Prepaid gift cards and one-time use credit cards are becoming increasingly common as payouts for mail-in rebates and other promotional offers. They are often used in incentive programs for new cell phones (e.g., “$100 mail-in rebate via Visa Check Card”), other electronics and more.
Unlike traditional prepaid cards which you can purchase directly from a bank, these cards come with lots of frustrating restrictions. For example, they typically have an expiration date after which the card is either no longer usable, or starts to deduct monthly maintenance fees until your balance is gone.
Even if you are diligent about using your card before it expires, you may still run into one of the trickiest restrictions of all. You can’t reload the cards, so you have to use up the balance EXACTLY in order to get the full value of the card. But this usually means trying to split transactions across two cards (this one and another) in uneven amounts which can be problematic (or impossible) for many merchants. For example, if you have a $6.24 balance on your prepaid card and want to make a $10 purchase, you’ll have to try to split the bill into a $6.24 charge (pay by prepaid card) and a $3.76 charge (pay by another card).
Needless to say this is a hassle that most people don’t want, so part of the card goes to waste. That’s exactly what these companies are hoping for. Here’s the LOZO: you can turn the tables on this tactic with a little help from Amazon.com.
Unlike other retailers who offer gift cards for sale in traditional $ increments (e.g., $25, $50, $100), Amazon is happy to take whatever you’d like to spend on a gift certificate, right down to the penny. Here’s how to do it:
- Visit this page on Amazon.com
- Select “E-mail a gift card”.
- Enter the amount equal to your current prepaid card balance
- Enter your own email address as the recipient.
- Pay for the Amazon gift card using your prepaid card. You will receive a receipt and a claim code by email.
- Visit this page on Amazon (or go to your account page and select “Apply a Gift Certificate/Card to Your Account”) and copy/paste the claim code. The funds will be in your Amazon account and automatically applied to future purchases.
Not only to you use up your prepaid card in full, but the Amazon.com credit will never expire! Take that, rebate company!
If you’d rather not redeem the rebate card for Amazon credit, try one of the following methods:
- Pay for gas. This is an easy way to use an exact amount, to the penny.
- Pay for groceries. Cashiers at grocery stores are used to figuring coupons and deals into your bill, so they’re usually more willing (and able) to split your bill into two parts: one for the exact amount of your prepaid card and one for the remaining amount that you can pay as you normally would (cash, credit, debit, etc.).
|A LOZO expert posted this tip.|