CoinStar, which has kiosks that count coins and rent movies, has begun testing machines under the name Alula that would buy unwanted gift cards from their owners.
Using the kiosk is straightforward: Enter your gift cards (Alula takes more than 170 types); accept Alula’s offer, which ranges from 60 to 85 percent of your card’s face value; and take your voucher to a check-out line or customer-service desk at the grocery store to get your cash.
The kiosks are in place at 21 Giant Eagle grocery stores in central Ohio. These kiosks could prove to be beneficial for everyone concerned. The cardholders can exchange unused gift cards for cash, the stores and Alula make money brokering the exchange, and the issuers see their cards move from people who won’t use them into the hands of motivated customers. Alula provides an off-line option that parallels online gift card exchanges like plasticjungle.com.
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