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Morning Money Matters: Service coming soon to pay bills with gift cards

Wednesday, June 1,2011

Have you ever gotten a gift card and thought, "wow, I really appreciate this, but I sure could use that money to pay the bills?" Soon, you can. The new service through Plastic Jungle is not available now, but it will be in the next couple of months, When it is, you can use those gift cards you have in your wallet or sock drawer to pay a lot of bills. You can put the money towards things like your power bill, mortgage, or even your car payment.

Plastic Jungle is the web's largest gift card exchange company. It gives you the choice to convert gift cards into other forms of spending power including cash, online balances to use for purchases at the millions of merchants that accept PayPal, Facebook Credits, and more. Now, they are teaming up with a bill pay company called Charge Smart to help you put those unredeemed cards to use when it comes to your budget. Experts estimate there's currently $30 billion worth of unused cards out there. If you choose to use one on bills, you won't get the full amount on your card, but it's pretty close. The company says you can get 92% of the value of your card. (So, for a $50 gift card, you'll get $46.) The amount you're guaranteed, though, will depend on the demand for that particular card.

Again, the bill service with Charge Smart will be available in a couple of months. I'll let you know when it is up and running.

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