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Turn Gift Cards Into Cash

In order to get the best price, I would look to shop your cards around though a website like GiftCardGranny.com, which shows consumers different card payouts across the industry. The other top exchanges on the market currently are ABC Gift Cards, GiftCards.com, and Junkcard.

The other method would be selling them on eBay (EBAY), where I have seen popular cards go for almost face value when shipping expense is included. Popular cards like those from Apple (AAPL) or McDonalds (MCD) can fetch up to 95 cents on the dollar. Search past eBay listings for your merchant's gift cards to get a good idea of value. Auction prices tend to fall in line with the secondary selling prices offered on the gift card exchanges.

Following the sale, eBay will take a small percentage fee of up to 10% depending on the listing type. These days listing items is free so you really just need to worry about paying fees if the card sells.

If the first two options just don't seem satisfying, consider donating your unwanted cards. There are a handful of smaller donation companies online where the balance of your cards can be donated to charity. I stumbled upon giftcardgiver.com, which takes in unwanted cards and distributes them to organizations and people in need. Basic cards such as those from Walmart (WMT) or Target (TGT) can be very helpful for families in need of a little bit of everything.

Moreover, I bet you could easily find an organization in your neighborhood such as the local food bank itching for your cards. So, if you're looking to capitalize on the portfolio of gift cards you have sitting in the drawer, look no further than an online gift card exchanges. If the exchange payouts look a little low, you can take your chances on eBay for a potentially higher payout. And if neither of these options seem fulfilling, consider donating your unwanted balances to a charity, family or organization in need.

At the time of publication the author was long SBUX.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Stock quotes in this article: AMZN, SBUX, EBAY, AAPL, MCD 

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