Gift cards, that is. Unfortunately, millions of consumers are doing just that every year after receiving gift cards for stores where they rarely shop. Everyone knows that gift cards are the ideal solution for the holidays.

We all have that one friend who’s impossible to shop for because they seemingly have it all. Maybe it’s a relative whom you don’t know all that well. Sometimes you’re just too busy to hit the mall and pick out something unique and specific. The answer to all of these gift-giving problems is a gift card. It’s the perfect present that leaves the recipient with a multitude of choices as they can go pick out something you know they’ll love.

Most of us are pretty excited about getting a gift card for the holidays except for when it’s from a store in which we never shop. You can easily spend a lot of money at Amazon but when you’re limited to spending $50 with a retailer that doesn’t have a lot to offer your specific needs or interests, then a gift card doesn’t do much good as a valuable holiday gift, now does it?

So now what do you do? Walk in and try to find something, anything, that you can put your gift card towards just to get something out of it? That sounds like more of a hassle than it’s worth and, at the end of the day, you’re not even satisfied with what you purchased.

But you’ll get around to doing that some other time. You’ve got too much on your plate right now to start searching through a website or store shelves trying desperately to cash in a gift card that just doesn’t have much appeal. So you toss it into a drawer or slip it into one of the pockets of a wallet or purse and forget all about it in a few days. Even though this card is good as cash, you’re at a loss as to how you want to spend it.

That’s good money going to waste and the only party who benefits here is the business that sold the gift card. They made their money and now it’s up to you to get something of value. If you don’t, well it’s free profit for that retailer. Profit that adds up to around $65 billion dollars a year in gift card sales. Experts say that nearly 18% of those gift cards are going to end up unused and all but forgotten.

Retailers love it when gift cards go unused because that improves their bottom line. Why do you think they try to sell so many of them around the holiday season?

But there’s also the option to sell gift cards that you know you just won’t use. Selling your gift cards gives you the opportunity to get something you can always use – cold hard cash.

How to Sell Gift Cards

When that uncle you rarely see tries to do right by you and hands over a gift card to a store you’ve never heard of or walked into before, you smile and say thank you and move on. But after the festivities are over, you’re weighing your options as to what to do with this thing. Maybe you can find something worth buying, maybe you can re-gift it (but the more you think about it you start to wonder if that’s what your uncle might have done to you).

Perhaps the best choice is to trade it in for cash. Luckily there are a number of places where you can sell gift cards and get money to spend elsewhere on things you might actually want or need instead of something that’s just going to end up as clutter around the house.

Selling your unwanted gift cards is easy as there are a number of online resources willing to give you cash as an exchange. Just keep in mind that you will likely pay a fee with some of these gift card buyers but even a small percentage off the top is better than no cash at all. The best part is that most of these online buyers will take the full or partial balance on a gift card. So maybe you were able to find something from a certain retailer after all but you still have money to spend there and the chances of you going back to do so are entirely nil.

The exchange process is easy but there are a few caveats to keep in mind. For starters, it’s going to be much easier to sell gift cards to retailers that are popular and mainstream. Amazon, Best Buy, Apple, The Home Depot, these are cards that everyone can use and will probably get you the most money. Some gift card buyers may not accept cards from smaller boutiques and regional stores but it’s best to check the website for a list of the cards they are willing to purchase.

From there all you need to do is type in the name of the retailer on the gift card and the balance that is currently on it. Once you input that information you’ll receive a purchase offer in a dollar amount that reflects the value of the card. Remember, this is most definitely not going to equal the balance that is on your card, but hey, at least you’re getting something for basically nothing.

If you like the price that you’ve been offered then you accept the deal and follow the instructions provided as to how you should submit your card. The best part is you can get paid in a relatively brief period of time. Some of these online buyers can get you your money in as little as three days after the transaction has been closed.

So don’t get saddled with a gift card you can’t use. Trade it in for cash and go spend that on something you want or put it away for a rainy day. Cash in hand will always be more useful than a gift card you don’t want.