How it works: Rather than exchange cards directly with members, Monster Gift Card acts as an escrow service and collects all gift cards from its members before sending them off to their buyers. They do this to verify the value of each card, which is great if you're not the trusting type. If your card isn't purchased by anyone after 90 days, Monster Gift Card will either send it back to you or elect to purchase it from you. Alternatively, you can opt to sell your card directly to Monster Gift Card from the start.
What we saw: Monster Gift Card offered us the most money for both our Best Buy and Macy's gift cards. The former fetched $39, whereas the latter went for $35 (the same price offered by Plastic Jungle). In addition to cash payments, Monster Gift Card also offers a points system, wherein you can sell your cards for points which can later be used as money to buy other gift cards. Personally, I'd steer clear from collecting any points and opt for the money option because if the company closes, you're bound to lose all of your collected points. Like GiftCardRescue.com, Monster Gift Card has stringent selling requirements and doesn't purchase cards under $10 or over $200.
Fees: You're responsible for shipping and Monster Gift Card requires that all correspondence be sent via certified mail with insurance and a tracking number. It's also worth noting that Monster Gift Card deducts 4.95% of the value of your sale in addition to a $1.49 listing fee from your total payment. (Fee is only applicable when selling to other members.)
How it works: Card Avenue is like eBay for gift cards letting you sell your unwanted cards via auctions. The amount of money you get for a card depends on the demand for your card and the type of discount (if any) you set. Likewise, the price you pay for a gift card is typically based upon the number of bidders in that auction.
What we saw: Before listing your card you must have a PayPal account and link it to your Card Avenue account. Once completed, you can begin auctioning your card(s). While some people may like the auction-like process behind Card Avenue, I wasn't particularly drawn to it. However, I did like that Card Avenue offers a guarantee on auctions of up to $150 via its Cardassure program. For me, this makes Card Avenue a more likely selling option than a site like Craigslist, which offers no such guarantee.
Fees: In addition to shipping, Card Avenue charges a 3.95% fee and $0.50 closing fee for each successful auction.
* Update: This site has since closed.
Ultimately, there's no knock-out site that will let you sell or trade your gift card for its full value. Instead, I'd recommend using a combination of these sites to see which one offers the higher payback. I'd start off with Plastic Jungle and GiftCardRescue.com to see what they'd offer for your card. Next, I'd compare that to Monster Gift Card, which charges one of the lowest commissions (4.95%).
Although its suffered from gift card scandals in the past, eBay is another viable option for selling gift cards if you don't mind the auction process. With these sites in your arsenal, you can rest assured you'll never have problems getting rid of unwanted gift cards again.
Louis Ramirez is dealnews' Features editor.