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Turning those gift cards into something you want

A number of websites allow you to sell or exchange them, but beware of scammers.

If the gift card you received was more

If the gift card you received was more of a miss than a hit, it doesn't have to be a total loss. You have options. Photo Credit: iStock

Chances are you got a few gift cards this holiday season. They remain ever popular, but truth is, according to WalletHub.com, nearly $1 billion in value went unused in 2015.

If the gift card you received was more of a miss than a hit, it doesn’t have to be a total loss. You have options.

Sell or exchange them

Websites like Raise.com, Cardpool.com, and CardCash.com allow you to sell unwanted gift cards.

Don't expect to get the full value of the card, however.

“Because they will sell those cards for you to others at a discounted price, you most likely won’t get dollar for dollar, because their goal is to sell it to someone for a profit,” says Karen Ford, author of Money Matters.  

For example, the CardCash.com site says you can get up to 92 percent of the card’s value or trade it for the gift card of your choice for an even better value. If you opt for money instead of another card, depending on the outlet you use, you may get cash, money sent via PayPal, or a paper check.

Even if you don’t get 100 percent, it beats zero that you get if the card collects dust in your dresser drawer.

Bitmo.com CEO J. Michael Smallwood touts his platform because any gift card can be exchanged to any other retailer for no charge, and it’s all managed on your mobile phone. “Gift a Macy’s card, but if your recipient wants to exchange that for a Nordstrom’s card — it’s totally free. Some of our retailers even offer you more to exchange from other retailers to get you to spend that money with them.”

Beware of scammers

Winston Nguyen, marketing manager for Bitfalls.com, says you can sell gift cards on Reddit for cash via PayPal, Bitcoin or other cards. As with any transaction, play smart, especially at this time of year. “Only trade with reputable people," he said. "It's highly recommended you carefully read the trading guide” on Reddit trading.

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