Buy unwanted gift vouchers and gift cards at discounted prices, then use them to double up on other sales and promotions.
* Update 7/2/19 – It looks like Zeek is in financial trouble so I’d avoid using it until we know more *
*4/3/19 – The company has gone bankrupt and the websites and apps no longer work. Apparently the creditors are looking to get new buyers though I wouldn’t hold my breath. If you have credit on the account then it’s worth contacting your credit card provider (quoting Section 75, though you need to have spent more than £100 in a single transaction) or debit card provider (via the chargeback scheme if the order was less than £100).
*18/3/19 – It looks like the company has completely shut down now, but there’s no information anywhere about how customers can access their vouchers or try to claim credit. I’ll keep looking for news.
I use Zeek a lot. So much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve bought more discounted gift cards than anyone you know… which possibly gives away the verdict at the end of this review. Yes it’s good.
However there are a few things you need to know to make sure you don’t get caught out, and a few ways you can maximise your savings.
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How Zeek works
The principle behind Zeek is very simple. People can list gift cards and vouchers they don’t want and people can buy them.
Most of these vouchers are discounted, ranging anywhere from 1% or 2% to 20% and beyond.
There are transaction fees for both buying and selling.
You can either download an app, or use the website.
How I use Zeek
The great thing about gift cards and vouchers is most of the time brands treat these as cash. Which means you can use them alongside other deals and promotions.
So for example, I’ve previously purchased an Odeon gift card with 20% off and used this to buy cinema tickets with the Meerkat Movies offer. Normally you can’t combine this 2 for 1 ticket deal with any other discount.
Likewise I’ve used gift cards and vouchers on top of sales and promotions at the likes of John Lewis, Amazon, Ticketmaster, Interflora and Space NK.
I tend to look at Zeek a few times a week to see if my favourite brands have any decent discounts. If so, and if the expiration dates are far enough away, I’ll buy them ready for when I need to use them.
I’ll also take a look before I shop. In the January sales I saw an item in House of Fraser we were after. I checked Zeek and I managed to pick up a voucher with a 6% discount.
I prefer the app as it’s easier to see the brands I’ve favourited and scroll through those deals, and you can also take photos of gift cards you are selling. However, I do use the website to access digital codes from my Zeek Wallet.
Buying gift cards via Zeek
What brands are on Zeek and what are the discounts like?
There are a huge variety of retailers listed. From Amazon to Asda, and from Zizzi to Zalando.
The problem is they aren’t always available and discounts vary massively. So one day there could be loads of iTunes codes at 15% off and the next day none at all.
Some brands are almost always listed. But these tend to be from “bulk sellers” who must get special listing deals as the discounts might only be 1% or so.
In fact on the whole the discounts are smaller now than when I first used the app in 2015. Though a large part of that is likely because there’s more competition for those one-off bargains.
Even so, I still manage to pick up decent reductions. In the last month I’ve grabbed some top deals including 10% off a £50 Ticketmaster voucher, 25% off at Everyman cinemas and 8% off a £100 John Lewis code.
Plus you can get larger discounts via promo codes and using payouts from cashback sites (more on these later).
How much does it cost to buy a gift card on Zeek?
This is one of my big frustrations with Zeek. A 30p transaction fee was introduced last year for e-vouchers and codes, which reduces your saving, particularly on smaller value vouchers and those with lower discounts. Keep an eye on this as for some brands, such as Amazon, it’s 1%.
At the same time a £2 delivery charge was added for any vouchers sent in the post. This makes it highly unlikely you’ll get a good deal on physical cards, and sadly some brands are only sold this way – including Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
In fact it can make it more expensive to buy one of these gift cards than direct from the shop! A quick example: Tesco gift cards tend to only come with a 1% discount. So that’s 50p on a £50 card. But with the delivery fee it’ll cost you £51.50!!
Yes, of course Zeek isn’t doing this as a favour and obviously needs to make money, but I think this £2 charge in particular is too much.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy physical cards. If the discount is big enough then it can still be worth it. I picked up a £100 One4All card recently with a 10% discount. The £2 charge effectively reduced it to 8%, but that’s still something I was happy with.
