Many people receive Visa gift cards on their birthdays or during the holidays. This is a fun gift, but some people feel frustrated because they prefer access to cash instead. There are many ways to convert Visa gift cards to cash. Or, if you prefer, you can swap them for something you really want.
In this brief guide, we’ll cover some available options for conversion in more detail.
How to Convert a Visa Gift Card to Cash
1. Use the Visa Gift Card for Everyday Purchases
Although this isn’t strictly a cash conversion, it’s a practical option because you can use the money on the Visa gift card to pay bills. Most Visa gift cards are set up similarly to debit cards. They have a card number, expiration date, and security code. But the main differences are that a gift card has a set pre-programmed value of money, and it’s not linked to a bank account.
So, if you have a pending phone bill, water bill, or other payment that’s due, you can typically use a Visa gift card to pay it. Using a Visa gift card to pay a bill has certain benefits. It’s convenient and easy. Additionally, you don’t have to offend a gift giver because you would have preferred cash.
You can also use the Visa gift card for everyday expenses like groceries and gas. Simply pay with the gift card instead of your credit card or cash.
If you use the Visa gift card to pay for necessary expenses, you can use the cash you would have spent on those purchases for something else.
2. Sell Your Visa Gift Card
Another popular option is to sell your Visa gift card online to raise cash for something else. It’s important to understand that you won’t get face value when you sell your gift card. One of the best-known places to unload a gift card is Raise, which offers up to 85% of the face value in return. Raise has partnered with Prepaid2Cash to purchase Visa gift cards (more on this app later).
A final option is to sell unwanted gift cards to someone you know or a buyer on Craigslist, Varagesale, Facebook Marketplace, or a local Facebook group in your area. You’ll still get less than face value when you sell the card, and there are risks to consider. After all, there would have to be a considerable incentive for a person to purchase a Visa gift card from a stranger instead of simply getting one at the store.
Another problem is that some people sell blank Visa gift cards and buyers are wary about getting scammed. If you arrange to meet someone to sell a gift card, take someone with you and ensure people know where you’re going to stay safe.
3. Re-Gift the Visa Gift Card to Someone Else
Again, this isn’t strictly converting the Visa gift card to cash, but you can gift that card to others for an upcoming birthday or another gift-giving event. And since this eliminates the need to buy a gift, you can use the cash you would spend on a gift for something else.
This is also a useful option if you have a side gig earning Visa gift cards from an app such as Swagbucks. This saves you a trip to the store, and someone you care about can use the gift card to get what they want.
4. Use It to Buy a Money Order
This may be the best way to convert a Visa gift card into cash. Certain locations, such as Walmart, Western Union, and others, allow customers to purchase a money order using a Visa gift card. Money orders are a good option because they’re treated the same way as a check. You can deposit a money order into your bank checking or savings account as you wish.
To endorse the back of your money order, you’ll need to show your ID to the bank teller. Certain banks and credit unions, including Alliant Credit Union. Citibank, Chase, and TD Bank even allow mobile deposits for a money order via their dedicated apps.
5. Use Prepaid2Cash
We’ve already covered Prepaid2Cash briefly, but it’s worth exploring this app in a little more detail. Using this app simplified the process down to 15 minutes from start to finish.
The app is free to download from Google Play and the iTunes App store, and you do need to sign up to make a transaction. This is a popular option to sell gift cards because Prepaid2Cash offers 92% of the Visa gift card face value.
It takes up to three business days for the payment to arrive in your preferred bank account, but it’s one of the easiest ways to get cash for your Visa gift card.
6. Add It to Your PayPal Wallet
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to convert Visa gift cards to cash is via your PayPal account. Despite some recent concerns about the PayPal platform’s claims on how and where people can spend their money, it’s still a popular option to make secure purchases. A PayPal user can add prepaid Visa cards to their PayPal wallet at any time.
When you add a gift card to your PayPal wallet, the balance can be used to purchase items from any merchant that accepts payments from the platform. Another popular option is to transfer the money to friends and family members or make payments for services and linked debit accounts.
