Calgary

Gift card swapping site lets people trade or donate them to charity

If you received a gift card over Christmas that you don't think you'll use, there is an alternative to tucking it away and forgetting about it.

Cardswap has teamed up with the Red Cross to help Syrian refugees

The website Cardswap allows people to cash in unwanted gift cards for up to 90 per cent of their value, swap them for different ones, or donate the value to the Red Cross. (Michael Conroy/The Associated Press)

If you received a gift card over Christmas that you don't think you'll use, there is an alternative to tucking it away and forgetting about it.

Frances Ho started the website Cardswap. It allows people to cash in their gift cards for up to 90 per cent of face value of the card, or to simply swap them for a different one.

Ho says the Canadian gift card market is worth about $8 billion — and about one in 10 of the cards sold in this country is never redeemed.

"You know, it's really the thought that counts," she said. "But a lot of times you get gift cards you just don't want."

Cardswap has also partnered with the Red Cross this holiday season.

Until the end of January, you can donate unwanted gift cards in support of Syrian refugees.

Calgarian Katherine Gusztak hadn't heard of Cardswap, but found the concept intriguing.

"Yeah maybe I'd do that, switch out some cards for more coffee ones," she said.

"I usually just re-gift them to my other friends."

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