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Last Updated on May 22, 2022 by Chris Panteli
Convert Visa and Mastercard Gift Cards Into Cash
Do you have a Visa or Mastercard gift card you want to change into cash? Are you wondering if it’s possible to actually get cash for a Visa gift card? How do you convert a Visa gift card into American Dollars?
What is gift card liquidation?
Liquidation is the process by which an asset (the gift card) is turned into cash or something similar that can easily be converted into cash quickly. Selling a gift card for cash or exchanging it for something which can easily be converted into cash would constitute liquidation.
If you answered yes to these questions, then you are in the right place. Read on to learn how to liquidate Visa and Mastercard gift cards into pure and wonderful liquid cash!
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Convert Gift Cards Into Cash
Visa and Mastercard gift cards are popular for predominately two types of situation:
Both of these situations are adequate reasons for buying a gift card and gifting them to someone. However, if you are the recipient of a Visa or Mastercard gift card should you keep it? Or are you better off exchanging the card for cash instead?
Incredibly, 10% to 19% of gift card balances remain unredeemed — and around 6% of gift cards are never even used at all
In many cases exchanging a Visa or Mastercard gift card for cash will be the better option. Here are a few reasons why:
For these reasons, most of the time cash is superior to a gift card. Later you can learn 11 of the best ways to convert Visa or Mastercard gift cards into cash. Before that, what is a Visa or Mastercard gift card?
- Convert Visa and Mastercard Gift Cards Into Cash
- Convert Gift Cards Into Cash
- What Is A Visa Or Mastercard Gift Card?
- Should You Liquidate Your Gift Card?
- 11 Best Ways To Convert Visa Or Mastercard Gift Cards Into Cash
- 1. Pay With Gift Card Instead Of Cash
- 2. Add Gift Card To PayPal Wallet Online
- 3. Buy A Money Order With Gift Card
- 4. Add To Venmo Wallet Online
- 5. Gift Card Exchange
- 6. Sell Gift Card On Raise App
- 7. Sell Gift Cards For Cash On Websites
- 8. Buy And Flip Items
- 9. Sell Gift Card To A Friend
- 10. Swap Gift Card For Cash
- 11. Buy From A Physical Store And Then Return The Item
- Evaluate Values Vs Need When Converting Gift Cards To Cash
- Gift Card Terms And Conditions
- Visa And Mastercard Gift Cards As Gifts
- Gift Cards Into Cash – Final Thoughts
- Convert Visa and Mastercard Gift Cards Into Cash
What Is A Visa Or Mastercard Gift Card?
Visa or Mastercard gift cards are often sold by stores as part of a promotion. They usually offer higher rewards, immediate discounts, or mail-in rebates as part of the promotion. The discounts usually mean the purchaser makes a profit as the discount is often higher than the card purchase fee.
As well as receiving a discount, some cards give up to 5x more points or cash back at participating stores. A combination of discounts, promotions, and bonuses can mean some Visa or Mastercard gift cards give a fantastic return to the purchaser.
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Should You Liquidate Your Gift Card?
When deciding whether or not to liquidate your Visa or Mastercard gift cards there are some factors to consider. First the pros of liquidation:
The pros of liquidating a gift card usually outweigh the cons. Sometimes keeping a gift card is best though. Here are the cons of liquidating a Visa or Mastercard gift card to help you make a balanced decision:
In the next section, you can read about some of the best ways to convert a gift card to cash. This will also highlight that sometimes you can lose out on the value of a gift card. Reasons for this include either having to pay a flat fee to convert the card or only receiving a percentage of the gift card value in return for exchange.
It is always worthwhile asking yourself the following questions before converting gift cards:
Why do I want to convert them to cash?
What will the cash be used for?
How long is the gift card valid for?
The answers to these questions will help you decide whether it is worthwhile to liquidate the gift card or not. For example, if the gift card will expire before you have time to use it, then converting to cash will be the best option.
