One of the best ways to save money is buying things when a store or company offers a rebate on an item. Years ago, the rebates would come in the form of a paper check that you take to the bank and deposit. Lately, more and more rebate vendors are sending rebates as a prepaid debit card.
While prepaid debit cards or gift cards with a Visa / Mastercard / Discover / AMEX logo work like any normal debit card, they can become a hassle when you have small amounts of money on them. Personally, I would prefer a check over a debit card because it is yet another piece of plastic I have to remember to bring with me and carry in my wallet.
To top it off, they also have an expiration date. If you don’t spend the entire balance before it expires, the rebate company gets to keep that money. A few dollars spread over hundreds of thousands of cards adds up fast. No wonder the rebate cards are getting so popular.
How Do You Spend A Prepaid Card’s Entire Balance?
The usual way is you can use the card when you purchase something in the store. When you try to buy something that costs more than the amount on the card, the cashier can do a ‘split tender’ transaction where the prepaid card is used to pay for part of the balance and you pay the rest with another form of payment, whether it is cash, check, or another credit or debit card.
I don’t know about you, but I hate to be that person who everyone is waiting on to check out, especially if I’m at the express lane. Like I said – a hassle.
In the past, I’ve also used it to buy gas. You usually can’t use it at the pump since the card readers will usually preapprove the card for an amount like $75 or $100 when you swipe it outside. So I’ve had to take note of which pump I’m at, walk into the store, wait in line, tell the attendant to put XX dollars onto that pump, swipe the card, and then walk back outside to the pump. I could have finished pumping my gas already if I had simply paid at the pump.
So Is There A Better Way?
Yes – Amazon.com!
Recently I got a $10 rebate back from buying ram at Fry’s for a computer upgrade. Instead of spending it offline, I immediately used it at Amazon. No more needing to remember using the card before it expires. I did not buy something that I didn’t need either. Instead, I loaded the entire $10 to my gift card balance for the future. Just about everyone will eventually buy something off Amazon and the gift card balance on your account never expires and there are zero fees.
To do this, log onto your Amazon account and click on Accounts & Lists on the menu bar.
Next click on Reload your Gift Card Balance on your Amazon Wallet
Enter the amount that’s on your rebate card, fill in your card details, and click Reload
That’s it. One debit card that’s completely emptied of every single cent that you can now throw out. Every penny counts.
What are some of the ways you’ve used the full balance on your rebate debit and gift cards?