Published on August 10th, 2016 | by Chuck33
Buying Gift Cards on Raise.com – A Review
Buying on Raise.com
Raise.com 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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.