I often get gift cards (sort of like a debit card) and I usually end up using them to make online purchases. However, I often end up with a couple dollars change. Is there a way to deposit the remaining balance into some online account? Something like putting it in a paypal or Amazon account?
I've had good experience with stores splitting the transaction to clean out low-balance gift cards. It helps if I've known exactly what the balance on the card is.
As for being able to deposit the balance in an account, especially for another merchant, I doubt it. The merchant already has your money. They'll probably find a way to let you use the card for purchases from their store, but don't expect them to just release the balance to you or someone else.
Gift card laws vary state to state. In Massachusetts, if you use 90% of the original value, you have the option to request the rest in cash. I find gift cards to be a ripoff, in general. Even for a store I like, I don't like being forced to find something there. I was one of those lucky ones to be a SharperImage gift card holder when they went under. Now I try to use cards within a month of getting them.
You can buy Amazon.com electronic gift cards using a gift card of any amount. I recently had three gift cards each with a balance of under three dollars. I used them to buy three Amazon.com gift cards in three different transactions. Now I have a consolidated $5 and change to use the next time I order something from Amazon.
What to do with low balance gift cards. If you play Candy Crush Saga, Diamond Dash, Words with Friends, or any other game apps on Facebook, you are often prompted to buy gold bars, coins or something along that nature for a dollar or two by using a credit card. Some offer free stuff for just submitting a CC number and allowing it to be kept on file. These gold bars, coins, etc are used to to trade for 'Helps,' 'Power-Ups,' Easter Eggs,' and so-on. Why anyone would use an actual credit or debit card is beyond me. If Facebook ever gets hacked (probably when), you will only lose the balance on gift card.