Tuesday 19 May 2009

You longed for a necklace. You got a gift card instead. Now what?

It's the epitome of gift-giving convenience: Buy a gift
card and the job's done.

No wonder sixty-six percent of the people surveyed in a
recent National Public Radio poll said they were gifting
wallet-size pieces of plastic. Not all potential recipients
are enthused. "Gift cards are the perfect way to say, `I
don't really know you or your tastes, and I don't care
enough to ask, so do your darn shopping on me,'" snapped a
disgruntled recipient on the Fast Food Maven blog.

You wanted a necklace. You got a gift certificate for On
the Border restaurant. As you gaze at it you're wondering
two things: On the border of what, exactly? And what made
the giver think of this when the nearest On the Border is
250 miles away?

Take heart. You have options.

For one, you can swap your card. Sites such as CardAvenue
and PlasticJungle make trading easy. There are safeguards
in place for the cautious.

Pay a bill with your card, and use the money you would have
paid the electric company to buy a piece of jewelry you
love. SwapAGift has a program called VersiCard BillPay.
You send them your unwanted card and an unpaid bill. They
pay a portion of the card's value, usually 65-70%, to your
creditor within 24 hours.

Get instant cash for your card. SwapAGift also has a
national network of walk-in locations that pay cash on the
spot. Check the SwapAGift's list of preferred merchants.
Even if you don't find your card there, email them and they
might buy it anyway.

Earn interest on the card. LeverageCard pays 1% APR on any
cards you register. You can use the interest to buy gift
cards for jewelry stores.

Feel like hanging onto the card for a while? It's always a
good idea to keep informed as your card could become
worthless in a bankruptcy. GiftCardBlogger has the latest

Finally, sell your card. eBay is a lively, well-known and
easy-to-use marketplace where cards often fetch for a high
percentage of face value. While there was once a problem
with theft rings offering stolen goods, eBay says that is
no longer the case. Use simple commonsense precautions such
as double-checking the card's balance before you ship and
sending it insured or with tracking. Be aware you will be
able to sell only one card at a time.

About the Author:

Charleen Larson, self-described entrepreneur at large, is a
writer and veteran eBay seller with interests in fine and
fashion jewelry. Ms. Larson is customer service manager
for JCEarrings, a company that catalogs popular Jody Coyote
jewelry designs past and present. Is Jody Coyote a real
person? Find out at: =>http://www.JCEarrings.com

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