Can You Return a Gift Card If You Still Have the Receipt? Here's What You Can and Can't Do

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If you bought a gift card intending to give it to someone, only to change your mind later, you might be wondering, "Can you return gift cards?" After all, returns are usually no big deal on regular merchandise, and you'd probably rather have that cash back in your bank account instead of sitting on an unwanted card.

Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer as to whether you can return a gift card, as different stores all have their own return policies. But, even if you're not able to return your card, you might be able to exchange it online for a gift credit you can use. Here's what to know.

Can you return a gift card?

The ability to return a gift card depends on the store you bought it from.

A lot of retailers (like Amazon, Target, Lowe's, and Sephora) state in their terms and conditions that their gift cards, both physical and digital, are nonrefundable. And yes, that's even if you kept the receipt from the purchase. For the most part, companies tend not to allow the return of gift cards unless required by state law — more on that further below.

There are exceptions with certain stores, though. For example, Gap allows customers to return unused physical gift cards and cancel scheduled e-gift cards for a refund.

Can you exchange gift card money for cash?

If you can't return your gift card, you might be able to exchange it.

Online services like Raise or CardCash let you trade in gift card money for cash or a gift credit to another store. Keep in mind that both these sites will take a portion of your unwanted gift card amount, so you won't get the full amount that's on your card. Here's a quick breakdown of the two services:

  • Raise lets you sell your own gift card at a discount and will pay you through PayPal or direct deposit if someone buys your card.

  • CardCash sells your card for you, and you can choose whether you want your refund in the form of a mailed check, PayPal Express payment, ACH payment, a prepaid Mastercard, or a gift card to a different retailer.

Another option for exchanging a gift card is to visit CVS's CardCash page. The process is nearly the same as using the standard CardCash site. You can select from over 200 eligible retailers to see what your gift card is worth in CVS e-credit, then trade it in to use at your local store.

Finally, in certain states, you can exchange your gift card balance for cash, but the payouts are very low. For example, in Colorado, there must be less than $5 on the card to cash it out. In Vermont, there must be less than $1 on it.

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