Gift cards sell like hotcakes, yet a quarter of Americans who receive them during the holidays have at least one lying around 10 months later, according to Consumer Reports surveys. Brian Riley, senior research director for the TowerGroup, a financial services firm, estimates that consumers left $2.5 billion worth of gift-card value on the table in 2010.
If your gift cards are gathering dust, there's another option: Turn them into cash. In recent years, there's been a surge in websites that claim to pay 50 to 95 percent of the value of a wide range of gift cards. The sites then resell the cards to the public for up to 30 percent off face value.
We used the online calculators for four such sites to see how much they'd pay for cards with a $200 face value from eight major retailers. The lessons learned: