When you have a standard retail gift card, your options for receiving cash back are limited.
Some states allow you to get cash back on partially used gift cards (usually $5 or less); however, if your state doesn’t allow this, you can only get cash from the gift card by selling it to a third-party.
The following states allow a portion of gift cards to be redeemed in cash as long as the current balance does not exceed a certain amount:
- California: Less than $10
- Colorado: Less than $5
- Connecticut: Less than $3
- Maine: Less than $5
- Massachusetts: Redeemable if you’ve used 90% of the face value or the balance is less than $5
- Montana: Less than $5 (must have originally been worth more than $5)
- New Jersey: Less than $5
- Oregon: Less than $5 (must have been used at least once)
- Rhode Island: Less than $1
- Vermont: Less than $1
- Washington: Less than $5
Note that you may also be able to return the gift card if it’s unused, but many gift card purchases are non-returnable (as previously reported).
I contacted several national retailers, including Best Buy, Kroger, and The Home Depot. None of the retailers I spoke with offer cash back from gift cards unless required by law. (Our previous research also features the gift card cash back policies at Walmart and Target.)
Note that while standard gift cards and prepaid gift cards look very similar in appearance, prepaid cards are reloadable and reusable, functioning similarly to a debit card.
With prepaid gift cards, you can usually get cash back from a retailer during a purchase or at an ATM (as previously reported).