If you need cash quickly, such as to pay an emergency bill, then converting to cash is also going to be the right choice.
However, if you would benefit substantially from the full value of the gift card then using it as intended may be the better approach.
11 Best Ways To Convert Visa Or Mastercard Gift Cards Into Cash
This section will cover a variety of ways on how to liquidate Visa gift cards. Keep in mind the previous section and look out for things such as fees that may apply when converting. This way you can pick the best option based on your own situation.
1. Pay With Gift Card Instead Of Cash
The first way to convert a gift card into cash may seem obvious. Use the gift card to pay for something that you would normally use cash for. This means the bill is paid, but you still have the cash to spend!
Keep in mind that credit card fees may apply when paying with a Visa or Mastercard gift card. Check that first to make sure it still makes sense to pay with the gift card. If it does, then go ahead with the payment and now you have the equivalent cash remaining in your bank account.
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This method could be used for anything that you normally pay with cash. Provided the vendor accepts Visa or Mastercard, then you can do this. You could use gift cards to pay large bills, small bills, or just for your regular purchases at the local store.
Whatever you use the gift card for, you now have the equivalent amount of cash still that you can use for any purpose. The cash could be saved in the bank, used to pay other debts, or added to an investment account.
2. Add Gift Card To PayPal Wallet Online
A feature of using PayPal is the option to add Visa gift cards to your PayPal wallet. Once you have added the gift card to your wallet you can use the balance just like cash. This means you can make a purchase from any merchant that offers PayPal as a payment method. Most online retailers accept PayPal so you now have a huge range of retailers that you can use the gift card balance with.
Not only could you spend it like cash with merchants that accept PayPal, but as it is now cash there are other ways you can use the balance. You can transfer the money to your linked bank account or send the money to other PayPal users. Keep in mind that fees may apply of up to 3% when transferring money using PayPal.
How do you add a gift card through PayPal?
Adding a gift card through PayPal is extremely easy. You just have to follow 4 simple steps, they are:
That’s it! In 4 easy steps, your gift card is now linked to your PayPal account and the balance can be used as cash.
If you do experience any problems adding the card such as an error message, contact the card issuer. Sometimes a card must be registered first to make sure the address matches. Once that is done there should be no trouble linking the card to your PayPal account.
3. Buy A Money Order With Gift Card
One great way to convert a Visa or Mastercard gift card to cash is to buy a money order. Many stores, including major outlets such as Walmart, allow you to purchase money orders. This does vary depending on the area so check with your local store first.
Please note: Not all stores allow money orders to be bought with gift cards. It is best to check before going to save a wasted journey.
Once you have purchased a money order, you can then deposit the order into your bank account. Now that the gift card is cash in your bank account you can use it for anything you like.
If you choose to buy money orders, there is a warning you should heed. Some banks will shut an account down for depositing too many money orders. This could lead to suspicion of committing an offense called Structuring.
Structuring is a serious offense that can lead to a fine or even imprisonment.
“Structuring, also known as surfing in banking industry jargon, is the practice of executing financial transactions (including making bank deposits) in a specific pattern calculated to avoid the creation of certain records and reports required by law“.
This means you need to think carefully about using this method to convert gift cards to cash. If you use it occasionally, then it’s likely fine. However, extensively using this method could lead to the closure of your bank account and possibly criminal charges.
One suggestion to avoid potential problems is to only buy money orders with gift cards occasionally and use other methods on this list more often than buying money orders.
4. Add To Venmo Wallet Online
Venmo works very similarly to PayPal. Venmo allows you to add a gift card balance to your Venmo account.
Using Venmo can often be better than using PayPal, especially if you want to transfer the money to your bank account to use as cash. This is because Venmo doesn’t charge any fees when you transfer money from your Venmo account to your own bank account with the exception of selecting the Instant Transfer option. Once you have arranged the transfer the money is normally in your bank account within 1 to 3 business days.
