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Coinstar Exchange: How this mom exchanged her unused gift cards for cash!

If there’s one thing I love to receive, it’s gift cards. Unless, that is, they are for companies/restaurants/services that I don’t prefer, in which case they sit around collecting dust and I feel badly for wasting them.

So, when Coinstar Exchange contacted me about getting the word out about their service that exchanges unused gift cards for money, I was confused. Wasn’t Coinstar a self-service coin counting and processing machines? Absolutely but they are so much more.

You may have seen these new bright yellow kiosks that are located in many King Soopers and Safeway stores around Denver and the surrounding areas. The concept is as simple as the cash the kiosks deliver: instantly exchange your unwanted gifts cards and get a cash offer right in the grocery store.

I’m filing this under my “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” category.

After all, some reports indicate that as many as two-thirds of the adults in the U.S. either purchased or received a gift card last year, representing some $70 billion. Additionally, about $8 billion worth of those purchased gift cards go unused.

Coinstar Exchange accepts gift cards from nearly 150 retailers including Lowe’s, Best Buy, Target, Macy’s, Starbucks. The company sent me a $25 gift card from Red Lobster to test it out (an easy thing because I’m not a fan of the restaurant). The process was simple and I went to Coinstar Exchange’s website to find a nearby location, which turned out to be my neighborhood Safeway. Upon arrival, I started the process at the kiosk.

Step 1: Scan or swipe the gift card accept their offer.

Step 2: Verify your identity.  I was asked to scan my driver’s license, then a major credit. Note: your credit card will not be charged and debit cards will not work; I learned this the hard way after a nice conversation with the Coinstar Exchange service representative I called when my VISA debit card was repeatedly rejected.

Step 3: Insert your gift card.

Step 4: Print your cash voucher.

At first, I assumed I would receive the same amount of cash that the gift card was worth but various cards have different values associated with them. So for example, a gift card from Store A may return 75 cents on the dollar while a Store B gift card could only returns 65 cents.

And the amount of money I was offered from Coinstar Exchange in exchange for my gift card?

cashNot bad, considering the gift card would have gone unused. For $16.25, we  bought ice cream for our family from our favorite ice cream parlor–double scoops.

Now that is cause for celebration!

Mile High Mamas partnered with Coinstar Exchange on this promotion. All opinions expressed are our own.