eBay e-Gift Cards
eBay gift cards have long been available as physical gift cards via GiftCardMall on eBay. Recently, a new eBay store called Paypal Digital Gifts started selling lots of e-gift cards, including eBay e-gift cards.
I was surprised to learn that although physical gift cards sold by GiftCardMall do not earn portal cash-back, eBay e-gift cards sold by Paypal Digital Gifts do earn portal cash-back. Whether this is intentional or not, it’s been working to trigger the portal cashback. (It does not earn eBay Bucks, however.)
This means that we can purchase eBay e-gift cards by going through the portal and earning portal points/cash-back. We can then go through the portal again when we use the eBay gift cards on our eBay purchases and earn portal points a second time.
Of course this can stop at any time, but as of now it’s been working.
[See an update on this in the post: Using a Shopping Portal on eBay Gift Cards.]
My Gift Card Purchase
I bumped into this completely by mistake. I made a big order on eBay a couple of weeks ago. The order contained:
- $500 of Gap e-gift cards on sale for $400
- $200 of eBay physical gift cards
- $400 of eBay e-gift cards.
(The reason I was purchasing so many eBay gift cards was because I got targeted with a one-time 10% off code from eBay, and – to my surprise – it worked on eBay gift cards as well. Since the max discount was $100, I made a $1000 purchase to get the full $100 off.)
I went through the portal, TopCashBack in that case, in order to get the 1.5% cashback on the Gap e-gift cards. All non-eBay gift cards are eligible for portal cashback, including e-gift cards.
Imagine my surprise when I got cashback showing up in my TopCashBack account for both the $400 Gap gift cards and the $400 eBay gift cards. The $200 of eBay physical gift cards, correctly, did not receive cashback.
In order to verify that this would work even when ordering eBay e-gift cards alone, with nothing else in the order, I placed another order for a $50 eBay e-gift card, and this time again the cashback showed up.
I’m fairly certain this would work with all cashback portals, but my experiences were with TopCashBack. (I’ve been using TopCashBack even when ShopAtHome offers a higher rate, and then just filing a Highest-Cashback-Guarantee with TopCashBack. This way, I don’t need to deal with more than one portal. I’m considering trying out ShopAtHome, who also has a highest-cashback-guarantee.)
Remember that portals don’t usually pay out a whole lot on eBay purchases, and certainly not on gift card purchases made on eBay. Usually, we can’t get more than 1-2% on standard eBay purchases. It may not be worth the hassle to deal with gift cards for an extra 1%.
Currently, the ShopAtHome portal is offering 3% cash-back on eBay, and that’s the best rate I remember seeing recently. At the current 3%, I think that this could be a worthwhile deal. Specifically, for someone who knows their own spend pattern, and knows that they’ll likely be spending, say, $500 on eBay over the course of the next month, it may be worth the hassle of ordering eBay e-gift cards and then holding onto those until making the real eBay purchase.
- you get the portal points twice
- you can choose when to buy the gift cards at a time when the portal cashback is high.
Also, if you’re making a purchase on eBay, and you’re not in a rush at the time of purchase, you can first purchase the e-gift cards and earn portal cashback. After receiving the e-gift cards, you can go through the portal again and make the actual purchase you wanted to make.
- E-gift cards don’t always come instantly. The double dip may not work if you see a flash sale on eBay, since by the time the e-gift cards come, the sale will be over.
- eBay e-gift cards usually take a few hours to become active, even after you received them.
- If the cash-back doesn’t post automatically, you won’t be able to post a missing-cashback-claim, since according to the terms there’s not supposed to be any cashback on eBay gift cards.
- It may not be worthwhile purchasing certain items with gift cards, since you’ll be losing the credit card protections on the item. If I were ordering a laptop on eBay, I wouldn’t use this double dip. I’d put it on a credit card for added protections.
Additionally, I would only recommend this for someone who’s organized, and knows they won’t end up forgetting they have e-gift cards sitting in their in-box. One of the disadvantages of e-gift cards is that they’re easy to forget about due to the lack a physical object in hand.
I don’t buy too many regular items on eBay, but I regularly purchase discounted gift cards on eBay. Often GiftCardMall, and now Paypal Digital Gifts, offer great deals on gift cards. We’ve recently seen $100 Staples e-gift cards for $90, $100 Gap e-gift cards for $80, and many more such deals.
- $50 Jiffy Lube gift cards for $40
- $50 Applebee’s e-gift cards for $40
- $25 Applebee’s physical gift cards for $20
- $100 iTunes for $85.
Since I expect there to be numerous other gift card deals coming up in this Holiday season, I may lock in a few hundred dollars in eBay e-gift cards in order to get the double dip. Especially, at the current 3% rate from ShopAtHome. I’ll end up getting portal points x2, plus eBay Bucks, on top of the already discounted gift cards that are being sold. I’d rather have the gift cards ordered already, so I don’t need to worry about missing out on the sales.