Adding the gift card balance to your Venmo account is nice and easy. It works in almost the same way as adding to a PayPal wallet. Simply log in to the Venmo app and go to the option that allows you to add a gift card. Add the gift card and you can now use the balance however you wish.
On some occasions, you may get a warning message relating to fraud prevention. Don’t worry about this. All you need to do is try the process again. If the error persists simply contact Venmo customer service using their helpline and they will see if they can help clear up the issue.
5. Gift Card Exchange
An easy and often convenient way to convert gift cards to cash is to use Gift Card Exchange Kiosks. Many are located in supermarkets and shopping malls plus they are usually easy to spot as they often come in a bright yellow color.
At these kiosks, all you need to do is provide the Visa or Mastercard gift card information. This will include details such as the numbers that are shown on the front of the gift card. Many machines will have the option of scanning or swiping the gift card, you won’t normally have to manually enter all the information.
Once you have provided the gift card details you will be given a range of options to choose from. All you need to do now is select what you want and go to the cashier with your voucher. The cashier will then exchange the voucher for cash.
When exchanging a gift card at a kiosk pay close attention to the amount offered. If you are not happy with the amount, then stop the transaction. If the amount is acceptable, then accept the offer and get your cash from the cashier or customer service desk.
Here are some tips on gift card exchanges:
6. Sell Gift Card On Raise App
One way to convert a Visa gift card to cash is to use an app. There are many apps that buy the card from you, then resell it for a profit. This method can be a fast way of converting those Visa gift cards into cash.
However, a word of caution to bear in mind. The fees involved can be high which means this method is best if no others are available or if you need the cash quickly.
A great app to use is offered by Raise. The Raise app is available on App Store and Play Store. Once downloaded you can easily sell your gift cards, but Raise does take a 15% commission. When you sell a gift card on Raise you can get paid via PayPal, check, or straight into your bank account.
Related: 33 Awesome Apps That Pay You
7. Sell Gift Cards For Cash On Websites
If you have a digital gift card, then you can instantly sell it for cash. For physical gift cards, the process is a little longer as you will need to send the card to the website. Some of these sites will cover the cost of postage which means you won’t lose further money on the gift card exchange.
Websites operate the same process as the apps and charge a fee when selling the gift card. This is usually a percentage based on the balance of the gift card. Before agreeing to any sale check the gift card balance and make sure you are happy with the offer.
If you are unsure about the site you are using search online for reviews from other users. Check how other people’s experiences have been and decide using that information if you are comfortable with proceeding.
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Other sites you can use for selling Visa gift cards include eBay and Craigslist. This means you are selling directly to other people. Provided you are offering the gift card for less than the balance on the card, there will be plenty of people wanting to buy it. Take account of other costs such as postage when selling a gift card this way.
Also, remember to be vigilant as there is a higher risk of an attempted scam when trying to sell directly to other people as you don’t have the protection of the intermediary.
8. Buy And Flip Items
Although this method involves a bit more work it can be one of the better ways to exchange Visa gift cards for cash. How so? The benefit of this method not only converts the gift card to cash but could mean you get more money than the gift card is worth. This is probably the only method that doesn’t involve losing part of the gift card balance when exchanging.
First, you need to find items to buy. Be on the lookout for items that are underpriced or undervalued. A lot of people don’t realize the value of the item they are selling or they simply don’t want to spend time finding out. This is greats news for anyone that wants to flip items as you can earn a profit on the item.
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Remember you need to buy items from vendors that accept gift cards as payment. Established sites such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace are a great place to start.
Once you have bought the item, you now just need to resell it for a higher price than you paid. After it has sold you now have the cash in your account to use however you like.
Buying and selling goods will involve more work than the other methods listed. However, it can mean making a profit on the gift cards which for many means the extra time spent is worth it. If you are in a rush for cash then one of the other methods will be better.
9. Sell Gift Card To A Friend
An easy and quick way to convert a prepaid card to cash is to sell the gift card to a friend. If you have gift cards you want to liquidate into cash, ask your friend groups if they want to buy it.
