I’ve been reselling gift cards for over a year now and was able to profit over $3,000 in cash last year while generating a ton of credit card rewards to fuel our travel habit. My system since the beginning hasn’t changed too drastically and one website continues to be the best source of deals any given month, ebay. Thanks to the ability to stack several different savings options when buying gift cards and their frequent gift card sales, opportunities to make a small profit while generating credit card spend come around regularly. The best part is the entire process can be done from home and sometimes only takes a matter of minutes from purchase to sale. I’ll break down the whole process below on how to maximize your savings, find the best cards to resell, and if you stick around till the end I reveal a new tool I built to help with the whole process.
High Level Overview of the Process
- Find discounted gift cards on ebay
- Check the resale value of those gift cards
- Add up all the rebates you can stack while buying them
- See if your final purchase price is below the resell value
- If Yes, buy the gift card(s)
- Sell the gift cards to a gift card exchange once they arrive
1. Find Discounted Gift Cards on Ebay
Ebay actually makes this part fairly easy on us by having a Deals page dedicated to discounted gift cards:
I made the process even easier by creating a tool that can look for profitable gift card flips automatically and sort them:
Ebay Gift Card Arbitrage Opportunities (Beta)
While these pages don’t always list all of the deals available, it’s probably the best place to start. In addition to ebay’s own curated list, you can also check all of the major gift card dealer’s store fronts to get a complete picture of the new gift cards that are available:
- PayPal Digital Gifts (sells digital gift cards)
- Gift Card Mall
- SVM Gift Cards
2. Check The Resale Value
There are over a dozen gift card exchanges on the internet that will pay cash for gift cards. Luckily there are a couple existing tools that aggregate these exchanges to help determine the best one to sell to. Both Gift Card Granny and Gift Card Wiki allow you to search by brand and see what the prevailing purchase prices are for a wide range of gift cards:
The main limitation on both of these sites is that you have a search for the gift card brand before seeing the prices and the buy prices will occasionally go out of date. Always double check the payout before actually going through with the sale on the exchange’s website.
Another limitation is that the exchanges are listed only by payout and don’t take into account the quality of the exchange when it comes to timely payouts and minimal hassle. These are the gift card exchanges I’ve had a lot of success with and recommend:
- ABCGiftCards (aka CardCash, but the prices aren’t always the same)
- Gift Card Zen
3. Stack Rebates
There are 3 primary ways to get rebates on ebay purchases:
- Payment Method
(ebay gift cards)
- Shopping Portal
- Ebay Bucks
UPDATE 9/14/16: Ebay Gift Cards Are Now Restricted When Purchasing Other Gift Cards, More Details Can Be Found Here
The first one, payment method, can often make or break a gift card deal. A standard baseline would be a 2% cash back card if you are going for cash profit, or whatever you value the rewards of your favorite credit card at for regular spend (such as 1 UR point).
Ebay gift card opportunities can be very profitable if used as a part of meeting the minimum spend requirement on a credit card signup bonus, but only if you wouldn’t have been able to meet the spend normally. Otherwise you are essentially just getting the standard earning rate on whatever spend the arbitrage generates.
Once upon a time, ebay gift card usage was limited, but that restriction was recently removed which means it almost always makes sense to purchase with ebay gift cards. How to get ebay gift cards at a discount: Ebay will occasionally offer discounted gift cards directly at 3-8% off which can stack with whatever credit card you use to buy them. Gift card exchanges will sometimes offer ebay gift cards at several % off: GCW Ebay You can use the 5x/5% back bonus categories on your credit card(s) to buy ebay gift cards Office supply stores (Staples, Office Depot, etc.) sell ebay gift cards, so if you have a business card where they are a bonus category, this is a good way to maximize it. Grocery stores (Kroger, Safeway, etc.) sell ebay gift cards so any credit card with a grocery bonus probably makes sense here. If you can make use of grocery store fuel rewards as well, that can effectively add a 10%+ discount on top of the credit card rewards if maximized. If you have a Chase Ink+, buying digital gift cards directly from ebay or from Gyft have both been known to pay out the full 5x in Ultimate Rewards points which can be quite valuable.
In addition to ebay, other locations that sell ebay gift cards will offer discounts occasionally. Safeway, Gyft, and even RetailMeNot have all offered discount ebay gift cards in the past which were possible to stack with credit card rewards.
UPDATE 9/14/16: Most Shopping Portals No Longer Pay Out For Gift Card Purchases! Be Sure To Read The Fine Print (More Info Here)
The second part, Shopping Portals, is much simpler. My go-to source for checking the best ebay shopping portal payouts at any given time is Cashback Monitor:
1% back is always available from a bunch of different portals, and 2% isn’t too uncommon to see. In addition to cash back, several airline mile portals often offer 0.5-1 miles per dollar spent and even Chase offers ebay as a 1x option if you want to earn travel rewards instead of cashback.
Be sure to check the restrictions of whatever portal you choose (some cap the amount you can earn). While many specify you can’t receive portal rewards on ebay gift cards, none that I know of restrict buying other brands of gift cards when getting the rewards. Here are a few that I frequently use, have received payouts from, and recommend:
Those are all referral links, so if you haven’t signed up for them yet we should both get a bonus when you do!
