Posted by Chuck on August 10, 2016
Gift Cards

Published on August 10th, 2016 | by Chuck


Buying Gift Cards on – A Review

Buying on is a marketplace where sellers list their unwanted gift cards for sale and buyers purchase them using Raise’s secure checkout system. All transactions are handled exclusively by Raise themselves, and you’ll never deal with the actual seller.

Raise offer an extensive line of gift cards, arguably the widest variety of any gift card exchange.

Someone who shops a lot can save a lot of money over time by using discounted gift card instead of paying full price. For example, a contractor might spend $30,000 per year at Home Depot. Buying Home Depot gift cards at a  5% discount would save them $1,500 over the course of the year. 

Bear in mind that you will lose out on any credit card protections when paying with a gift card in place of direct credit card payment. For some purchases, it might be smarter to pay with a credit card directly.

Electronic vs. Physical Delivery

The vast majority of gift cards sold on Raise are done so electronically. You won’t receive a physical card, just an electronic code. When it says “Egift” next to the card, that means it’s only usable online. If it also says “Voucher” next to the listing, you’ll be able to print it out and use it in-store as well.

There are also a few brands which are sold physically, such as gas gift cards, among others. Also, some store credits are not able to be used online and are sold as physical cards. All cards ship free, even physical cards.

It’s vital to look at how the cards will be delivered before making a purchase. If you need the gift card for an online purchase you’re about to make, a physically delivered card won’t help. Conversely, if you want to give the gift card to your kid as a budgeting tool, an electronic card might not be what you had in mind.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that not all electronic gift cards are instantly delivered, especially when you start off buying on Raise; they say to allow up to 24-hours for delivery. As you continue buying gift cards on Raise, the system gets used to your buying habits and will usually make the cards available instantly.

If you want the gift card immediately, try using the same IP address you’ve used for previous purchases, and the same credit card too. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know at the point of sale whether the card will be instant delivery or will take time; never rely totally on the instant delivery.

Money Back Guarantee

A big concern with buying cards on a second-hand exchange is that the gift cards aren’t 100% secure. Indeed, a small percentage of second-hand gift cards turn out to be fraud. Either the seller used the card after the sale, or more often, the retailer cancels the card since it was bought with a stolen credit card.

Luckily, all reputable second-hand exchanges guarantee the balance on the card. With Raise, it’s a one-year guarantee. They’ll refund you if the balance is fraudulently depleted within the year. Be sure to use up the card balance before then.  There are no returns on Raise.

All gift cards sold on Raise never expire, but the money back guarantee is only for one year from purchase.

Make sure to always have a backup payment method for in-store purchases to cover the small chance that the card will turn up as depleted at checkout.

First Time Purchase

If you’re new to Raise, poke around and try to find a new customer promo code, typically $5 off $25.

Also, know that when making your first purchases on Raise, expect a phone call for identity verification based on information from public records.

For your first $1000 in purchases from Raise, be sure to shop through your favorite shopping portal. You’ll usually get 1-3% back on those purchases. Some portal might even pay out beyond the first $1,000 in purchases – check the terms shown on the portal to verify.

Payment Options

Raise allows payment with Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover, Paypal, Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. Visa/MC/Amex gift cards work as well.

Once a credit or debit card is used, it’s automatically saved to your Raise account for future use. All your cards are stored there – be sure to select the correct one at checkout. You can delete a card here.

Purchase Promotions

Raise offers numerous promotions and sales over the course of the year.

Most weekends, Raise sends out an email with a promo code to get special discounts on select brands, typically 3% or 5% off.

Other promotions come up too, often around the holiday season. And occasionally there’ll be a promotion specific to their mobile app.

Raise Rewards – Referrals

Raise has a referral program called Raise Rewards which offers $5 per friend you refer with no limit to how much you can earn. Refer friends here, and find your Raise Rewards balance here.

Rewards balances are valid toward a future purchase on Raise. The balance will be taken off your price at checkout, automatically. But remember, all Rewards expire six months from the date they’re earned.

The new referred member will also get a $5 discount on their purchase (minimum $25 purchase, if I’m not mistaken).

Bulk Buyers

Raise offers a bulk buyer program for those who purchase $5,000 or more per month. Not much information is given on how the bulk buyer program works, but presumably you get a dedicated Raise representative to help you out, and possibly some discounts too.

Final Thoughts

Raise is one of the fastest growing gift card exchanges, with an overall pleasant feel and helpful customer service (including a chat feature, yay!).

Personally, I find myself buying on Raise more than other second-hand exchanges, even though the discount is sometimes greater on the others, mostly because Raise usually delivers instantly for me. (Your experience might vary on this point, and some might find other exchanges to be instant as well.) They also run promotions from time to time which catch my attention.