The benefit of selling a gift card this way is that you can avoid paying any commissions or fees that are normally charged when selling a gift card online.
To make it worthwhile for the buyer It would usually be a simple case of offering the gift card for a little less than the value on the card. For example, the gift card has a $20 balance, you could ask for $15 cash for it.
Pro Tip – Hit up your Facebook friends for a fast turnaround time on converting your gift cards into cash. You would be surprised how many people will reply when you offer a small discount!
Using this method to convert a visa gift card to cash is quick and easy. You will have the cash straight away to use for your own needs.
10. Swap Gift Card For Cash
A simple way to exchange a gift card for cash is to swap the card for the cash amount. You may have friends or family members that need to buy something and can use that specific gift card towards it. As they were going to spend the money anyway, they could just use the gift card instead of cash.
This is a win for you as you now have the cash in your bank account to use yourself.
Offering this deal to friends and family may work better when you know specific events are happening that usually include gift-giving. This could be Christmas, birthdays, weddings, etc. At these times ask around to see if anyone can make use of a gift card in exchange for the cash.
One reason people may decline is that the gift card balance isn’t high enough. For example, the gift card balance is $50 but they plan to spend $100. This is OK. Simply let them know that retailers can usually do a ‘split tender’ transaction. A split tender transaction means part of the balance is paid using a gift card and the rest can be paid with cash.
Swapping a gift card for cash in this way is a great method as it means you get the full amount of cash. That cash can now be used for savings, investing, or paying off debts.
11. Buy From A Physical Store And Then Return The Item
The final method is one that many may feel uncomfortable with. Its included on the list as it is a valid way of converting a gift card to cash but there are some potential risks.
First, you would need to go to a physical store and make a purchase using the gift card. Once you have bought an item, you can return it and request a refund by cash or check. You will need to tell them you no longer have the gift card which is why the refund needs to be made by cash or check.
If all goes smoothly you now have the cash amount of the gift card in your hand. However, there are some potential pitfalls including:
This method isn’t the best choice as it is time-consuming plus there are moral and legal implications. However, it is a way that means you can usually end up with the full gift card balance in cash.
Provided you aren’t breaking any laws this might be a good method to use occasionally.
Evaluate Values Vs Need When Converting Gift Cards To Cash
If you have a gift card or regularly receive gift cards due to using sites like Swagbucks, then when is it best to convert them to cash?
The best thing to do is think about your own needs. Ask yourself the following:
How quickly do I need cash?
What do I need the cash for?
Is the gift card going to expire soon?
Once you think about the answers to these questions you can pick the best method for your situation.
If you need cash quickly, then selling to a friend or family member may be best. Don’t forget this may involve a small loss on the balance of the gift card.
Alternatively, you could use the gift cards to buy goods or pay bills and keep the cash you would have spent otherwise. A similar way to this is to add the gift cards to your PayPal or Venmo wallets. These ways mean you get the cash to use however you like. Keep in mind that fees may apply when using PayPal or Venmo if doing an instant transfer.
Finally, perhaps you live a frugal lifestyle. This means saving as much money as possible and making as much money as possible. Using the gift card to buy and flip items might be the best method for you as you can make a profit on the gift cards.
All the methods listed are perfectly valid ways to liquidate Visa or Mastercard gift cards. Base your decision on what you need and when you need it; then act accordingly.
Gift Card Terms And Conditions
Exchanging gift cards for cash using one of the listed methods is extremely simple. In most cases, you can have the cash quickly and with no fuss.
However, to successfully liquidate gift cards for cash it is important to keep in mind the terms and conditions of the gift card. Terms and conditions could include:
This list isn’t exhaustive, but these are the main terms and conditions to be aware of. If you manage your gift cards, then you can avoid things like missing out due to the card expiring.
Whenever you get a gift card it’s worth checking the terms and conditions for any exclusions that may hinder liquidating for cash.