The third rebate you can stack on each purchase (and possibly the easiest) is ebay bucks. If you join the Ebay Bucks program on your ebay account, ebay will give you 2% back on everything to be used on future ebay purchases. In addition to this free 2%, they will often increase the ebay bucks payout to 8% or even more! These occasions present very good opportunities to resell gift cards from ebay and are often the times I buy the most.
Ebay Bucks come with two important restrictions:
- Only $500 can be earned per calendar quarter
- Only $100 can be earned per purchase
Be sure to opt-in to promotional ebay emails to see when these increased ebay bucks events happen.
4. Calculate Your Buy Price and Compare to the Sell Price
Alright, this is the most important step in the entire process. You found some discount gift cards, checked their resell value, bought some discount ebay gift cards, and are ready to buy. Before you pull the trigger on the purchase, be sure to check whether or not you’ll make a profit on the deal!
The key is to compare your final buy price (price minus rebates) to the price you expect to sell the gift card(s) for to a gift card exchange.
Final buy price is equal to the listed purchase price minus the 3 different rebates, plus the shipping cost minus the payment method rebate (ebay bucks and shopping portals don’t pay out on the shipping cost if there is one).
Final Buy Price = Gift Card Price * (1 – PAYMENT_PCT – PORTAL_PCT – EBAY_BUCKS_PCT) + Shipping Price * (1 – PAYMENT_PCT)
Then we compare that final buy price to the amount we expect to sell the gift card for (Gift Card Value * Exchange Buy Percentage)
Let’s say we found a $100 Toys R Us gift card being sold at $85 on ebay with free shipping. The gift card is a physical card that will be shipped and we found that SaveYa is willing to buy physical Toys R Us gift cards for 80% of their face value. In other words, they would pay $80 for a $100 Toys R Us gift card.
Let’s also say ebay happens to be running a 8% ebay bucks deal, the best portal payout is 2%, and you obtained ebay gift cards at Staples with an Ink card at 5x UR back (we’ll just use 1 UR = 1 cent for this calculation).
First, let’s calculate the final buy price:
Final Buy Price = $85 * (1 – .05 – .02 – .08) + 0 * (1 – .05)
Final Buy Price = $85 * (0.85) + 0
Final Buy Price = $72.25
The final buy price of $72.25 is far less than the $80 we can sell the card for! This is probably a good opportunity to jump on.
You will initially lose $5 on the purchase, but will end up with $7.75 in profit after adding up the following rebates:
- $6.80 in Ebay Bucks for a future purchase (gift card or otherwise)
- $1.70 cash back from the 2% shopping portal
- 425 Chase UR Points (worth $4.25+)
If you’ve made it this far and read all the material above, you’ve pretty much got the basics for how taking advantage of gift card arbitrage opportunities on ebay works. After finding a profitable deal and making the purchase, you simply wait for the gift cards to arrive and either type the numbers into a gift card exchange (if they accept digital cards), or mail them in and wait for your payment in the form of a check or ACH transfer.
I go through phases of gift card reselling depending on the amount of free time I have available, but almost always try to take advantage of the increased ebay bucks opportunities and often max out the full $500 each quarter. At an increased 8% back (which tends to happen at least monthly), that’s $6,250 in credit card spend per quarter or $25,000 per year in which I make a cash profit while generating travel rewards.
If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them below.
Thanks For Reading
If you’re still reading at this point, I have a little treat for you. Automation is key when trying to find the best gift card arbitrage opportunities efficiently, and I’ve written numerous scripts to help me find deals and run the calculations above to speed up the process for myself. Recently I’ve been experimenting with porting these scripts into useful web-app-like pages that can be used by a large number of people.
I recently released the first beta version of one of these pages via Twitter and I encourage you to check it out. The goal of the page is to essentially complete the first 4 steps listed out above for you and point you to the best gift cards to purchase at any given time. The page updates automatically every 15 minutes (this may change) with the latest ebay gift card deals and buy prices of the big gift card exchanges, calculating the potential profit for you.
My goal for this page is to be the first stop for everyone whenever there is an increased ebay bucks deal and people want to know what the best cards to buy to take advantage of it are:
Ebay Gift Card Arbitrage Opportunities (Beta)
I have several ideas to expand the usefulness of the page, but I’d love to hear your feedback on what would make the page work best for you. Please let me know below and thanks for trying it out!
129 thoughts to “Ebay Gift Card Arbitrage Basics”
I’m curious, how did you pull the quantity remaining number onto your page of gift card deals? (If you want to get technical I’m well versed in programming in general, but don’t have much experience with web programming languages specifically).
Ebay has a really cool developer program and a ton of open APIs that you can query.
One of those APIs has the Qty remaining and sold info, but I have yet to find the max quantity purchase per person yet. I want to avoid scraping the ebay pages directly, but I’m not sure if I have a good alternate if I want to add the max info.
Oh that’s really cool.
(I take it this was part of the python scripts you were talking about earlier on Twitter)
While the max per person would be nice to have on that page, since it’s easy for the average person to figure that out, I think it’s fine without it. I like how you have how many remaining because it isn’t just readily available to the average person (whether through the API or what I do – I would query large numbers in the add to cart box and binary search until I got within like 50 or so and call it good).
Definitely a great idea and I have thought about it. Shouldn’t be too difficult to implement, but I have a couple other things I want to add first. Thanks!
Wow, what an awesome article! I’m always stacking deals for traveling (I’m a churner) but never did the full math on giftcard reselling.
