September 19, 2011

Making Use of prepaid Rebate Cards

It seems that many companies have started giving pre-paid credit cards to compensate you for a rebate.   I just got a $40 rebate after buying some software on Newegg for $40.   When I get these prepaid rebate cards I often have a hard time finding a good place to use them.   I don't want to use smaller amounts of money and end up with an unused balance.  And its a hassle to use the card for part of a purchase and then pay the rest with another form of payment.  So sometimes these cards can sit in my wallet unused while I wait for a purchase that is the exact amount of the card. 

My solution to this is to use the prepaid rebate card to buy myself an Amazon gift card

With the Amazon gift card I can buy the gift card in the exact dollar amount of the rebate card and use up the whole rebate card quickly.   Then I can apply the gift card directly to my own Amazon balance to be used on whatever purchases I want to make at Amazon.

I could also send the gift card to a friend as a gift.

I buy enough at Amazon that this makes sense for me.   I know I'll use the gift card there and its easy to apply your gift card balance for partial purchases too.

Of course if you don't shop at Amazon much then you may not want to go this route.  But there are likely other merchants that you could use a similar trick with.  You might want to get a Best Buy gift card or an iTunes gift card.

Some of you are undoubtedly thinking that this is kinda stupid.   I'm basically just exchanging a generic visa cash card for a specific gift card.   Yes you're right this may not make much sense for some people.   But for me I it actually works better since I KNOW for sure that I can and will use the balance at Amazon.  If I kept a Visa prepaid rebate card on hand then I'd end up carrying around yet another card in my wallet, be faced with the hassle of finding a good place to spend $40 exactly and run the risk that I'd lose the card or not use it before it expires or they start charging me fees on it.   I don't have to deal with any of that when I get an Amazon gift card.  With Amazon gift card it is stored in my Amazon account and I'm sure I'll use the balance up within a couple weeks.

There are a lot of Pros of an Amazon gift card :
I know I'll use it
Can use partial payments and carry small balance to use on later purchase
Stored electronically and won't lose the physical card
No potential fees
Never expires
And one major Con :
Locked into buying at Amazon

Overall for me an Amazon gift card is better than a physical Visa / Mastercard rebate card.

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