My biggest gripe about Raise is probably that there’s no way of knowing for certain whether the gift card will come instantly or not. It usually works for me instantly, but the uncertainty isn’t fun.

Let us know your own thoughts in the comments. Also check out our guide to selling unwanted gift cards where we cover selling on Raise, along with many other exchanges.

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1. I too find myself wiling to take a smaller discount to buy from Raise.

2. I’ve always had instant delivery. Always. Gift Card Zen has a feature where you can cancel the purchase if it is not instant. All the companies SHOULD have this.

3. LOL. don’t teach your kid about responsibility with a secondhand gift card. That’s a good way to make your kid cry.

4. Shout out to SaveYa. And Cardpool (if and only if you season your account a LOT). And GiftCardZen.

5. Cardcash can go die.

6. A lot of the cards marketed as online only CAN be used in store. They just don’t want to be responsible for a creeped out cashier.

7. Use all purchases within a week people!! Recipe for success. Buying a $150 McDonalds gift card at 25% off for a year of hash browns is a recipe for sadness. It WILL go bad.


If you want a happy experience with gift card exchanges, spend your time with Gift Card Zen and Raise and far away from Cardcash.


Just a little piece of info. I have a $400 aa gift card was wondering what i would get for it.
i tested it out as selling for $390. Result: after all fees i would end up with $331… hmm no thank you ill keep it for the next time i fly.

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue

On a side note Doc,

Just came across something new from Paypal that **might** ease the endless verification cycle when making purchases: PayPal One Touch. It was activated when I was checking out of Gyft

Speed through checkout

Hello ,

You’ve chosen to skip login with PayPal One TouchTM when making purchases from this device: Desktop Chrome Windows 7 NT 6.1.

That’s great, because now when you pay with PayPal on this device, you’ll skip login and can breeze through checkout on eligible apps and merchant websites. Every time you check out with One Touch, we’ll renew your “turned on” setting for that device. This means that as long as you’re using One Touch, you’ll keep skipping login until you decide to turn it off. We’ll still ask you to log in if you need to update your personal or financial info.

As always, you are protected by PayPal security and covered by Purchase Protection for eligible purchases.

If you share this device with a family member or friend, or are using a public computer, we recommend turning this feature off to avoid unauthorized purchases:

Log in to your PayPal account.
Click the Profile icon.
Click Security.
Click Edit next to “Stay logged in for faster purchases.”
Click Log out per device or Turn off One Touch on all devices.
For your security, if you stop using One Touch on a device for 180 days, we’ll turn it off for you.

For more on One Touch and how it works, take a look at our FAQs.



William Charles

Keep us updated.


I use raise and cardpool a lot
Not so much for the discount
But to reach sign up bonuses
So i will buy a lot of gas cards etc
Cardpool has better discounts
Especially H&M olive garden applebees and AMC
But raise has many more stores available in stock
Like cheescake factory cold stone shop rite and uniqlo and all gas stations.
Cardpool has a nicer app but it can take 2 days for an instant delivery.
One more thing i realized that a cardpool instant delivery has a barcode too so the cashier can scan it
A Raise instatnt delivery voucher only has numbers so some cashiers dont know where to type it in.
(Like in buffalo wild wings where they come with a little scanner/credit card swiper).
Also Cardpool shows you your balance and after you partially used it you can refresh it and it shows your new balance.


I wanna add something else
You can buy lets say a discounted staples gift card
Lets say $100 for $90
And then go to staples and use that to buy a $100 gas card.
You will never find 10% off a gas card on raise or cardpoll etc but this way you get 10% off gas.
(Not all stores allow you to buy a gift card with the stores gift card. You cant do that in shop rite but its no problem in staples).


I’ve all but ended any purchasing from Raise. I’ve purchased third-party gift cards for a few years now, probably in the hundreds. Raise, by far, has the highest rate of fraudulent cards and it’s not even close. We’re talking at least a dozen bad cards I’ve purchased over the years from Raise from various merchants. Yes, cardcash is second, but in my experience they’re a distant second. The reason? Raise doesn’t physically hold the cards and as such only verifies the balance prior to allowing the transaction to be completed. Oh and it’s worth mentioning that on one occasion the only reason I was refunded was because after a half dozen emails and over a month of waiting I threatened to file complaints / contact my CC provider for a charge back. Pretty amazing how after a month of no responses they replied within 5 minutes of email 7 and had a refund the next day! Here’s an example for you: I bought a Togo’s gift card from Raise a week ago. I received the card and proceeded to check the balance which was of course $0. I’m guessing the seller had Raise verify the balance and then proceeded to go to a store and use the physical card and drain the balance. To top it off, this was the second attempt at buying a Togo’s card in the last two weeks. The first attempt was cancelled by Raise for not being able to verify the funds. Should’ve been a heads up for myself, but equally as much for Raise which should’ve caught on to the fact that this batch of cards were probably fraudulent. Point being, even for cards that can only be used in store (such as Ross) you’ll want to stay far away from Raise and stick to other third-party sites like cardcash or cardpool since they are in possession of the card. A little known site that doesn’t get much traction is GiftCardMart. I’ve been a reseller with them for over a year. For those who are looking to buy gift cards you should ask yourself where do these cards come from? With GCM they only buy from bulk sellers. They’re not buying from some guy named Joe who works for Togo’s and wants to try to unload $500 in $50 gift cards to try to scam Raise and make a few extra bucks because he… Read more »