My biggest hesitation is the hassle of sending your giftcard to the exchanger/reseller. How does this work? Can you do this with email giftcards? How long does it usually take to get the payment (I’m assuming the exchanger pays you upfront, rather than waiting until it sells)? Any pains in this part of the process?
For about half of the cards I buy, I can simply submit the gift card numbers online and never have to mail anything. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of shipping, you can stick to digital gift cards but that will limit your opportunity. For the cards I do have to mail, I simply rubber band them together in a standard envelope and pay for a 49 cent stamp. Each gift card exchange is different, but if you reach bulk seller status they will often even pay for shipping if it’s required.
As for speed of payment, it’s highly dependent on the exchange. SaveYa usually direct deposits the money into my bank account the next business day and has the quickest turnaround. Raise will take 3-4 business days to deposit the money in your account if you choose to list and sell your card there. The others I’ve used (ABC, Gift Card Zen, Monster) typically take a week or so to receive the check/deposit once you make the sale.
Raise is different in that it’s a marketplace where you choose the price and list cards, while most other exchanges will pay you right away and sell the card on their own time. Which to use depends on the payout and your ability to float cash.
Awesome thanks. This may be the the best method to MS while I’m abroad the next few months (using digital GCs).
I’m guessing you were talking about gift cards sold electronically to ABC Gift Cards. I mail most of my gift cards to ABC (I would use Saveya but for some reason I always get an error trying to sell to them and their incompetent support can’t seem to fix the issue) and when you mail them, you can get paid via Paypal. I usually get paid within one or two business days of them treceiving the gift cards.
Yeah, they require a check payment for digital gift card sales which takes a little bit of time to reach. Why do you choose PayPal over direct deposit though? Isn’t there a fee?
When I mail cards to ABC, I use the ACH option which usually pays out in a couple business days as you mentioned.
They cover the fee for Paypal payments–they add 3% or w/e it is to the payment value*.
*In reality, they add just slightly less than what they should to cover your fee – but we’re talking like up to $1 on a $1400 payment.
Although now that I think about it, I’m not sure why I kept using paypal after I realized they don’t quite cover the fee. Maybe that wasn’t an option when I started and I never noticed when they started doing that? Or maybe I just didn’t notice it in the first place. And using ACH deposit would save me the day or two it takes to transfer form Paypal to my bank.
I’ll give ACH deposit a try on my next sell order (and I bought a TON of gc’s this round). Not that I expect trouble with it or anything, but there’s still a difference between someone telling you something works and affirming for yourself it does ;).
For full disclosure, it takes a lot longer than a week to receive checks from Gift Card Zen — count on three weeks. While there’s probably a fraud prevention aspect, I suspect taking this long is a working capital consideration for them.
ABC will direct deposit for cards you’ve physically mailed, or will send a check (takes a week as you say) for electronically submitted cards — they want to make you wait a bit one way or the other, likely fraud prevention.
I haven’t sold to GCZ for a few months, so maybe they’ve slowed down a bit. Thanks for the info.
I think you’re right about ABC’s delay being a fraud mechanism which is fine with me. Better that they can continue to run a solid business than get my payment out slightly earlier.
I’ve been reselling gift cards for about a year as well and have bulk seller status with SaveYa. They seem to be the fastest to payout via ACH and the customer service at least for bulk sellers seems very good. The only thing I dislike about SaveYa and physical gift cards is that the individual card numbers need to be entered. Entering the information can be a pain but the biggest issue is I can’t lock in the selling rate today on physical cards. I have to wait for the gift cards to arrive to enter the information into SaveYa which means the rates may have changed. Do you have any ideas how to get around this issue other than selling physical cards to other firms other than SaveYa.
I don’t try to lock in rates ahead of time when a card needs to be shipped to me, but it is possible with certain exchanges. I’m guessing this very reason is why SaveYa doesn’t want to allow you to lock in sales ahead of time as demand/supply fluctuates so frequently (especially with sales).
I don’t know of a way around SaveYa’s restriction of having to enter the gift card numbers.
Thanks for the information Noah. I figure the individual entering of gift cards is a part of SaveYa’s business model for the reason you stated.
Does bulk seller status require $1000/mo in selling?
SaveYa changes their requirements every so often and it’s a completely manual process so your experience will vary. Their bulk seller page does currently specify “Have over $1000 in gift cards to sell?”, but I think that’s just a starting point:
Best of luck if you apply.
Thanks just did. Btw have you looked at the eBay exchange program on ABC Gift Cards? You get a slightly higher exchange rate (usually 2.5% higher) in the form of an ebay GC. The math/logistics get trickier but definitely worth it if you are trying to maximize.
The math basically comes down to whether the increased payout % is higher than the discount/value you get from buying ebay gift cards yourself. It’d have to be above 5% for me to consider it, at least while I have 5x Ink+ spending limit to spare.
Noah, thanks for this information, awesome post and tool!
Quick question, last week I wanted to purchase Staples gift cards from Paypal Digital Gifts and when I went to checkout, I received an error message. Specifically, the error I got on ebay was: Error Codes: 70245 70358 TRANSACTION_REFUSED. It has been almost a week now and I’m still getting the same error message. Therefore, I wanted to know if you or someone you know has encountered the same issue and how I can resolve it? Alternatively, any advice on what to do? Calls to Ebay and Paypal have been unsuccessful thus far. I only encounter the problem with Paypal Digital Gifts.
