What to Do with $200 Gift Cards

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$200 gift cards are readily available at multiple different stores, but they’re primarily lucrative at office supply stores when you have an Ink card. They come with $6.95 fees, meaning you’ll earn about 1,035 points per card. In other words, your basically paying 0.67 cents per point. Not a bad deal, considering you can redeem each point for 1 cent if you really wanted to. (I wouldn’t advise that, though.)

Anyway, hypothetically let’s say I have a pile of them. Not just four to five of them, I’m talking like 15 ($3,000). That’s not a lot of money to liquidate, but it is a lot of gift cards… a ridiculously annoying amount at that. $3,000 in $500 denomination gift cards would only consist of 6 cards. If only, office supply stores sold those. 🙁

I used to throw my $200 gift cards in Evolve and Amazon Payments before Evolve changed to one payment per account and AP shut it’s doors. So, what options are there? A lot of them, but none as easy as AP or Evolve unfortunately.

Options


Money Orders

Money orders are my “Plan B” when it comes to manufactured spending. Whenever I have an extra gift card or I want to liquidate money off a debit card, I buy a money order. It’s a tried and true method that has yet to fail me.

Since Walmart sells some of the cheapest money orders around ($0.70 per $1,000), let’s look at the options I have there.

  • The First Option: I could buy a $200 money order with every card.
    Total Cost: $10.50.
    Total CPP
    : 0.74 cents per point.
    Estimated Time: 1-9 Days.
  • The Second Option: I could buy an $800 money order with four cards, since you can swipe a max of 4 cards per transaction.
    Total Cost
    : $2.80.
    Total CPP
    : 0.69 cents per point.
    Estimated Time: 1-4 Days.

Obviously, the second option is better, but it’s a bit more risky since Walmart employees can get a bit suspicious and possibly shut me down. Now, I personally hate Walmart, so I wouldn’t even go there to liquidate these. Instead, I would go to Meijer where money orders cost $0.65 per $500. Let’s look at those options.

  • The first option: I could buy a $200 money order with every card.
    Total Cost: $9.75.
    Total CPP
    : 0.73 cents per point.
    Estimated Time: 1-9 Days.
  • The Second Option: I could buy a $500 money order with three cards.
    Total Cost
    : $3.90.
    Total CPP
    : 0.70 cents per point.
    Estimated Time: 1-4 Days.

The latter option is a bit better than the former, but it’s not as good as splitting payments at Walmart. That being said, I’m willing to pay 0.01 cents per point more for my sanity.

Loading Serve, REDbird, and Bluebird

Loading Serve, REDbird, or Bluebird would be the cheapest and most efficient option since there isn’t fee and I can load $2,500 a day per card. I have three cards, so I could realistically knock this out in one day. I wouldn’t, though, because no customer service representative would want to put up with that. Also, none of the Walmarts near me have a KATE, so there’s no way I could load my accounts without a cashier’s assistance.

Total Cost: $0.00.
Total CPP
: 0.67 cents per point.
Estimated Time: 1-4 Days.

Evolve Money

Evolve Money can still be utilized to liquidate gift cards, but not very quickly. They have a limit of one payment per bill per month, so it could take up to 15 months to liquidate if I only had one bill that could accept a $200 payment each month. Fortunately, (or unfortunately) I have two bills that could be paid each month, which means it would like about 8 months to finish off these gift cards solely on Evolve. That would take forever!

Total Cost: $0.00.
Total CPP
: 0.67 cents per point.
Estimated Time: 6-8 months.

Update: After I wrote this Evolve started charging a 3% fee for every gift card, which makes the new, much worse, equation look like this:

Total Cost: $90.00.
Total CPP
: 1.25 cents per point.
Estimated Time: 6-8 months.

Mobile Credit Card Swipe

As a last case scenario, I could liquidate my gift cards with Amazon Register, Square, or one of the other mobile credit card payment systems. The only problem with that is the swipe fee of 1.75% on Amazon Register and 2.75% on Square. That can quickly eat into profits, so I would avoid using this option at all costs.

  • Amazon Register
    Total Cost
    : $52.50.
    Total CPP
    : 1 cent per point.
    Estimated Time
    : 1 day.
  • Square
    Total Cost: $75.00.
    Total CPP
    : 1.15 cents per point.
    Estimated Time
    : 1 day.

American Express For Target

Amex for Target, not to be confused with REDbird, is a prepaid card that can be loaded at Target with virtually any type of card other than a Target gift card. This would work well, but there is a $3 fee for every $1,000 load and unloading is kind of a pain since you cannot use the card to buy money orders. It can, however, be used for ATM withdrawals.

Total Cost: $9.00.
Total CPP
: 0.73 cents per point.
Estimated Time: 3 Days.

Conclusion

There are a lot of liquidation opportunities for $200 gift cards even though many of them are a pain or charge extra fees. Personally, I tend to avoid $200 GCs unless I have a specific need for them or there’s a good deal on them like OfficeMax usually runs.

How about you? What method do you prefer to liquidate your $200 gift cards with?

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