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I first heard of gift card buying websites over a year ago. The benefit of buying gift cards from a gift card buying/selling site is that the gift card sells for less than its value. Example: Gift card worth $100 may sell for only $90, so you get an $100 gift card for only $90.
Well, that sounds great, sign me up! Sounds easy enough! Except I never bought or sold any of my gift cards until last month (now I’m on a roll). Instead, I spent the last year saying, “I can sell my unwanted gift cards whenever I want, so why do it right now? I will probably get at least 80% on my Amazon gift card” (Ha! I was so naïve back then). I kept telling myself that so I wouldn’t state the real reasons.
Scared of Getting a Gift Card with a $0 Balance
It’s definitely a normal fear to have. The last thing you want after purchasing a gift card is discovering that there is no money or is less than the promised amount. When I first decided to buy my first gift card, I plunged head first into this fear. My college bookstore allows students to use Barnes and Nobles gift cards, and I decided to go all in. I got $300 worth of gift cards (so put up $277). In order to protect myself, I did this:
1. Since I have a credit card with Bank of America, I created a temporary credit card number that links to my real credit card. At Bank of America, this is called ShopSafe.
2.I checked out the reviews and looked at what people said the company did right and needed improvement on
3. Know the return policy and how long the company’s guarantee lasts
4. Formulated a plan in case anything went wrong. I knew how to contact the company, and I found out the procedure I would have to do to get my money back. Plus, I had enough funds, so I could still get my books without waiting on a refund.
5. Go for it
Scared of the Website Misusing my Credit Card
Sometimes I get very paranoid. I’m the type of person who crosses out my name on old homework assignments because I have a fear that someone will somehow use it to steal my identity, so I always freak out when I giving my credit number to companies no one I know in my personal life has tried. A few of my other fears were the company’s website is not safe, the company overcharges, and credit card/debit card numbers stored with the company are hacked. To combat these fears, I did this:
1. Looked for the green https:// and lockUsed a credit card instead of a debit card. This allowed me to keep the company out of my primary checking account.
2. Used a credit card instead of a debit card. This allowed me to keep the company out of my primary checking account.
3. If my credit card gets compromised, I can get a new number. Also, I can use ShopSafe.
Admit to Being Lazy
This reminds me of couponing. When I tried to start couponing, it became a total disaster. The problem was that I was trying to find coupons for stores that rarely offered them such as Pearson (why are textbooks so expensive?). I found myself spending way too much time trying to find coupons. Even sadder, I would waste all that time and still not find any coupons.
When I buy gift cards, I want to get the best discount and the right amount while also seeing if I can get more off by putting in a promo code. This made the process more stressful than it needed to be. Instead, I decided to create this system:
Step 1: Determine the amount I will need.
For instance, quite a few gift cards end in round numbers or have a few cents at the end of it. I choose if I want the gift cards to be a little more or a little less of what I need. Note: The card shouldn’t be too far from what you need since most gift card sites only provide warranty for a few months
Step 2: Check out my favorite gift card exchange sites first
The ones that I have tried and like:
Step 3: If I don’t like the choices on those sites, I go to other sites
I’m the type of person who could spend a couple of hours going over which website is the best one for my needs.
Never Going Back to a Gift Card Less Lifestyle
Now that I have managed to save money from using gift card sites, I’m never going back. When I experienced a problem with checking out on Raise (The mistake was on my end), I was able to get help within a few minutes thanks to its online help chat. So far, I saved over $20.