I’ve had the same problem myself and it seems to clear itself up every so often, let me purchase a card, them re-appears right after. I’m guessing it has to do with the newer PPDG purchase limits that seem to apply across all of their cards.
DoC talked about it a bit here, but it seems to just error out now instead of telling you you’ve reached a limit:
What did PayPal say about the problem when you called them?
Ebay told me I should use a different site (e.g. the Canadian or Australian versions of ebay), however, those give me the same error. I tried these “experiments” while on the phone with ebay and it still gave me the same error message. The agent said he can’t figure out the issue since everything looks ok on his end.
Paypal was even less helpful. They told me that the seller flagged my account and that there is nothing they can do about it. They said that I should be able to purchase again from the seller in 24-48 hours. Obviously, that has not happened since it’s been almost a week and still no resolution to the issue.
Sounds like a pretty standard ebay/PayPal CS experience. Thanks for sharing
I wish PayPal Digital Gifts was just more upfront with their limits. If they must limit, then fine, but explain it and don’t simply error out when someone tries to check out. Otherwise the experience is pretty frustrating as an end user when you don’t know until you click checkout whether or not it will work.
I had this as well. i called ebay, spoke to a few different people. it eventually went through after a couple hours, though I don’t know if they actually did anything on their end except to retry.
Concur — the ebay/paypal garbage is infuriating…. nothing “standard” though about it. I call it unacceptable and resent it to no end. (even as I’ll keep trying & b&g all the while with all the miserable uncertainty) ebay and esp. paypal deserve to be trashed regularly over this chaos. Jeers to those bloggers sugar-coating it.
So is this limit a real obstacle to giftcard reselling or do you find that there are always enough other deals through other sellers? I’ve also never been able to buy more than $100 at a time without paypal hating me – really annoying. Are you able to do large volumes/amounts in one payment?
Unfortunately there are no 5x stores conveniently near me to buy eBay GCs so I’ve been stocking up via PPDG which is really hurting my limits. I’ll have to move to staples.com, though I heard that can take a few days to get your email code.
The PPDG problems are definitely a limitation, but certainly doesn’t stop me from taking advantage of all the other opportunities. I’ve had a ton of problems in the past couple weeks, but it seems to go in waves where they’ll let me buy a lot and times when they won’t let me buy any. No pattern to my knowledge.
You’re using an Ink+ card? Just buy ebay gift cards on Gyft and you’ll get the 5x UR.
Thanks, I totally forgot about Gyft being 5x! I’ve got the Ink.
Are there any shopping portals to use for Gyft?
How do you get these companies to accept the electronic gift cards? So far I have tried three times with ABC Gift Cards and twice with SaveYa and all five times they denied them. When I call in they tell me if the value of the gift card is $100 or higher they will always be denied because of the high likelihood of fraud.
Ouch, would love to see a response to this since I’m planning on only doing egiftcards while traveling.
I’ve never had any problem selling digital gift cards to either ABC or SaveYa, but I know they frequently update their fraud detection methods. Digital gift cards are much riskier for them and ABC currently only supports mailing physical checks if you choose to sell them digital cards. I’ve been selling both physical and digital cards to SaveYa for a while and just started selling digitally to ABC (but I have mailed them cards before), so my accounts are established which lowers their risk compared to a brand new account.
It might be possible to mail them a few physical cards first to establish yourself as a legitimate seller which may allow the digital sales to go through, but there’s no guarantee. If you plan to do significant volume, you can attempt to become a bulk seller which should remove some restrictions, but I’ve heard it’s become more difficult to reach bulk seller status in the past year.
I’ve had a bunch of physical card transactions with them that went well, so I guess they are just getting more strict. SaveYa also denied my bulk seller application (they don’t tell you why).
Thanks for reading!
Noah, concur with the observations that you’ve put together a terrific, helpful post, with fun tool to test.
Share though the hesitation above about shipments and reliability. Until last month, my first light year foray into gc was mostly electronic or by Kroger, and reselling was entirely via Raise (and they gave me bulk seller rates — even while just getting going)
Last month, I did a test purchase of 6 of the SVM gas gift cards …. and I’m really alarmed that half of them are now a week overdue. Filed the request for response from SVM via ebay, and 3 days later, no response. Really alarms me that these gas cards are apparently shipped without pins, and via un-tracked, uninsured US Postal Service. Really? (Are we all that trusting? I noticed also via the SVM ratings page that among the small percentage of unhappy customers, a LOT of them report similar experiences with NOT receiving their orders…. what a nightmare. What am I missing?)
Yet as you note, there are times when reselling only via one outlet (Raise in my case) is limiting, like selling Chevron cards. For them, saveya seems much more generous…. But now I see they have a steep initial requirement to get their bulk seller rates….. and I am loathe to pay (the much hated) paypal 2.9+% for the privilege, nor do I want to wait for snail mailing (and high risk) of my checks. (I live in a rural part of vuhGINyah — where mail theft/mis-delivery is tooo common) Oh, and I’m still wondering if I can sell these gas (etc) g.cards, even if they don’t have pins….?
Any tips/clarifications, much appreciated.
self correction, re. saveya:
for them, I was interested in betting “bulk seller” status to get the instant/one day ACH payments without fees. (Noah, in your experience, how hard are they on the 4k per month selling threshhold? If real, that’s too steep for me, and I’m likely to avoid saveya precisely because I’d much chafe at having to do both mailing in of the cards and then mailing wait for payments. (and I avoid paypal whenever and wherever…. as the recent ebay ppdg chaos reminds….)
