Founded in 2009 and based out of San Francisco, CA, Cardpool is an online gift card exchange marketplace that allows users to buy and sell pre-owned gift cards, redeemable at a wide variety of big-name brands such as Best Buy, Applebee’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Gap, Lowe’s Target, and many more. All transactions are handled directly through Cardpool, which removes any chance of fraud and provides users with free shipping and guaranteed orders.
By helping users save up to 35% on gift card purchases, and earn up to 92% cash back on sales, the company has gained immense popularity, and has been featured on CNN, NBC, TechCrunch, and the New York Times, among many others. Cardpool claims that 97% of their users were satisfied with their experience and would recommend them to a friend, which is likely a very large component for their A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Cardpool was acquired by Blackhawk Network, Inc. in 2011, allowing them to become part of one of the largest prepaid and gift card companies in the world.
Buying Gift Cards on Cardpool
Cardpool claims to save buyers up to 35% on gift cards, and while this may be true, the reality is that the bigger (or more popular) brands will typically offer less discounts. For example, users can fairly easily find deals like this:
- An AMC Theater gift card worth $25 being sold for $21.25 (a savings of 15%), or
- An Applebee’s gift card worth $50 being sold for $44 (a savings of 12%).
However, more popular gift cards from companies like Apple, Best Buy, Abercrombie & Fitch, or Sam’s Club usually offer extremely small discounts, ranging anywhere from 1.5% to 3.5%. As an example: As of the time of this writing, $25 Best Buy gift cards are being offered for $24.12, which is at the higher end of the savings spectrum for these types of cards. If you do find a larger discount available from one of these companies, which is rare, they will sell out almost instantly.
Having said this, Cardpool can be a great option if you are able to locate a gift card that is relevant to your needs, is valued at a minimum of $50-$60, and offers 10% or more in discounts.
One big advantage of purchasing gift cards through Cardpool is that they do not charge sales tax, and USPS standard shipping (3-7 business days) is free.
Selling Your Gift Cards on Cardpool
If you received gift cards for your birthday or during the Holidays, and you don’t think you’ll use them, Cardpool can be a good place to turn them into cash.
To begin selling, all you need to do is click on the ‘Sell Gift Card’ link on the company’s site, select the card’s vendor from a list (e.g. AMC, Home Depot, etc.), enter the card’s value, and then press the ‘Get Offer’ button. Cardpool will then immediately provide you with a dollar amount they’re willing to pay for your card. As a general rule of thumb, the higher demand that exists for a given card (e.g. Apple, Best Buy, or major restaurant chains such as P.F. Changs), the higher price you’ll be offered, which typically range between 80-91% of their face value. On the other hand, the less demand there is for a merchant (sorry Kmart), the lower percentage you’ll be offered.
Should you accept, Cardpool will provide you with a free shipping label that you’ll use to send your gift card via return mail, which will typically arrive at the company’s office within 3-7 business days thereafter. As far a payment, you will have several options, depending on the gift card’s vendor:
- Cardpool can mail a check to you, which is typically sent within one business day of receiving your card and verifying its value.
- For select merchants, Cardpool offers the ability to receive immediate payment by entering your gift card’s code directly on the site. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you will receive a smaller amount, when compared to a check sent via mail.
- Users can also earn an additional 5% on their sale by redeeming their cash back in the form of an Amazon.com gift card.
- Cardpool offers a huge variety of gift cards from brand name merchants for clothing, electronics, gas, restaurants, and much more.
- User-friendly website.
- Free shipping, and all cards are guaranteed.
- Can be beneficial if you purchase gift cards that are at least $50 in value, are applicable at a relevant merchant, and provide at least 10% in savings.
- Sellers can receive up to 92% of their card’s face value, but only for highly popular merchants such as Apple and Best Buy.
- Acquired by Blackhawk Network in 2011, which is a public company funded by a variety of big league entrepreneurs and investors.
- A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
- Very little incentive to purchase gift cards valued at $25 or less, as the savings are minimal.
- Users with gift cards issued through low-demand merchants will encounter very low purchase offers.
- Big savings on high-value cards issued through popular merchants are very rare.
- Some users have complained of longer than advertised shipping times.
1 out 2 people found this review helpful
They went beyond my expectations.
I bought Peets Coffee gift card in December 2013, checked the amount when I received it and gave it to a friend as a gift. Four months later she tried to use it and found there was Zero balance. Investigation revealed that this card was bought fraudulently and Peets Coffee decided to take the balance away.
I was weary to find that Cardpool does NOT have a phone number I could use. With apprehension I emailed as instructed.
Within a couple of hours, I got two emails. One stating that they will refund the money and the second stating that stating that as an apology, they will give me a $20 gift card!! What a surprise. I was expecting them to say that since it has been over five months since purchase, Cardpool guarantees for three months, the card is not guaranteed.
Yes, I will continue buying from Cardpool!!
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend