bring your ID and Credit Card

I took my son with me to a Gift Card Exchange machine once and he asked the obvious question, “How does the machine know that there’s money on the gift card? Couldn’t someone just say it has $20 and get cash back?” The answer is no. The Gift Card Exchange kiosk will check the balance of the gift card before accepting it. But just to avoid any potential tomfoolery, you’ll need to provide your mobile phone number and email address, plus scan your driver’s license (or other valid state-issued ID) and a credit or debit card in order to complete the transaction.

How to get cash from a Vanilla Visa gift card?

While you can’t get cash from a Vanilla Visa gift card directly, you have options like selling the gift card either online or in person or having the money transferred to your PayPal account. You will then receive money in exchange for the gift card.

That is, much like the other cards in this article, you can’t transfer money or withdraw money from your Vanilla Visa gift card. However, there are several workarounds available.

In fact, the process of how to get cash from a Vanilla Visa gift card is the same as how to convert any Visa gift card to cash, allowing you to use the balance in exactly the same way as cash. Check out some of the options earlier in this article to see which one may work best for you.

Avoid redeeming credit card rewards for gift cards

There’s one more thing you need to know about making money from gift cards—in most cases, redeeming credit card points, miles or cash back for gift cards isn’t the best use of your hard-earned rewards. While you can redeem credit card rewards for gift cards, you’ll often get a lower value than you could have earned if you’d redeemed your rewards for statement credits, travel bookings or online shopping.

If you want to maximize your credit card rewards, it’s best to avoid turning your points, miles or cash into gift cards. Instead, take some time to learn which rewards redemption methods offer the biggest bang for your buck. If you have a Chase travel credit card, for example, your points are often worth more when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards—which means you’re leaving money on the table if you redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for gift cards.

How to transfer a Visa gift card to a bank account?

You can transfer money from a prepaid card to your bank account indirectly by trying some of the following options, which we go into more detail about above:

  1. Add the card to your PayPal or Venmo account and transfer the balance to your own account
  2. Get money for a voucher issued by a Gift Card Exchange Kiosk and then deposit it into your account
  3. Choose an app or website to sell your gift card to that pays you through direct deposit, letting you then use the selling price as a way to transfer the Visa gift card to your bank account
  4. Use the card to buy a money order, with the value of this then placed in your account

Where Can I Sell Gift Cards for Cash in Person?

Whether you want to sell an unused or a half-used gift card, one of the options you have is to head over to the closest:

  • Gift card exchange kiosk
  • Office or store of the retailer in question
  • Target
  • Walmart

While this method enables you to get your money back immediately, the entire process can be rather tedious. Besides having to search for the closest store location on Google, you’ll also have to spend hours:

  1. Driving to the store or kiosk
  2. Waiting in lines
  3. Completing the required paperwork

Another drawback is that you’ll probably have to provide a receipt as proof of purchase if you choose to go to the retailer directly.

Can You Add a Visa Gift Card To Cash App?

Cash App does accept links from Visa, but it doesn’t allow for gift cards. Whether Cash App changes its policy in the future is up in the air. If it does, I’ll be sure to update you on the specifics.

What Brands Of Gift Cards Do You Accept?

Almost all gift card brands are accepted including retail, online and financial brands, however some restrictions apply. Please see store for details.

Need Help Using Visa Gift Cards Online?

By: Shelley Hunter Learn how to use Visa gift cards online, why Visa and Mastercard gift cards sometimes get declined online, and what you need to know about Visa egift cards. Read More » about Need Help Using Visa Gift Cards Online?

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