Sorry to hear you’ve had trouble receiving the shipments. If mail delivery isn’t reliable, would getting a PO Box be an option for you? If you’re able to get a hold of SVM’s customer service, they may be able to cancel the gift cards and reissue them, but you’d most likely be out of luck if they’ve already been drained.
It is true that most physical cards are shipped via uninsured USPS, but it doesn’t really matter how they ship them because you can’t insure gift cards:
Using a single exchange will definitely limit the rates you receive on certain cards and selling physical cards like gas and restaurant on Raise usually isn’t the best payout. SaveYa doesn’t vary the rates much for bulk sellers (there’s a small difference on a few brands) and they do offer a free ACH payout option if you don’t want to receive a check.
And yes, you can sell gas gift cards (and many others) even if they are issued without a PIN.
Many thanks, Noah for the helpful (and quick) reply!
To your question, nope, po boxes are not an option — nearest PO is 7 miles — the wrong direction.
Moreover, now you have me really alarmed. I understand from ebay that my purchase is protected. (and I got the google whatever on top of that)….. But now you seem to be suggesting that if the card were directed to the wrong address (and the person opening the envelope sees that “they’re live and ready to use” — as my chevron card says), then this isn’t just “out of luck,” this is an utterly absurd way to do business!!!
So is my shipment guaranteed by ebay or not? And if not (and my cards get misdirected and drained), then why the hell is anybody recommending that we do business in such an incredibly reckless manner?? (sorry to take it out of you — esp. after such a fine post, but I’m steamed)
alas, I have a very bad feeling that some judge somewhere would say, well, can you “prove” that you didn’t get your cards…. ??? (and therefore let svm/ebay/google all off the hook)
Yes, you should be protected by ebay/PayPal purchase protection. I’d try to contact SVM first before filing a ‘Shipment Not Received’ through ebay, but that’s just a personal preference.
If you can think of a better system for delivering physical gift cards, I’m sure all of the gift card sellers would love to hear about it. Until then, I think we’re stuck with USPS (which has been reliable for me, but I don’t doubt the quality varies by location).
Thanks again Noah for this post and your replies. Before chiming in here, I did put in that ebay “shipment not received” inquiry in via ebay/paypal — last Friday…. I see I’m directed to wait a week (til day after tomorrow), before appealing further. (and svm still hasn’t responded) I didn’t even know how to contact SVM first. (I found a web site for them and when I called there, I was actually told they don’t handle the cards bought via the ebay market — at first the rep. tried to tell me that they weren’t even sold by SVM…. but then later in the chat, she told me she’d pass along my info to the ebay/SVM side of things….. )
Do you know of a different way we can contact SVM effectively, about purchased made via ebay? (email, phone # — again, this whole process has me very nervous that I’m about to be hung out to dry for $270 loss….)
As for shipping and USPS, curiously, if you buy direct from SVM (from their web site or by phone), if the purchase is above a certain modest level, they don’t even use USPS. (instead they go with fed ex or UPS) USPS though I’d thought does have registered forms of tracking first class deliveries… this very basic, untracked first class mailing of “live cards” (easily stolen if misdirected) is just….. much too vulnerable for such valuable contents. I can’t believe no one has thought of this….
Regarding the beta tool, I think it would be useful if you could override the assumed values of 2% portal and 2% ebay bucks. I think it would be fairly simple to just make those user controlled variables on the page so that a visitor could input what they wanted there, with 2% as the default value. For instance, I could enter 10% ebay bucks (they have a promotion right now for this right now as a matter of fact) and have the page recalculate the new profit values.
Thanks for this. I’m giving it a try this week.
Thanks for checking it out, being able to customize the assumptions is definitely on the list of features I plan to add soon.
I did update the page manually to 10% ebay bucks earlier today if that helps in the mean time.
This question has been asked before by someone else but I don’t see an answer. So I will ask it again: Saveya asks for a pin for all the gas cards but at least the Chevron ones I got don’t have a pin. So how is it possible to sell these cards on Saveya?
Just leave the PIN field blank for those cards.
Awesome tool, Noah! And the new customizable tweaks are great too.
One suggestion – can you add the ability to filter by GC seller? Sometimes I specifically want PPDG, and other times (lately…) I want to avoid them at all costs…
Thanks for checking it out!
I’ve added filtering by seller to the future feature list, that will be useful for people that can only buy digital cards as well. Thanks for the suggestion.
Noah, are you doubling up on gift card deals by using Ebay accounts for both you and your wife? I would like to take advantage of the such opportunities but I have heard of Ebay banning accounts for this, eg. http://milestomemories.boardingarea.com/ebay-site-interference-policy-warning/
Also wondering if it is safe to activate Ebay Bucks on both mine and my wife’s accounts. Again have heard stories of Ebay banning people for this.
I am not doing either of those things for the reasons you mentioned. I’ve also heard ebay is very strict on people trying to avoid the purchase limits.
I’m not sure about simply activating the ebay bucks on both accounts, but if you’re not buying items with max purchase limits it doesn’t seem like it would be a problem. YMMV as always though.
