Save money selling, buying gift cards online

- A recent survey from Bankrate shows half of Americans plan on giving a gift cards as Christmas presents this year, but only about a quarter of us want one. That's a perfect recipe to save!

Whether you're buying one for someone - or looking to get rid of your own - head online to gift card marketplaces.

You can buy cards at a discount online, or sell them on gift card exchanges like Cardpool. For example today - we found 5-percent off a Toys R Us gift card. So you would be paying $23.75, but getting $25 to spend.

Typically you can sell a card for about 80 cents on the dollar. You might make more money on sites that let you sell peer-to-peer, like Gift Card Granny.  We found 7-percent off a $10 Target card.

Another site is Raise, which is a favorite over at The Pennyhoarder - a personal finance website based in St. Pete.

“You set your own price for your gift card and Raise takes a cut once it's sold so usually you can get 95% of what your card is worth so you’re not losing a ton of money,” says Lisa Rowan, writer and producer at Penny Hoarder.

You don't need the full value of the card Lets say you had 100 bucks you spend 70 and want to sell the remaining amount - you can do that.

Before buying a card though, you want to be smart. Use an exchange that provides purchase protection, and offers some sort of a return policy.

All the large legit sites offer this. Pay with your credit card And go for gift cards not prepaid cards - which might have some activation fees.

One more option - Did you know you can take a gift card to a Coinstar exchange kiosk?

Coinstar accepts cards from more than 150 high-profile retailers in exchange for cash - as long as the balance is over $20. But remember, they'll take a cut – so you won't get face-value for the cards. Bu it’s better to get something back.

As Lisa Rowan says, “You always have that guilt, I got a card and I'll probably never use it. Instead of letting them sit in your desk drawer you can sell them online and get cash.”

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