Can You Return Gift Cards? Answered

Gift cards are a popular present: flexible, convenient, and “one-size-fits-all.” But sometimes they still aren’t the right fit. Whether you received a gift card you can’t use or bought one by mistake, unused or unwanted gift cards feel like a frustrating waste of money.

So can you return gift cards? You may be able to return that gift card for a full refund. A few major retailers give refunds on gift cards, with some restrictions and exceptions. Even if your gift card can’t be returned to the store, don’t worry — there are a lot of ways you can get back the value of an unwanted gift card.

We’ve scoured the gift card policies of the top national stores and restaurants to find out which ones will give refunds on gift cards and which ones won’t. We’ve also researched which states require refunds on gift cards and summarized those laws for you. And we’ve gathered a dozen easy ways you can turn that card into cash, even if the store won’t take it back.

Gift Card Return Policies at Major Retailers

Can you return gift cards for cash? Can you return gift cards if you have the receipt? We have the details for each store.

Stores that allow gift card returns have very specific requirements. If the store sells different types of gift cards, the policies may be different for each type. In most cases, you’ll need the original receipt or proof of purchase to return a store card for a full refund. Refunds are usually returned to the purchaser’s credit or debit card. If you received the card as a gift, you’ll probably need to talk to the person who gave it to you about making a return.

Finding your specific store’s policy on returning gift cards can be tricky. You may find it listed on their Help page under “Gift cards” or under “Returns” or under “Terms and Conditions.” We’ve done the work for you and created this summary of the top eight national stores that will accept returns on gift cards.

Stores That Allow Gift Card Returns

Advance Auto Parts

  • Type of card: Physical Gift Card
  • Limit on balance returned: Card must be unused
  • Receipt needed: No
  • Refund method: You can return a gift card by mail if there’s no store in your area or there is some reason it can’t be used. Email info@svmcards.com for more information and you’ll get a response within one business day.
  • Find the nearest Advance Auto Parts

Costco

  • Type of card: Costco sells two different types of gift cards, and the rules are different for each. You can use the Costco Cash Card for membership fees and purchases. They also sell packaged third-party gift cards for entertainment or services, like movie tickets or gym memberships.
  • Limit on balance returned:
    • Costco Cash Card: $10 or less may be returned in cash. Balances over $10 are returned only where required by law.
    • Third-party gift cards: No limit
  • Receipt needed:
    • Costco Cash Card: No
    • Third-party gift cards: Yes
  • Refund method:
    • Costco Cash Card: Cash
    • Third-party gift cards: Purchases from a warehouse may be returned at any Costco location. Online purchases may be returned with a printout at a warehouse or through the online return process. We called customer service and found out that if you bought the card, you can receive your purchase price back in the original form of payment. If you received the card as a gift, the refund method depends on the local warehouse policy.
  • Find the nearest Costco

Gap (The Gap store, Baby Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta)

  • Type of card: The Gap family of stores sell physical gift cards and e-gift cards, and the rules are different for each.
  • Limit on balance returned:
    • Physical gift card: You can only return unused cards. Used Giftcards for any Gap-owned store can be redeemed for cash when the balance is less than $5 or as required by law.
    • e-gift card: No returns or refunds unless required by law. Balances under $5 may be redeemed for cash.
  • Receipt needed: Yes
  • Refund method: Take the card and receipt to the store brand shown on the card (Gap cards to a Gap store, Old Navy cards to an Old Navy store, and so forth). Your purchase price will be refunded in the original form of payment. If you received the card as a gift, you can exchange it in-store for an Options gift card.  You can also return it and the buyer will receive a credit in the original form of payment.
  • Find the nearest Gap brand store

Macy’s

  • Type of card: Macy’s Standard Gift Card
  • Limit on balance returned: Card must be unused
  • Receipt needed: Yes
  • Refund method: You can only return a card in person at a Macy’s store. Your purchase price will be returned in the original form of payment.
  • Find the nearest Macy’s

Saks Fifth Avenue

  • Type of card: Standard Gift Card or E-gift card
  • Limit on balance returned: Card must be unused
  • Receipt needed: Yes
  • Refund method: You can only return a card if you are the original purchaser. Take the card and original receipt to a local Saks Fifth Avenue store, and an associate will refund you in the original form of payment.
  • Find the nearest Saks Fifth Avenue

Starbucks

  • Type of card: Starbucks Card
  • Limit on balance returned: Card must be unused
  • Receipt needed: Yes
  • Refund method: Call customer service at (800) STA-RBUC (782-7282) to process a return
  • Find the nearest Starbucks

Target

  • Type of card: Target sells several different types of cards: Physical Target-branded gift cards, Target Mobile gift cards, Target e-gift cards, Target Visa or Mastercard gift cards, Target American Express gift cards, and packaged third-party gift cards (such as restaurants, gaming, or travel). Each type has slightly different rules.
  • Limit on balance returned:
    • Physical Target gift cards: Card must be unused
    • Target Mobile gift cards or e-gift cards: No returns or cash back unless required by law
    • Target Visa or Mastercard gift cards: Card must be unused
    • Target American Express gift cards: Card must be unused
    • Third-Party gift cards: No returns
  • Receipt needed: Yes
  • Refund method:
    • Physical Target gift cards: Your purchase price will be returned in your original form of payment. If you paid cash, you will receive cash. If you paid with a debit card, the refund will be credited to your card.
    • Target Visa or Mastercard gift cards: Your card can be returned to any Target store within 90 days as long as it is unused, unopened, has all the original packaging, and you have the original receipt.
    • Target American Express gift cards: Your card can only be returned on the same day you bought it, to the same store where you bought it, unopened with all the original packaging, and with the original receipt.
  • Find the nearest Target