My wife and nearly maxed out ebay bucks each this quarter, no problem so far but we haven’t received the bucks certificates yet and this is the first quarter doing this…so TBD. I had not read such stories before, that would be really unfortunate. It does not seem quite right if they would ban someone for this – we are two separate real persons and only buying the allowed amount on each individual account. I don’t know if it will even help, but I primarily do my purchases at work and my wife does hers at home, but I haven’t stuck strictly to that – will plan to be more diligent about that practice going forward.
Sorry for plastering all over the comment section, really appreciate you taking the time to answer all of our questions. Another one here: what about the giftcards on eBay that give a bonus $ code instead of a discount. Is that $ code cashback or a new code that’s another giftcard equivalent? Can you resell these with these tricky logistics (is it like selling 2 giftcards)? Thanks
Most of the time, these “Bonuses” are simply added to the value of the single gift card you are ordering.
For example, I’ve purchased Gamestop gift cards in the past where the deal read something like “Buy $50 and get a Free $10 Bonus Code”, but they really just sent a single $60 gift card. Makes it easier that way because some gc exchanges have a minimum card value to sell which might complicate selling multiple cards.
I’m not 100% sure all the bonuses have worked this way or will into the future, so I’d read through the listing details to be sure. Watch out for “bonuses” that expire after some time period. I haven’t seen them on ebay before, but lots of brands do this around the holiday season where the bonus part of the gift card expires and therefore can’t be resold. Always read the fine print if you can!
Thanks, very interesting. I’ll hijack this reply as well to ask if you’ve had any luck with cashback tracking on selling. According to DoC, Raise and Saveya will give 1-2% cashback when listing a GC. I’m testing today – it would great to add that as a field in your tool (thanks for adding field inputs btw, such a great tool).
Just add the portal cashback rate it to whatever value you put in the payments field (though this would be inaccurate if you’re buying a physical gc that’s not on sale and hence has shipping fees, as you don’t earn shopping portal rewards on shipping. But you’d just subtract portal cashback*shipping fee from your final profit.
Ignore what I just said. I misread.
I don’t think that it would make sense for him to add that because the 1-2% would be on the sale price. Not the buy price.
Raise caps out pretty quickly and I haven’t had any luck getting SaveYa to track (possibly because I’m a bulk seller?), so I’m going to leave this type of bonus out for now.
As FIBY mentioned, you can sort of replicate the result by adding some extra % to one of the inputs but it won’t be completely accurate. Thanks for the suggestion
Great write-up thanks! So if you purchase physical giftcards on eBay today, for instance, and the exchange rate on Abc is 89%, can I submit that now, wait for the cards to get to me and then ship them to the exchange? Or should I wait until I receive them? and the risk of a lower future exchange rate has to be sucked up…
Rates you can sell at fluctuating are simply one of the risks to reselling gift cards. This is why I tend to avoid very low margin cards to leave myself a little buffer. Since I’ve been doing this for over a year now, I have a pretty good feel for which direction the markets are going for most brands, but different sales/deals can always cause something unexpected to happen.
How do you deal with market fluctuation with physical cards? The time you receive the cards, the market will be flooded with the same type of cards. Do you keep track of historical values/market movement?
Giftcardwiki does provide some history on sell rates and total inventory in the marketplace.
I can only speak to my experience, but the gift card resellers I use (Cardpool and ABC GiftCards/Cardcash) do not let you lock in the rate without actually providing gift card numbers (so you have to have the cards in your possession before you can do so).
The fluctuating value of gift cards is just a risk you take. The risk is lower on some gift cards, particularly gas gift cards. You need to decide for yourself if the profit margin under the current sell price is worth the risk of that the sell price might go down by the time you receive the cards.
I think I got banned on SaveYa after applying for bulk status. Now my account is restricted to selling them
Gift cards. Any recommendations getting the account back to normal without bulk status. Their customer service have not been helpful
This is a really awesome overview – thanks!
Total noob question – when buying cards directly from Ebay with an Ink + to earn the 5X, do you have to pay with the Ink+ directly, or does connecting the Ink+ to your PalPal account and using that to make the purchase work as well?
It’s ok if you use your connected paypal account. But be careful, not all sellers earn 5x.
Only gift cards purchased from paypal_digital_gifts will pay out the 5x on the Ink+ to my knowledge and you must use PayPal to purchase from them.
Other sellers won’t pay out directly, but you can purchase ebay gift cards from PDG first (if they let you) and then effectively get 5x on everything on ebay.
Thank you Noah for putting this together !
I totally understand why, but your tool doesn’t calculate the profit of the $200 Hyatt + $25 gas gc properly (it uses the Hyatt sell rate for both the Hyatt and gas gcs).
Thanks, I’m aware of this current bug. Given the low number of these type of “combo” gift card deals, I probably won’t fix it in the immediate future. If it becomes a larger impact I may.
Can you use previous ebay bucks earned to purchase new gift cards, no restrictions? I.e. can you roll?
Ebay Bucks can be used on anything, but be sure to read up on the timelines for earning/using them.
This is a great little tool you’ve got here. When I click on the header fields it does not sort the list for me. Can you add some radio boxes to filter by electronic/physical type to sell back? And maybe to only show profitable vs. unprofitable deals? Great work so far! I subscribed to your blog too.
I have some filters in mind that others have suggested and can possibly add the ones you mentioned at the same time. Look out for this as a future improvement!
Thanks for reading!
