February 24, 2024
Can you really take money off a gift card? This comprehensive guide explores the world of gift cards and cash redemption. Learn how to cash out your gift cards and the pros and cons of doing so. Find out your legal options and alternatives to redeeming cash from a gift card. Use your gift card wisely and get the most value out of it.


Gift cards are a popular choice for presents in today’s world, with the increasing ubiquity of shopping malls and online retailers that offer a wide range of products and services. Gift cards are essentially prepaid cards that can be used to purchase different items as an alternative to cash or traditional credit cards. However, one of the most commonly asked questions by gift card recipients is whether they can cash out the balance of their gift card and get money back in their pocket. So, can you take money off a gift card? Let’s explore the world of gift cards and cash redemption to find out.

Exploring the World of Gift Cards and Cash Redemption

The basic function of a gift card is to serve as a type of currency that can be used to purchase products and services offered by a specific retail store or an array of retailers. Gift cards can be bought in different denominations either as physical cards or eGift cards that are sent to an email address. While the primary purpose of gift cards is to make purchases, gift cards can also be used as a way for retailers to promote their brand and attract new customers, or as an alternative to refunds to resolve issues with a previous purchase.

Gift cards can come in various types, from closed loop gift cards, which can only be used at one specific retailer, to open-loop gift cards, which can be used anywhere that the issuer’s logo is accepted. Gift cards also have different expiry dates and fees, which can influence the redemption value of the gift card’s remaining balance.

Before attempting to redeem cash from a gift card, the first step is to check the balance to see how much is currently loaded on the card. The easiest and most straightforward way is to visit the retailer’s website and enter the gift card number and pin printed on the back of the card.

So, can you really take money off a gift card? The answer is yes, but the options available depends on the specific terms and conditions of the gift card issuer.

5 Simple Steps to Redeem Your Gift Card for Cash

If you are looking to cash out your gift card, the following steps outline the easiest and most cost-effective method:

  1. Sell your gift card to a gift card exchange website, such as Cardpool, Raise, or Giftcard Zen. These sites allow you to sell your gift cards for 50-90% of the card’s original value, depending on demand and supply.
  2. Enter the gift card information, including the value, brand name, and physical or eGift card status on the exchange website. You will get an instant quote for your gift card’s value.
  3. Accept the quote, and the exchange site will send you prepaid shipping labels to mail in your physical gift card, or have you enter the gift card code if it’s an eGift card.
  4. Once the gift card is verified, you will receive payment via direct deposit, PayPal, or check within a few days or hours, depending on the website and payment option you choose.
  5. Withdraw your funds from your online account and deposit them into your preferred financial institution.

Keep in mind that different sites have different fees and processing times, so it’s essential to compare and select the one that provides the best value for your gift card.

Gift Cards: A Comprehensive Guide to Knowing Your Rights

In the US, federal law mandates that gift cards must be valid for at least five years from the date of purchase or the most recent load of funds, whichever is later. In addition, retailers must disclose any fees or expiry dates on the gift card before it’s sold. There are additional laws regulating gift cards in different states, so it’s crucial to know your rights based on your state’s consumer protection laws.

Make sure to read the terms and conditions of your gift card to understand the redemption policies, such as whether you can redeem a partial balance and whether there are any fees involved.

Many popular brands also offer additional legal options for those struggling to use or redeem their gift cards, such as replacing lost or stolen gift cards or transferring balances to other gift cards of their choice.

Alternatives to Cashing Out Your Gift Cards

If cashing out your gift cards doesn’t seem like the best option for you, there are alternatives you can consider:

  • Trade gift cards with a friend or family member, especially if they frequent the retailer that issued your gift card.
  • Donate your gift card to a charity. Some non-profit organizations, such as Goodwill, accept gift cards as donations, which you can write off for tax purposes.
  • Use the gift card to make purchases for someone else, such as a gift for a birthday or wedding, or as a thank you to someone who has helped you out.

The Pros and Cons of Cashing in Your Gift Cards: Is it Worth it?

While cashing out your gift cards may seem like a straightforward and quick way to get money back, there are pros and cons to consider:

One advantage is that you can convert your gift card into cash that you can spend on anything you wish, without restrictions. However, you may end up with less money than the original gift card value, as most gift card exchange websites charge fees and take a percentage of the card’s value.

Another thing to consider is the convenience and ease of different methods of redemption. For example, selling your gift card online can be completed in just a few clicks, while transferring a portion of the balance to a new gift card may require you to call customer service or visit the physical store.

Lastly, it’s important to think about other ways you can use your gift card before opting to cash it out. Perhaps there is something you would like to buy from the issuer, or you can use it as a gift for another occasion. Maximizing the value of your gift card depends on your specific needs and priorities.


In conclusion, gift cards are popular and widely used in today’s society, but whether or not you can take money off a gift card depends on the brand’s policies and regulations, as well as your own personal preferences. By following the steps outlined above and knowing your rights as a consumer, you can make an informed decision on how to redeem your gift card and ensure that you are getting the most value out of it.

It’s always important to use gift cards wisely and to take advantage of the opportunities they provide for you if you want to get the most benefit out of your gift card.

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