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Regifting Gift Cards: Can You Give a Used Gift Card as a Present?

Regifting Gift Cards: Can You Give a Used Gift Card as a Present?

I’ve written several times about gift-giving etiquette, and I’m always intrigued by what other people think of specific gift-giving scenarios. So here’s one for you.

Can you regift a gift card, and if you can, should you?

Regifting Gift Cards

I recently received a used gift card. The front and back are worn and faded, and the gift card numbers are barely visible. There are also quite a few scratches on the card. 

I received the gift card in a new envelope, but the card’s condition looks shabby and used. Who knows how this card ended up in the hands of my gift giver. 

Perhaps the giver purchased the card at a discount from eBay or another auction website. Maybe that person wanted to provide a $100 gift but could only afford $75 and decided to buy the card at auction to get more bang for his buck.

Maybe the giver received the card but decided he’d never shop at that store. Perhaps the store isn’t conveniently located, or the products sold there don’t interest him. 

In the worst-case scenario, the gift giver may be low on funds. In that case, they may not have the means to shell out cash for a gift.

Is it Ok to Regift a Gift Card?

Does the reason behind the regift matter? Does the circumstance behind the gift make the act of regifting gift cards right or wrong? Is it in poor taste to present a used gift card, no matter the circumstance? 

Do you think the presenter should have mentioned that the gift card was purchased second-hand or that they received it from a place they’d never shop? Is it ok to regift a gift card? In most cases, I think it is. Here’s why.

Is It Tacky To Regift Gift Cards?

While I know many people would be offended by receiving a used gift card, I’m happy that someone thought well enough of me to present me with a gift.

I’d be thrilled to learn that the gift giver wisely purchased the gift card at a discount. In that case, I’d be happier with a used gift card than a shiny new one purchased directly from the store.

I love it when other people are frugal with their money, and I’d love to know that a friend got the most bang for their buck.

As long as the recipient shops at that particular store or dines at that specific restaurant, I don’t see the harm in regifting a gift card. But please don’t pass on a gift card you know someone would never use. That’s a cheap and thoughtless gift.

Can You Regift a Gift Card?

Is there a proper way to regift gift cards? Most definitely. How can you give a gift card as a present? Here are a few tricks that might help.

First, if you receive a gift card to a place you don’t shop, immediately place it in an envelope and stuff it away in a special drawer or the safe in your home. Don’t place it in your wallet where it can get scratched. 

The key is to keep it in new or like-new condition for as long as possible. If it doesn’t look old and used, your gift recipient won’t know it’s a hand-me-down.

Second, some stores will allow you to exchange an old gift card for a new one. Before passing on a scratched-up card to your recipient, contact the business and ask if they can issue a new card for you. 

Suppose they can, then your problem is solved. You’ll receive a new card with a new issue date.

Third, consider selling the card and using the cash from your sale to purchase a new one. You won’t receive 100% of the value from your card, but you will have more money to put towards your friend’s gift.

Fourth, hand over the used card with an explanation because a true friend won’t consider it tacky anyway.

Your Thoughts on Regifting Gift Cards

So what do you think? Is it wrong to present a used gift card if you don’t let the receiver know it’s a hand-me-down?

Dreaming of Deals...

Thursday 3rd of June 2010

I second the comment just before this - I know for certain that McDonalds reuses gift cards - look at their display (if you eat there...that is! ugghh, but I get them for my nephews for Christmas) and a lot of times most of the cards are beat-up looking, too!

Gift cards are actually fairly expensive as a business expense - I looked into using them at my small shop and decided against it - but if I had, I certainly would have captured the cards upon use and resold them, especially if they were still in relatively good condition.

Just enjoy the gift, or hey, regift it to someone else! LOL My niece gets any Starbucks cards I get, and she loves them! Doesn't care where they come from!

Anonymous

Thursday 3rd of June 2010

Our Costco Here reuses their "Cash Cards" so I quite often buy a *NEW* one that also looks like it's been swiped a few too many times. That may have been what happened to your gift giver. You never know! :)

One Frugal Girl

Thursday 27th of May 2010

So if the gift card is an even number than it's okay if it's used, but if it's an odd number it's tacky. Interesting...

Donna Freedman

Thursday 27th of May 2010

I guess I'd consider it "used" if, as someone pointed out, it had a weird amount on it. While it's a little disconcerting to have an old-LOOKING card, I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

Maureen

Wednesday 26th of May 2010

I have given away gift cards that I received in presents, because I,ve suddenly been faced with a Birthday that I forgot about, so knowing that, I feel that there is not the same thought going into the gift. But that,s just my take on it and some of the other comments are probably nearer the mark.