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Bartering Gift Certificates

By Bob Meyer

Gift certificates are a wonderful trading vehicle for you because not only are they lightweight, small and easily transported, but their value varies widely�from small amounts upwards to thousands of dollars. And there is an enormous market already in place.  

(Of U.S. shoppers, 74% buy at least one gift card or gift certificate annually...their yearly usage has been growing 11% to 15% since 1993. In effect, few things are more popular, especially during the holidays, than a gift certificate--unless it's from a store you don't like.)

When you receive a card or certificate you�re not enthused about, why not trade it for another one you would rather have? There�s a growing secondary gift/certificate market which you can access to make such a trade, offline or online. And, for the creative trader, the possibilities of obtaining favorable ratios when trading gift certificates, for dissimilar  products or services, would only be limited by one�s imagination and follow through.*

Because gift certificates, after all, are one type of currency whose value will fluctuate depending on the holders acquisition cost, and mindset. There are opportunities galore for the informed and aware trader. In the U.S. alone the use of gift certificates and gift cards is a $55-billion-a-year industry.

Contacts for Trading Gift Certificates

In our research we found online services that can easily be used for trading gift cards and certificates. At www.cardavenue.com you will find a special section on the right side of their home page which offers a list of cards/certificates available on barter.

We also investigated www.swapagift.com launched by Mary Jane and Michael Kelly in 2003 to provide a way to redeem or trade gift cards in an open market.

These sites offer the consumer an inexpensive, effective means of bartering unwanted cards for other preferred ones. The Swapagift site makes use of a proprietary matching mechanism that automatically identifies matching gift cards, facilitating the barter process for its 20,000 users.

Ms. Kelly shared how some people use the site:

1) Contractors obtain their supplies by acquiring Home Depot and Lowe's gift cards.

2) A man stuck with an engagement ring after a broken engagement returned the ring and put the resulting Zale's gift card on the site.

3) A woman who owns a kennel and dog rescue service acquires the PetSmart gift cards.

4) Sales people who are awarded gift cards either exchange them or cash out at 70 cents on the dollar--the price at which Swapagift will purchase cards.

The largest single deal ever made on the site was a $10,000 Best Buy gift card, won in a cigarette sweepstakes. With a balance of $6,500 on the card, after several purchases, the owner cashed in the card.

The above examples are an indication that we can expect the inter-trading of gift certificates/cards to expand dramatically.

Other gift certificate sites include:

www.certificateswap.com
www.giftcertificates.com
www.giftvouchers.com
www.gifttracker.com
www.giftincard.com

* Ratio trading strategies and techniques are covered in the BarterNews �FastStart Program,� as well 22 different types of currencies used in the barter marketplace.

For more articles on how to barter see www.barternews.com. A free weekly newsletter, the �Tuesday Barter Report,� provides timely information on the subject as well. (See our web site for a free signup of the newsletter.)

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