Verizon

  • Type of card: Verizon Wireless Gift Card
  • Limit on balance returned: Card must be unused
  • Receipt needed: Yes
  • Refund method: Return your card to a Verizon Wireless store (not an authorized retailer) within 30 days with proof of purchase. Your purchase price will be refunded in the original form of payment. Cards cannot be redeemed for cash except as required by law.
  • Find the nearest Verizon Wireless

Stores That Allow Partial Cash Refunds on Gift Cards

Some retailers will give you change in cash when you pay with a gift card, even if local laws don’t require it. These three stores offer to return your balance in cash:

Bath & Body Works

  • Type of card: Physical gift cards or e-gift cards
  • Limit on balance returned: Cards can’t be returned except where required by law. Balances under $10 may be redeemed in cash in stores.
  • Receipt needed: No
  • Find the nearest Bath & Body Works

Victoria’s Secret (also PINK and Victoria Sport)

  • Type of Card: Physical gift cards or e-gift cards
  • Limit on balance returned: Cards can’t be returned except where required by law. Balances under $10 may be redeemed in cash in stores.
  • Receipt needed: No
  • Find the nearest Victoria’s Secret

Stores That Don’t Allow Gift Card Returns

Many national stores have policies that say gift cards may not be returned “except where required by law.” Gift card theft and fraud cost merchants a lot of money, and there are strict federal laws to prevent criminals from using gift cards to launder money. For most companies, the risk and hassle just aren’t worth it. They just don’t take returns on gift cards at all. Unless your state requires it, you can’t return gift cards at these stores:

  • Academy Sports + Outdoors
  • Ace Hardware
  • ALDI
  • Amazon
  • Apple Store/iTunes
  • Army & Air Force Exchange Service
  • AutoZone
  • Baskin-Robbins
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Belk
  • Best Buy
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Circle K
  • CVS
  • Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s, Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Yard House, Season’s 32, Eddie V’s)
  • DICK’S Sporting Goods
  • Dollar Tree
  • Dress Barn
  • Duane Reade
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • ExxonMobil
  • Family Dollar
  • Foot Locker
  • GameStop
  • H&M (inside the U.S.)
  • H-E-B Grocery
  • The Home Depot
  • IKEA
  • Jack in the Box
  • JCPenney
  • Justice (For the list of stores that sell Justice gift cards, see our article)
  • Kroger Family of Stores (Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Barclay Jewelers, Littman’s Jewelers, and many others. See a complete list of Kroger Co. stores at their website.)
  • Lowe’s
  • McDonald’s
  • Meijer
  • Menard’s
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Nordstrom
  • Office Depot/OfficeMax
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Panera Bread
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pizza Hut
  • Publix
  • QVC.com (See our article for the list of store that sell QVC gift cards.)
  • Rite Aid
  • ShopRite
  • SONIC
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Staples
  • Subway
  • TJX Companies (T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods)
  • True Value Hardware
  • Ulta Beauty
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Wegmans
  • Wendy’s
  • Whole Foods
  • Williams Sonoma (also Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBTeen, Mark and Graham, and West Elm)

States That Require Cash Refunds on Gift Cards

Some U.S. states and territories require full cash refunds on gift cards. Others only require stores to give change on purchases in cash. In most cases, you must use the card and have a small remaining balance — $5 or $10. States with gift card laws include:

  • California: You can redeem any gift card purchased after 1997 for cash or have it replaced with a new gift card if the balance is under $10.
  • Colorado: You can redeem gift card balances under $5 in cash.
  • Maine: You can redeem a gift card balance under $5 in cash, except prepaid bank cards, phone cards, cards given as a promotion, and cards with a beginning balance of $5 or less.
  • Massachusetts: If your card can’t be refilled and you have spent 90% of the original balance, you can redeem the remaining 10% in cash. If your card can be refilled and the balance is under $5, you can redeem the balance in cash.
  • Montana: If the original value of the card was more than $5, you can redeem gift card balances under $5 in cash.
  • New Jersey: If you’ve used the card, you can redeem gift card balances under $5 in cash.
  • Oregon: If you’ve used the card, you can redeem gift card balances under $5 in cash, except for promotional cards given free or with a discount, and cards for phone or internet service.
  • Puerto Rico: You can redeem gift card balances under $5 in cash.
  • Rhode Island: You can redeem gift card balances under $1 in cash.
  • Vermont: You can redeem gift card balances under $1 in cash.
  • Washington: After a purchase is made, the remaining value must be made available to the bearer in cash or as a gift certificate.

This chart from the National Conference of State Legislatures lists specific state laws about gift cards.

How to Get Cash for Gift Cards

Please see our article: 10+ Convenient Places That Buy Unwanted Gift Cards (Target etc)

In Summary

Can you return gift cards? Most nationwide stores won’t let you return a gift card, but a few will. We’ve provided the list of stores where you can get a full refund, including Costco, Macy’s, Starbucks, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Target. Some states where stores have to give you cash back on a gift card, no matter what their policy says. And, if you can’t get a partial or full refund on your gift card, there are many ways to get some money back by selling your card in person, electronically, or by mail.

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