Once the money is in your PayPal account, it can also be transferred to your bank account. Of course, you’ll need to link your bank account to PayPal first. But if the two accounts are already linked, moving the balance from a gift card to a bank account is straightforward.
There are five steps to follow when you want to add your Visa gift card and apply it to your PayPal wallet:
- Log into the PayPal account.
- On the menu bar, select the “Wallet” tab.
- Find the “Link a Card” option and click it.
- Enter the Visa gift card details.
- Click the “Link Card” button.
These five steps are the same for mobile users; select the “Wallet” tab at the dropdown menu, and you’re good to go.
A Visa gift card can function with no problems at a physical location, but they need to be registered to prevent any potential problems when you’re adding them to an online PayPal wallet. To register the card, simply contact the customer service number printed on the Visa gift card, and they will guide you through the process.
Related: Legit Ways to Earn PayPal Money
7. Add It to Your Venmo Account
Venmo has more than 50 million users, which makes it a top choice for millennials that want to convert Visa gift cards to cash with no or minimal fees depending on the transaction.
Simply add the gift card to your Venmo account, and you can transfer the balance to your bank account. The transfer takes 1-3 days, and there are no fees for those transactions.
To set up the transfer, there are six simple steps to follow:
- Open the Venmo app.
- Select “Settings” on the menu bar.
- Select the “Payment Methods” tab.
- Tap the “Add a Bank or Card” button.
- Enter the Visa gift card information.
- Select the “Add a Card to Your Account” option.
Once it’s in your account, you can transfer money to other Venmo users.
8. Use It to Buy a Gift Card
If you have a generic Visa gift card that you don’t intend to use, it makes sense to convert it to a different gift card so you can purchase goods and services that you will use. Essentially, you exchange a Visa gift card for another gift card of your choice.
You can purchase discounted gift cards at Raise and Swagbucks for certain websites, stores, restaurant chains, and more. You can maximize your gift card exchange if you participate in a gift card sale. Certain gift card deals can give you 20% or more on your gift card’s face value which means that you could purchase a $100 gift card for only $80.
Purchasing discounted gift cards to stores, restaurants, and websites that you know you’ll use can be an ideal way to essentially increase the value and get more money from a Visa gift card.
9. Use It to Invest in a Liquid Asset
You can link a Visa gift card to an investment or brokerage account. Certain liquid assets, such as ETFs and stocks, can be sold at any time. So, it is possible, albeit indirectly, to convert a gift card to cash if that’s the best option. For most people, the smarter approach would be to play the long game using the card for investing.
Simply link the gift card to your brokerage account and invest it in stocks, bonds, or funds using due diligence to minimize the risk. This is a great option for people not in a hurry to access the value of the gift card. So, if you have an older gift card that’s reaching its expiration date and you’re not going to use it, you can transfer it to an investment account.
10. Buy Something to Resell or Flip
Some people have turned their unwanted Visa gift cards into a lucrative side hustle by purchasing popular items and reselling them to make a healthy profit. This is a useful short-term solution to a cash shortfall if you’re looking for a part-time income generation strategy.
Some popular categories for this strategy include gaming, wedding accessories, sporting goods, and more. See our list of the easiest things to flip for profit to get some ideas.
If you don’t want to order from overseas sellers, you can speed up the process by ordering online or in-store from Target, Walmart, and local thrift stores that stock unusual items.
Before you make a purchase, check a popular online auction or selling platform such as eBay to get an average selling price. Make sure to factor transaction, listing, and shipping fees into your calculations to determine a selling price. If you have a good eye for a bargain, you can flip an item and make some cash from your gift card.
11. Get Cash from an ATM
This may not be an option for everyone, but it may be possible to convert a Visa gift card to cash via an ATM. Visit the accredited ATM, deposit the gift card in the machine, and make the cash transaction to get your money.
