Gift Cards for Money: Service Lets You Swap For Cash

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LAKEWOOD, Ohio-- The holidays are here and so are the gift cards. You may have gotten one or two already, but what if you don’t want them? Well, now you can trade them in for money.

"Its' right here in the grocery store and I'm here anyways, so I might as well use the machine!" said Michelle Smith.

She’s trying out Alula for the first time; it's a machine that turns your gift cards into cash. They can be found in some Giant Eagle stores, like the one on West 117th in Lakewood.

"I wish I would've thought of it,” said Smith laughing.

Alula accepts gift cards from more than 150 retailers and will only take ones with at least $20 on them.

If it as approved, don’t expect a full refund. The machine calculates its worth and will offer you a deal. So for example, if you put one in for $50, you may only get $37 back. You can either take it or leave it.

"Sometimes the cash is better. You have to weigh your options. Every situation is different,” said Smith.

Other shoppers like Bruce Gilbertson agreed. He likes the concept.

"I still think it's a good deal, if you don't want the card. A little bit of cash is better than nothing,” he said.

Alula designed the machine with safety in mind. Not only does it require proof of identification, but there’s also a limit on usage. It’s all to help prevent any fraudulent activity.

"Anything that protects the consumer, I'm for it. I don't care. I'd rather have too much safety than not enough,” said Smith.

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