As long as you can implement the sorting I’ll be a happy camper 🙂
May I ask what column(s) you actually want to sort? Assuming I add filters for physical/digital, different seller, etc, I’m not sure I see the benefit in actually sorting them, but maybe I’m missing something.
The 5 columns on the right. It keeps my OCD happy 😉
Any possibility to share the code? We can give a hand to make it better 😉
I think I’ll keep the python code closed-source for now. Shouldn’t be hard to find the jquery part if you’re really curious though…
One of the ways I consistently get discount eBay cards is to shop through Target. If you buy Target gift cards at a ~5% discount at Raise or Cardpool (also grabbing CC rewards), you can get another 5% off by using a Target RedCard – you can get the 5% RedCard discount while using GCs if you use the website, but not in store.
Hey, this is great! Any chance you could put this on github?
I’m going to keep it closed-source for now.
I wanted to sell some Conoco Gas gift cards to SaveYa because I thought I wouldn’t have to mail the physical cards in, but it turns out I still have to mail them in.
Are they requiring me to mail them in because I’m a new seller, or will I always have to mail them in?
Do I have any reason to be concerned that my cards might get lost in the mail and I’ll be out the money on the cards?
You will always have to mail in gas gift cards (and most restaurants) because the person who eventually buys them to use can’t just type a pin in at the gas pump.
There is always a risk when mailing items, but it’s fairly minimal. I talk a bit more about your options here:
Have you lost any gift cards through the mail? Thanks for the reply, I’m going to read that link right now!
I’ve shipped gift cards ~45 times in standard envelopes via USPS and another ~20 times via FedEx (thanks SaveYa) in the past year or so and nothing has been lost yet. Hopefully my perfect streak keeps up!
SaveYa provides free FedEx shipping labels? Is there a minimum amount of gift cards you have to sell to them in order to get that?
Yes, but only for bulk sellers and it requires a minimum amount of gift card value as well.
Out of curiosity, how do you get comfortable sending via regular USPS, as opposed to getting tracking? What would your recourse be if an envelope disappeared?
Tracking might make you feel better, but it won’t help your success rate in the mail arriving successfully and simply adds cost. If a tracked item gets lost, you’re screwed the same way if a non-tracked shipment gets lost because you can’t insure gift cards through regular mail. USPS is far more reliable than a lot of people give them credit for.
If an envelope disappeared, I’d do what I could with the gift card #/PIN that I recorded before mailing but worst case I would just be out the money. It’s a risk you have to take if you choose to ship physical gift cards.
I guess that’s fair enough – I haven’t been recording the full numbers/PINs, partially out of laziness and partially for fear of my files getting compromised at some point down the line, but I guess maybe I should be doing that…
Separate question – if a gift card is valid at more than one chain (eg Kmart/Sears), are the gift card exchanges fine with you listing under the highest offer, or do you need to list under the brand that’s most prominently displayed?
Sears/Kmart GC numbers/PINs are indistinguishable.
True, but how about for other examples where you have to mail in the physical card, so it’s clear which brand the card is ‘really’ for, even though it can be used at any of several?
I’ve mailed in Toys R Us gift cards that I sold as Babies R Us and there was no problem. YMMV depending on the brand and exchange though, worst case they either return them or give the the rate for the actual brand marked on the card.
One note is that the exchanges seem to be getting smarter and have been pricing brands that are interchangeable the same.
I would highly recommend you start recording those gift card numbers. All of the gift cards I’ve handled that were issued by SVM (which includes Exxon, Sunoco, Chevron, and Phillips 66 gc’s among others) include the following language:
To report a lost, stolen, or damaged card, call . Remaining value may be replaced on a lost, stolen, or damaged card only if the account number and remaining value on the card can be verified.
You can get a lost gc reissued, but you need the gc number! (And remaining balance, but if you’re in the reselling business you know that already).
To play devil’s advocate, if an envelope got lost in the mail, couldn’t the exchange just provide you with the numbers/PINs, seeing as you’ll have entered them to place the sell order?
Probably, but I’d rather not rely on the exchange to provide me that information.
I already type the gift card numbers to check the balance on the cards before I sell them, so I might as well as save the numbers.
If you’re mailing a physical card in I think common sense should prevail.
In regards to taxes, where will the profits from gift card reselling go to? Schedule C? I have a sole proprietorship for a separate business of mine.
I’m not a tax expert, but in my own case I chose to treat my gift card reselling as a business and filled out a Schedule C for it. As the profit is the gross income minus your cost basis, I don’t think it’s legal to simply report it as “Other Income” on the standard 1040. I’d recommend consulting an expert if you’re unsure.
Okay, I definitely will, thank you.
Also, have you considered shipping out your gift cards in batches of say $300 worth of gift cards per envelope to try and lower the risk of losing all your cards, or do you just not worry about it?
I usually don’t ship more than $500 at a time, so I haven’t worried about it.
Noah, have you ever traded your gift cards in at ABCgiftcards for Ebay eGift cards instead of cash? I’m looking at these Gas cards and the offer from ABC is $87 ACH/cash or $91 eBay eGift card. Just wondering what your take on that is. It seems like it would make sense if you plan on buying and selling more gift cards in the future on Ebay. Am I missing something?
The math basically comes down to whether the increased payout % is higher than the discount/value you get from buying ebay gift cards yourself. It’d have to be above 5% for me to consider it, at least while I have 5x Ink+ spending limit to spare.
