Walmart has teamed up with the gift card exchange website CardCash to launch a new Walmart-branded site where consumers can exchange their unwanted gift cards – many of which were likely received over the holidays – for a Walmart card instead. The site went live on Christmas day and is offering up to 97 percent of the value of the original gift card from over 200 different retailers. The site in particular seems to target Amazon, as those cards fetch 95 percent in trade-in value, while others, like Gap for example, are currently seeing just 84 percent of their original value.
These rates will fluctuate with market conditions, including things like how many cards from similar retailers are being traded in and other factors.
The new website is set up on Walmart.com’s domain at walmart.cardcash.com, and the retailer is now heavily promoting the option in a large, rotating banner at the top of its home page.
To use the new service, consumers enter the merchant name on their card, the amount, and then instantly receive an offer they can choose to accept or reject. If they opt to take the offer, they would enter the full card number, PIN and other basic customer information. After completion, Walmart emails a Walmart e-Card that can be used online or printed out and used at a local store.
The physical card being exchanged never has to be mailed in, and there’s no minimum balance requirement. In other words, consumers don’t have to wait until they’ve been given a new gift card they don’t want – they can also get rid of gift cards that have been previously used but still have funds remaining.
The cards Walmart collects will be re-sold on CardCash.com, a large online gift card exchange. The site is one of several of a similar nature that see a ton of business after the holidays as consumers dump their unwanted cards for cash or swaps. It competes with sites like Cardhub, Cardpool, Coinstar and more. But scoring a partnership with Walmart is a big win for CardCash, clearly.
There are other ways to sell unwanted gift cards where consumers have more control over the rates, however. Raise.com, for instance, offers a site where consumers get to set the selling price for their cards, as well as a mobile app where you can buy gift cards for less than face value while shopping in the store.
Gift cards have become a popular go-to gift, with the NRF reporting that total gift card spending is expected to reach $31.74 billion in 2014. However, according to a study from CEB TowerGroup, about $1 billion in gift cards go unused each year because people forget about them or don’t find anything they want to buy. In earlier years, retailers didn’t mind that unused gift cards were floating around, but now they’re not able to count the sales as revenue until the cards are redeemed.
Walmart says the gift card exchange is still considered a test, but it may continue the program after the holidays if it sees large enough demand.