Visa And Mastercard Gift Cards As Gifts
One method we mentioned earlier was to use gift cards to pay bills, then you have the cash you would have used for the bill to use for whatever you like.
A similar idea to this is to give gift cards as presents. Doing this means you still have the cash you would have used for the present and the recipient has the gift card to use for whatever they like.
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There are many occasions that you can give a gift card as a present including weddings, birthdays, and Christmas. A gift card can be much better for some people than receiving store-specific vouchers or cash in a card.
Can you turn a Visa gift card into cash?
The simple answer is, yes! There are several of these methods that will mean you have cash in your hand. Selling to a friend or family member or exchanging the card at a kiosk will provide you with the cash immediately.
Can you transfer money from a Visa gift card to a cash App?
Transferring the money from a Visa gift card to a cash App such as Venmo is an easy process. All you need to do is log in, add the gift card balance, and now you can use it like cash. You can even withdraw the money to your bank account.
Can you transfer money from a Visa gift card to PayPal?
Yes, you can easily transfer money from a Visa gift card to PayPal. First, log in to your PayPal account. Find the wallet option at the top, once selected click link a card, and follow the instructions to add the details of the gift card. Once the balance has been added you can withdraw the money to your bank account, transfer it to other PayPal users, or spend it with merchants that accept PayPal. Don’t forget that fees may apply so factor that into your calculations.
Where can I trade in gift cards for cash?
Most of the ways listed in this guide allow you to trade in gift cards for cash. To get cash in your hand, sell them to friends or exchange it at a kiosk. Add the balance to PayPal or cash app and transfer it to your bank account.
Sell the gift cards via apps such as Raise and once sold withdraw the balance to your bank account. Visit participating stores and use the gift card to buy a money order which can be deposited into your bank account and you now have the cash to use. Ultimately all methods result in you getting cash, but some will deposit into your bank account rather than cash in hand. Just remember that fees may apply depending on the method you use and to check these before completing any exchange.
How can I get cash for gift cards immediately?
If you need cash quickly and can’t wait, there are several ways to get the cash almost instantly. Sell or swap the card to a friend or family member, this means you have the cash now. Go to a kiosk and exchange the card, you can get the cash immediately from the cashier or customer service desk. Transferring cash from PayPal, Venmo, or other cash apps to your bank account can be done instantly as well although fees may apply.
What is a Vanilla Visa Gift Card?
A Vanilla Visa gift card is a prepaid card that you load money on to. These gift cards can then be used to make purchases in-store or online. Can you still liquidate a Vanilla Visa gift card for cash? Yes, you can still exchange a Vanilla Visa gift card for cash. You are unable to transfer balances directly from the card to your bank account. However, some methods listed above can be used to convert the card into cash. This includes swapping for cash with a family member or selling the card to a friend.
One way to earn free Vanilla Visa gift cards is through Swagbucks. Complete various activities to earn points and exchange them for gift cards.
Gift Cards Into Cash – Final Thoughts
Visa and Mastercard gift cards can be used in a lot of ways either in-stores or online. If you have a gift card or more than one, then they can be redeemed anywhere that has the Visa or Mastercard logo.
Having lots of gift card balances might sound good but often converting to cash is better. Why? One reason is that you could lose the gift card balance if you haven’t used it in time. Having cash is preferable for many people as it can be used for anything you like. Cash can be used to pay debts, add to investment portfolios, or put into a savings account.
Another great reason to convert to cash is that it is easier to monitor your total wealth. This can be invaluable for people striving to live a frugal lifestyle as knowing exactly how much you have at all times is a big part of planning a healthier financial life.
When converting gift cards remember to check for any fees that may apply. If a fee is involved factor this into your decision when deciding how to liquidate Visa gift cards. When you have the time always go for the option that gives you the biggest return.
If one of the methods listed above stops working, don’t panic! You have 10 others that will allow you to convert the gift cards to cash.
In most cases, you can have the money quickly and be free to use it for whatever you need. Simply make a choice and get started!