I notice GiftCardMart isn’t listed on GiftCardGranny, which is where I go to find the best rate. The Kohls cards I was looking for are 10% off at GCM which is better than the sites listed on GiftCardGranny, and they are all an even denomination which therefore look not to be someone’s store credit, etc.

I will need to keep in mind to check at GCM going forward.


It’s because GCM doesn’t want to pay affiliate commission to GCG. In the end that benefits buyers and sellers. They definitely fly below the radar though. You’re right about the even denominations too – most are virgin cards that passed through only a bulk seller -> GCM -> you. Also, any of us with an INK card will trigger 5x UR since they’re coding as office supplies.


Anthony, which gift card sites have you seen code as office supplies on INK?


GiftCardMart is listed as “Office Supplies” on my Amex Simply Cash statement. For whatever reason the statements don’t show the rewards for that current statement but rather the one before. I’ll have to wait until next month to go over my rewards to confirm it earned the 5% cash back. Confident it did but to be sure I’ll double check it next month. I know they trigger for INK cards so there’s a very good chance it’ll work for Simply Cash cards as well.


Hey anthonyjh21, did you ever find out if you got the 5% back on your GCM purchase? I got denied for INK, so SimplyCash would be the next best thing for purchasing those.


Good point anthony.
And thats why i like cardpool over raise
Because you can constantly see your gift card balance in the app
And refresh it all the time.

Christine B
Christine B

I’ve used Raise for about 6 months now, with significant savings. I often buy vouchers while in the store or restaurant with almost instant delivery. Also very little trouble with physical gift cards. I only buy what I intend to use in the next 3 months.

Had one occasion when my Panera card arrived with $0….quickly resolve/credited back via online chat. Another occasion bought a large voucher for Justice, used part, and the remaining balance disappeared; this too was quickly resolved via online chat.

I like that you can set alerts, but get annoyed when I get 10 alerts when someone posts a bunch of new cards. I also really wish the vouchers came with barcodes, so the cashier doesn’t have to key them in. I like that they remind you of interchangeable cards, like GAP/Old Navy/Banana Republic so ou can compare which gives the best going rate.

I generally only buy when the discount is over 5%, since I can get that back when shopping with my Biz AMEX at Staples, or right now at Lowes/Home Depot with Discover.



I have completely opposite experience with Raise. I bought 7 or 8 target egift card from sem for the first time in March. Cards are delivered quickly, and I tried to use them online immediately. 3 cards had zero balance.
I fist called them, the operator has and audacity to ask me if I am sure that I did not use them! After the numerous chatting and calling, they told me they could not give me the refund because they needed to “investigate.” and told me it would take about two weeks to investigate and issue me the refund as credits. I told them that I honestly never want to buy gift cards from raise and I wanted the check instead of credit. After long 7 weeks waiting, I finally received the refund in check.


You may already know this but (new) Lowes gc can usually be bought every 1-2 months with a 10-20% discount on eBay daily deals. Quite often you can stack with an eBay bucks offer, cash back and eBay gift cards purchased at 5%+ discount. I personally keep a few hundred in Lowes this way seeing as I burn through at minimum $1k/year in miscellaneous things that come with owning a home.


Can you buy miscellaneous gift cards at Lowe’s with a Lowe’s gift card?


Really excellent service. Stack with the AT&T More card and Prestige for another 4.8% off purchases. The app is extremely convenient and makes it so you don’t have to carry around physical cards for anything. Lots of high margin retailers routinely go for 20% off+


How is their referral program organized? – Do they give you a link, or you need to enter email of your friends?


(I mean, if it is a link or code for reference, you can leave yours in the post – I think many readers will gladly say their “thanks” to you by registering via your reference)

Dr. Jeff
Dr. Jeff

This is an evil company. They sell you discounted gift cards. So maybe if you buy a Subway card for $80, they give you a $100 gift card. Sounds good, right?!

My wife bought a $530 Apple gift card. It’s guaranteed for a year, but if you don’t use it for a year (and they already know that most people don’t) they keep the money. And there is no way to get it back from Apple or Believe me, I tried everything! That is a lot of money for anyone to lose!


does spending money on raise count towards purchases for opening rewards?


I’d think so.

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