I was recently made aware of a pretty cool website by the name of Gift Card Granny. Below, I’m going to interview the owner of this comparison site, Luke Knowles, to provide some further insight into the benefits and drawbacks of buying and selling gift cards online (FinanceDad is not being compensated in any manner for this interview from GCG).
Before I get started, here is some background on Gift Card Granny; This website is simply a place to compare where to get the best deal on buying and selling gift cards, as there are multiple places you can do so (GiftCards.com, Plastic Jungle, Giftcard Madness, ABC Gift Cards, Card Pool and many more).
So what’s so cool about this site? You can really save a ton of money if you’re going to shop a particular store by buying a gift card through one of these sites. Instead of bouncing around to the different sites trying to determine where to get the best deal, you can look here and find it in seconds with their database. This site makes their money by referring you to a particular site to either buy or sell a card.
Now, it’s not a great or frugal idea to just go out and buy gift cards because they are deeply discounted, however, if you’re set on buying something from a particular store, it’s worth it to check and see if someone is selling a discounted gift card that could save you anywhere between 5-50% or maybe more. With regards to selling your gift cards, you can also find the best deal, in some cases you can get as much as 90% of the cards value.
Transcript of interview with Luke Knowles:
FinanceDad: Luke, let’s get down to it, I’ll forewarn you that I’m fairly critical and will try and ask tough questions. I love the concept, however, I see the downfall to this service in the waiting time it takes to either get a card you’ve purchased or get money for a card you’ve sold. Can you tell me about the process that takes place when a customer buys or sells their card, how long will it take to get a gift card if purchased or how long to get funds for a card sold? Can you describe the process, such as are actual cards mailed, or are the numbers emailed, etc.?
Luke Knowles: I agree that shipping times are one of the biggest drawbacks to shopping online, and can be an issue for shoppers that want their discount gift card now, or would like to receive their money right away. It usually takes 5 to 7 days to receive a gift card and 7 to 14 days to receive the money from a gift card that a shopper has sold to a discount gift card seller. When selling gift cards, people will need to fill out a form on the vendors website and then mail in their gift card. The vendor will then send the money to the gift card seller. Some gift card companies will let you receive your money in the form of an Amazon.com gift card which would allow people to get their money a lot faster.
FinanceDad: Although your company doesn’t directly buy or sell gift cards, you do promote them and make money by referring customers. How can consumers visiting your site be certain that there are not other places out there, that you’re intentionally excluding, because you do not have an affiliate relationship with them?
Luke Knowles: Yes, we do have an affiliate relationship with most of the gift card companies on our site. However, we do promote the buying of gift cards from merchant websites where we do not make an affiliate commission. We also promote and link to gift card companies that we do not have an affiliate relationship with on our sell gift cards page. Our goal is to give consumers the best shopping experience possible and sometimes this means we won’t make anything from the transaction.
FinanceDad: How much money would you estimate the middle men (GiftCards.com, Plastic Jungle, Giftcard Madness, ABC Gift Cards, Card Pool and many more) are getting from these transactions? For example, if I sell my old gift card worth $50 for $40 (80% of it’s value), how much do the other companies get as a result when they turn around and sell it?
Luke Knowles: This really depends on the gift card company and the type of card you have. Discount gift card prices vary based on supply and demand. Let’s look at a couple examples. Plastic Jungle is currently selling a Home Depot gift card valued at $100 for $93. If you want to sell a $100 Home Depot gift card to Plastic Jungle, they will pay you 84%. That’s a difference of $9 or 9% of the cards value that Plastic Jungle would make. GiftCards.com is selling a $100 Payless Shoes gift card for $85, while they would buy that same card for only $65 or 65% of it’s value. That’s a markup of 20%. I have found that Plastic Jungle pays the most for the majority of gift cards.
FinanceDad: What are the advantages of using your service? Why even use these services when there is Ebay and Craigslist?
Luke Knowles: Shoppers should use Gift Card Granny because it allows them to see all the gift cards from the major discount gift card sellers and eBay in one place. We do the comparison shopping for them so they don’t have to, which saves a lot of time. We are also the only website which shows you what percentage each company will give you for your unwanted gift cards.
FinanceDad: How often is your site updated and by what means?
Luke Knowles: We have arrangements with the major gift card sellers and eBay where they send us a data feed of their gift card inventory. The gift cards are updated every 5 minutes to one hour depending on the seller.
FinanceDad: Is there anything I’m missing about your site that you would like to add?
Luke Knowles: I believe that shoppers could save a lot of money on every day purchases by using discount gift cards and combining them with coupons. We just bought a new fridge for the office from Home Depot using a few discount gift cards and a $150 off coupon. This helped us to save more than 20% on the fridge. Discount Gift Cards + Coupons is the new way to Save!