Boosting your Zeek credit
Right, so Zeek is a good but sometimes limited place to get extra discounts. However even those ridiculous 1% savings can be increased. Here’s how.
- The first time you use Zeek, add the code CLEVERCASH and you’ll save £5 extra. There’s a minimum spend of £45.
- Look out for occasional promo codes. These appear on the app or website when they are running, and I’ll share any decent ones I spot in my weekly newsletter.
- Get your cashback from Quidco and TopCashback paid out as Zeek credit. This comes with a 15% boost, so £50 of cashback is worth £57.50.
Is Zeek safe?
As with all resale sites there’s a risk that you won’t get what you order. I’ve had a tiny fraction with the wrong expiration date or different amounts loaded to the codes.
However your purchase is protected by a one-year money back guarantee. When I have had to ask for a refund it’s always been processed quickly. Of course you only get the money you paid, not the value of the gift card you were hoping to receive.
What to watch out for
Even if a discount seems amazing, there are always risks with gift cards.
If the shop goes bust or you don’t use the voucher before it expires you will lose the money. So only grab one if you’re sure you will use it.
Also make sure you read where you can use the gift voucher. Some retailers will only accept cards in stores or only online.
And watch out too if you’re thinking of buying multiple small vouchers. I do this a lot but some shops limit how many you can use. For example M&S allow a maximum of five and Space NK just one.
Don’t buy too large a voucher either if your purchase is much lower in value. You’ll just end up buying something you don’t want to use the credit. Oh, and some retailers won’t give any change if you don’t use the full value!
Finally, if you buy something with a gift card and return it, well you’ll get a refund as a gift card. This is why I’ve not used Zeek for anything which I think there’s a chance it might go back.
Watch my video for the rules you need to follow when you’ve got a gift card
Selling gift cards on Zeek
I tried this for the first time just after Christmas. It was surprisingly easy, though I did take advantage of a no-fee deal meaning I kept all money made from selling.
Still, even if you do have to pay a fee that’s better than having a gift card you know you won’t spend!
How to sell gift cards on Zeek
I used the app to take photos of the gift card. I had to add a few details including how much I wanted to charge, and then waited for my gift card to be approved. Really easy.
The card was approved within 24 hours and then sold really quickly. Since the card could be used online I didn’t have to post the card to Zeek.
It then takes 14 days for your payment to be sent.
What you can and can’t sell
It has to be a gift card or voucher worth more than £10 and less than £500. You can’t sell coupons or money off vouchers.
Though Zeek says any brand can be sold, I tried to sell a NOW TV voucher and was told it wasn’t accepted. Likewise it appears you can’t sell iTunes or Amazon gift cards.
How much it costs to sell on Zeek
Unless you are a bulk seller there is a minimum discount you have to offer. This seems to vary depending on the brand, but it used to be 7% (which makes the 1% and 2% discounts particularly annoying). a
On top of this are fees. How much these are depends on how you want to receive the money. You’ve four options:
- Zeek Choice: this is credit to spend on other Zeek purchases
- Amazon gift card
- Bank transfer
- PayPal transfer
There isn’t a set rate published on the Zeek website for each of these, but it’s clearly designed to get you to choose Zeek Choice. Amazon gift vouchers are the next best option, but still represent a significant reduction in what you get to keep. Personally I’d steer clear of getting the money paid to your bank or Paypal account.
Despite a few reservations, I still rate Zeek highly. I’ve been able to nab some fantastic deals. These work best when used alongside other promotions and offers.
Even if some discounts seem rubbish (and some are), you can max your discounts by combining with cashback site payouts – and don’t forget the first time user promo code (CLEVERCASH) to save £5.
Selling is something I’d be willing to try again, but be aware that even if you take the payment as Zeek credit you will lose some money. So maybe ask if any friends or family want to buy it off you at a smaller discount before trying app. That said, the more of us who sell cards on Zeek, the more cards there are for the rest of us to buy!