Top Websites For Discounted Gift Cards
Could buying discounted gift cards help you save money and reduce your monthly budget? Possibly, if you teach yourself to spend them like cash and not like free money. Here's a look at four top sites to buy discounted gift cards. Inventory and discounts can vary significantly from one site to the next; they changed notably even as this content was written and checked. We'll also tell you about some problems with using gift cards for everyday spending.Giftcards.com
Giftcards.com says it offers discounts of up to 35% on gift cards from more than 100 name-brand merchants. Some gift cards are only available as gift codes, which means you can only use them for online purchases. To get a physical gift card by mail, you'll pay about $2 in postage for USPS shipping, which takes seven to 10 days.
At the time of writing, Giftcards.com had hundreds of Walmart gift cards and gift codes available in a variety of denominations, mostly in the $20 to $100 range, all with a 2% discount. There were a couple of dozen Whole Foods gift cards worth about $100 being sold at a 4% discount, in partnership with the website Gift Card Granny.There were also dozens of Target gift cards available in the $25 to $100 range with a 6% discount. But for many top merchants, including Best Buy, Gap and Home Depot, there were just one or two gift cards available, and there were no Starbucks gift cards at all. With any gift card site, however, inventory can change at any time depending on how much supply is available and how much demand there is.Cardpool
Cardpool also says it offers discounts of up to 35% on gift cards, and its homepage features gift cards from major merchants such as Lowe's, Target and Toys ‘R' Us. The site has an ample selection of both physical and electronic gift cards, as well as printable electronic gift certificates that can be used online or in store, from dozens of merchants. Physical gift cards ship free via USPS.
At the time of writing, Cardpool offered hundreds of Walmart gift cards and gift codes in a variety of denominations starting at $10, all with a 3.5% discount. There were about 100 Whole Foods gift cards worth $25 to $100 being sold at a 3% discount. There were also several hundred Target gift cards available, mostly in the $10 to $200 range, with a 4% discount. Unlike GiftCards.com, Cardpool had about 150 each of Home Depot, Best Buy, Gap and Starbucks gift cards, but there were no gift cards available for quite a few merchants, including Amazon, Trader Joe's and Jamba Juice.Raise
At Raise.com, we found discounts as high as 89% for DiningDough.com and Restaurant.com and as low as 0% – no, that's not a typo – for dozens of retailers, including Newegg and The Body Shop. Unlike the other gift card sites described in this article, Raise lets sellers choose their discount, which explains why some cards have huge discounts and others have none.
Raise might have the broadest selection, with discounted gift cards from nearly 1,000 name-brand merchants. Like Giftcards.com, some gift cards at Raise.com are only available as eGift cards, which means you can only use them for online purchases. The site also sells physical gift cards and printable vouchers. To get a physical gift card by mail, shipping is free.
At the time of writing, there were about 50 Walmart gift cards available, from about $10 to about $200, offering a 0% to 3% discount. There were 13 Whole Foods gift cards worth $35 to $230 being sold at a 1% to 2% discount. There were also hundreds of Target gift cards available, from about $10 to nearly $2,000, with a 0% to 5% discount. For Home Depot, there were 157 gift cards available worth about $10 to nearly $800, with discounts of about 0% to 7.9%. As with other sites, only a couple of gift cards were available for certain retailers. Other retailers' gift cards were in abundant supply; there were 522 Starbucks gift cards, ranging from about $10 to $90, with discounts of 0% to 7%CardCash
CardCash offers discounts of up to 35% on gift cards from more than 550 merchants. The site sells both physical gift card and printable ecards. To get a physical gift card by mail, standard USPS shipping is free, and your card should arrive in one to five business days.
At the time of writing, there were more than 100 Whole Foods gift cards worth $4.52 to $139 being sold at a 1.5% discount. Best Buy was similarly well represented, with more than 100 cards valued at as little as $1.18 and as much as $213.49, each discounted by 3.5%. There were also a few dozen Gap gift cards in a wide variety of denominations with an 8.5% discount and 668 Target gift cards available for less than $5 to $94, all with a 2% discount.
For Home Depot, there were more than 100 gift cards available in amounts from $2.50 to $587.63, all with an 8% discount. Gift card inventory was scarce for some top merchants, including Starbucks (12.5% discount), whose gift cards were readily available at other sites.Other Considerations
Studies have shown that people spend gift card balances more freely than they spend cash, so keep in mind that the discount you feel like you're getting might be eaten up by your tendency to increase your spending when you pay with a gift card. Some people have the self-control to spend gift cards like cash, but others will spend more than they would have otherwise.
Another problem arises if you want to return something you purchase with a gift card. Instead of getting real money back as you would if you made the purchase with a credit or debit card or with cash, you'll usually get your refund in the form of a gift card. Some stores, though, will give you cash when refunding a small purchase – say, $10 or less – made via gift card.
You also have to consider the value of your time. A 5% discount at Starbucks sounds great, but when that means getting a $15 gift card for $14.25, you have to ask yourself if it's worth the trouble just to save 75 cents. At larger denominations, your dollar savings become more significant, but even if you buy a $100 gift card with a 5% discount, you're only saving $5.
Finally, there may be better ways than buying discounted gift cards to save money at stores where you shop regularly. If you have good credit and always pay off your credit card balances in full and on time, you might find it more convenient to apply for store credit cards that offer discounts. A prime example is Target's REDcard. It gives you 5% off your purchases right at the register; that's better than constantly searching for deals on Target gift cards, which tend to sell at only a small discount because of their popularity and usefulness. (See How The Target Credit Credit Card Works.)The Bottom Line
Gift card inventory is constantly changing. Because inventories and discounts vary by site, there's no one best choice for buying discounted gift cards. Giftcards.com, fCardpool, Raise and Cardcash are just a few of the many websites that sell discounted gift cards. There are several others, and all offer the same basic service: a way to buy retail store gift cards for less than face value. Giftcards.com was the only one that charged for shipping at the time of writing.
There are also sites such as Gift Card Granny and CardHub that help you find the best deals by showing you which discounted gift card websites will save you the most money on the specific cards you're looking for. Some of these sites also buy gift cards if you have some you're not using.
Read Are Discounted Gift Card Websites Safe? and How To Get Gift Cards At A Discount to learn more.