In your example, it’s around a 4.6% increase to the payout to take it in ebay gift cards. Definitely not worth it if you have a way to get ebay gift cards for 5% off or better (including cc rewards). Keep in mind a 4.6% increase in payout is worth less than buying gift cards at 4.6% off as well.
Gift card X can be sold for $100 cash or $105 in ebay credit.
You want to buy Gift Card Y from ebay for $105.
If you take the $100 cash and purchase an ebay gift card at 5% off (or rebated), you’ll only pay $99.75! (105 * .95)
That’s an extra profit of a quarter for taking the cash over the 5% ebay gift card incentive.
Given the ease of getting ebay gift cards for 5% off (or better!) through credit card bonuses, other exchanges, and simply ebay sales, it won’t make sense for most people to exchange their cards for ebay credit instead of cash. Not to mention that anyone would be better served with cash over ebay gift cards in general, you never know if they’ll implement new caps on usage or change the ease of getting gift cards with portal and ebay bucks, etc.
Now if you don’t have a way to get ebay gift cards for ~4% off or better, then it could make sense if your goal was to maximize profit.
Wow, thank you for that very comprehensive comment. That makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good way to buy Ebay gift cards for 5% off right now. And according to Giftcardgranny they’re only being sold for 1.5% off.
As of now, clicking on your ebay links brings me to a page from which I still need to click ‘View Details’ in order to get to the typical item page where I can add a specific quantity to my cart. Any chance you could instead point your links to the detail page to save readers a step? Awesome tool, once again – this is a cherry-on-top request!
Thanks for the feedback, I was also a little annoyed with that feature and tried to work around it to get a direct link to the full details page. Unfortunately, since I’m reliant on the links coming directly from the ebay APIs, I haven’t found a way to get the full details page links yet.
Investigating further is definitely on the to-do list, thanks again.
I got some Speedway Gas cards for the first time, and I noticed that there’s a scratch-off layer on the back of the gift card to reveal the Pin. Should I scratch it off and then write down the pin and input it into ABCGiftCards(I’m selling it to them) transaction page or should I just leave the Pin unscratched and leave the Pin field blank? Any experience with this?
I’ve always scratched them off to verify the balance and type into the exchange I’m selling to before mailing them in. Confirm with the exchange you’re selling to if you want to be extra safe.
Noah, ABC Gift Cards sent me an e-mail asking for a copy of the front and back of my driver’s license to complete my sell transaction and for faster processing of future orders. Did you also have to do this? I enjoy selling to them, so is this a necessary thing to do? Will other gift card resellers ask for the same?
Yes, this is normal. I sent in my license, but because CO is stingy and doesn’t send you a new license when you update your address I also had to send in a utility statement with my name and address matching.
They gave me the option to receive payment through Paypal instead. Do you know if Paypal will charge me a fee?
I’m not sure, I always choose the mailed check option. If they could ACH deposit into my bank account I’d be a happy clam.
Update: Paypal charged me a fee, but ABC paid for most of it (about 95%). I’ll probably select the check option in the future so I can get the full amount.
Had another suggestion – could you add a multi-select filter to choose which GC exchanges are included? For instance, ABC’s service level has declined in my recent experience and not sure I want to do business with them anymore, so it would be useful to exclude them and see what the next best rate is
Once I add more GC exchanges, I think this would be a good addition. Thanks for the suggestion!
I have some Chili’s gift cards, but they could also be used at other restaurants like Maggiano’s. SaveYa is currently buying Chili’s gift cards for 75% but Maggiano’s at 80.50%. Can I sell these as Maggiano gift cards? Have you or anyone else ever encountered this situation before?
I’ve personally never had any problem selling gift cards which specify one brand, but work at multiple brands as the non-displayed brand. I’ve sold Banana Republic as Gap, Toys R Us as Babies R Us, Olive Garden as Red Lobster, etc.
While I haven’t directly done Chili’s as Maggiano’s, as long as the back of the card mentions it you should be fine. As always though YMMV and it might be worth contacting the exchange ahead of time if you’re worried about it not going through.
When they ask you to mail-in a gift card, does it have to be a plastic gift card, or can it be a digitally printed out paper gift card?
Typically means you need the physical plastic card, but there may be exceptions depending on the brand. I wouldn’t try sending in a printout of a gift card unless you ran it by the exchange first.
The main reason for requiring physical cards is because there either isn’t a way to use them digitally or the brand doesn’t allow paper/digital cards/codes to be used in store.
What’s the new strategy now that eBay is essentially out of the picture. Or at least that’s what I think??
I’m looking at maximizing INk without the use of staples
There may still be some possible ebay flips despite all of the negative changes, specifically with discounted digital cards that will code as 5x via the Ink, but margins will be thinner.
I don’t usually try to maximize bonus categories, especially something like the $50k with the Ink+, but rather I just grab profitable opportunities when they are available. At the moment, I don’t know of any other than the traditional MS with Visa gift cards from Staples and similar.
Is there a video you have showing how all of this works?
Sorry Chris, no videos from me at this time.
Most of the original post is out of date given the changes to ebay’s terms in the past year. More info can be found here:
It’s still possible to flip gift cards from ebay for points and profit, but certainly isn’t as lucrative and easy as it once was.
In other words, sonny boy. They caught on to you.
Yup, me and everybody else that was stacking discounts and buying the max number of specific gift card deals.
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