There are fees to pay if you can choose this method, but it’s fast, and you don’t need to wait several days to get your money. You can use a prepaid Visa gift card to get cash back at the ATM when you input your pin number or when you make a purchase.
Just bear in mind a Visa prepaid card has a security pin code, and it’s reloadable for funds which makes it very different from a standard Visa gift card.
How To Use A Visa Gift Card
When you’re ready to use your Visa gift card, there are five steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Decide if You Want to Use the Gift Card
As we’ve seen, there are times when you may want to exchange your Visa gift card for cash or a different type of gift card. Liquidating a gift card for cash can lower the face value, but it’s an option that many people prefer because there are times when they need cash instead. So, first, you need to decide how you want to use this card.
Step 2: Activate the Visa Gift Card
If you’ve decided to keep the card and use it as intended, you must activate it first. The full instructions for this process are detailed on the back of the gift card. You can activate the card online or call the listed number. The card will not work until it’s activated. There should be no activation fee for the gift card holder unless you’ve purchased the card for yourself. If a fee is charged, it’s usually applied to the gift card buyer when they purchased the card.
Step 3: Record the Balance
It’s a good idea to record the starting gift card balance to get a full understanding of how much value you have before you use it. This helps the user to avoid embarrassing situations if the card is declined after you paid for a bill or a meal. A simple note of the starting and ongoing balance can help you budget effectively and get the best use out of your Visa gift card.
Step 4: Use the Gift Card
The Visa gift card can be kept on hand and used to make purchases in-store or online with many participating retailers, restaurants, service providers, and more. A one-time purchase can be made, or an ongoing financial commitment can be met until the balance of funds on the card is depleted. This can be a convenient and flexible way to make a purchase if you don’t want to carry cash.
Step 5: Use the Entire Value of the Gift Card
Many gift card users work with cards with a small balance of less than $5. So, it’s all too easy to make a mistake and leave a small value on the gift card that you can’t seem to spend. When you reach this stage, ask a merchant to deduct the remaining balance from the bill and pay the remainder with cash or a different card. You can even redeem the card if you bring it to a gift card exchange kiosk and take the remainder in cash.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Vanilla Visa Gift Card is a prepaid card that users can load with money to make in-store or online purchases with participating retailers. In every other way, these gift cards operate the same way as the other Visa gift cards. You can use them in the best way to meet your current funding needs.
A Visa gift card is similar to cash in function because you can use it to make payments. But, there are some differences because you can use cash to pay for anything and gift cards are only useful in specific situations. You can carry as much cash as you feel safe carrying and a gift card has a set amount. Transferring the gift card value to cash requires using the methods covered in this article.
You can keep track of the starting and current balance on the card with a simple note app. But you can check the balance at any time using one of the following two methods:
1. The Card Issuer’s Website. Visit the card issuer’s site. This is on the rear of the gift card near the printed phone number. There should be a listed URL that you can visit to check the balance on the gift card.
2. Call the Phone Number. The toll-free phone number on the gift card can be called to check your balance anytime. An automated system will prompt you to enter the card number and certain other details before you’re told the value of the remaining balance.
This is an unethical practice, and in many places, it’s illegal. Technically, it’s possible to buy something with a gift card and return it, but it’s not worth the trouble. Additionally, many stores won’t give cash refunds for purchases made with a card. It’s a better idea to buy an item that you know you can flip for a quick profit. This prevents a conflict that could harm you later, and the retailer isn’t ripped off.
Final Thoughts on Converting Visa Gift Cards to Cash
When you receive a Visa gift card, you have a great deal of flexibility in how you use those funds and where you can spend them. Many participating partners accept Visa gift cards. But there are times when you need cash in hand. Or you may dislike carrying multiple gift cards and tracking the various balances. Some people simply prefer to access their funds from a single checking account, which is understandable.
Now you know the ways to get cash from a Visa gift card or some useful equivalent, you can decide which is the most convenient option to ensure that you get the best value from your gift card.