People Redeeming Gift Cards For Cash

Did you buy someone a gift card for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa this year, assuming that cash was too impersonal? You figured you should at least think about where the recipient would like to shop, right? Wrong. It turns out they’d probably rather just have the money.

CNBC: “Consumers are obviously in dire straits economically and they’re going to cash a lot of those cards in for cash, not necessarily goods,” said George Whalin, a retail analyst with Retail Management Consultants.

There are more than 6,000 gift cards for sale on eBay

right now, up from about 4,000 around this time last year. And Plastic Jungle, a gift-card-resale site, estimates that traffic on its site is up about 30 per cent from last year.

Most consumers use these sites to get cash—though usually at less than the gift card’s face value—or to swap for other gift cards that can be used to buy food and other necessities. But others are approaching shoppers directly, gift cards in hand.

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