Tips: How to get more money for your unwanted gift cards

Many of you got gift cards for the Christmas season, but did you get one that you really don't want?

Gift card exchange websites allow gift recipients to turn those cards into cold, hard cash.

Consumer Reports' Todd Marks checked four of them and found several websites that will buy your cards at less than face value and resell them.

Sometimes you'll get a lot less than they're worth at the store.

For example, a $100 Toys-R-Us gift card gets you $80.50 at, but shrinks to just $50 at

"We looked at 13 different store gift cards and found that gave us the most money back," Marks said. "But it still pays to shop around. Paybacks differ from site to site and card to card."

You'll generally get more cash back for gift cards from popular retailers.

With Walmart, a $100 gift card gets you around $90 at all the sites Consumer Reports checked.

Another option is to get cash right away at Coinstar Exchange kiosks, but you might not get as much money back as you would have on the websites. This $100 Walmart card gets only $71 here.

"Giving a bank gift card makes it easier for the person who gets it. Bank gift cards are easier to redeem than store gift cards," Marks said. "If they carry the logo of Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Discover, they can be redeemed at any merchant that accepts those cards."
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