It's Just the Coffee Talking: My quest to figure out how to use a virtual prepaid debit card for a rebate we got, without losing even $2 of it back to the issuing bank

Good Morning Coffee Friends!

When you get a refund from a company today, it's often in the form of a prepaid debit or credit card.  

I want to chit-chat about how stupid and difficult it can be to use these things.

I've gotten them from my loan company when I paid off my car and there was a refund due, Direct TV when we quit service with them with credit refunded back to us, and for other things; but they sent me the actual, plastic card.  A pain in the butt (I'd prefer direct deposit into my account) but with a card, they are easy to use.  

The most recent one was a $50 rebate.  The rebate is a virtual card - with a debit card number, expiration date and 3 digit security code - just like a regular card but no card.  

It's digital so you can't use it in a retail store, and basically can only use it online.

Not a big deal, I thought at first.  Until I wanted to use it.

I had some things I needed from a company and was ready to order so I got to the check out and prepared to use the card only to realize;  the card is prepaid with $50 on it.  

I can't use it for an $85 order because it will be refused and my order would be canceled.  The online checkout process allows just 1 form of payment.

Retail stores allow you to use 2 different forms of payment.  You simply tell them you want to split the transaction.  $50 on this card, and $20 on that one, etc.  Not many online sites let you do this.

I went to another company in which I also needed to place an order.  Their check out process also only allowed 1 form of payment.  The items I needed came to more than $50.  A third company.  Again, one form of payment allowed and if my total was (for example) $43 then I would be left with $7 on this stupid card and I can guarantee I would LOSE THAT MONEY because how in the heck am I going to find something online to buy with an exact amount and only one form of payment allowed?  

I will lose any money left on the 'digital' card after June of this year.

I checked the card's site to see what the small print was for adding it to an account like PayPal, ApplePay, etc. - could I upload it to a digital wallet?

Nope.  It said their cards don't typically work with any sites with digital wallets, just many retail and online sites.

I figured I'd try Amazon.

My quest became to find the items on my ongoing list that I could get from Amazon... and see if I could play a 'game' of finding all the things that with tax and fees would amount to exactly, precisely $50 - but it also had to be things I actually want/need of course.

I settled down for the online 'fun' with a cup of coffee and got busy.

1 1/2 hours later I had gotten my total to within $1.47 of the $50!

But you guys...  it wasn't good enough.  I was NOT going to lose that $1.47 and give up money - no matter how small.  It is the principal of the thing!  This HUGE financial banking company that issues these cards COUNTS ON PEOPLE to not be able to use their cards, or not use them completely and leave $22, $15, $3, $83 on their cards and not be able to use them or FORGET about them.  It adds up!  They probably make {hundreds of} thousands of dollars this way. 

I would not let them win. 
I would NOT give them my $1.47.

I exited out and went to bed.

The next day I had an idea.  The rebate was in my husbands name, so I had to get him involved in my next quest.  

That night I had him log into his Amazon account. 
We added the prepaid debit card to his payment options. 
We checked the "make this my default" payment option.
Then he clicked to purchase a gift card.
He bought me a gift card, which sends to my account email - for exactly $50.
We waited and....
I got the gift card.
He got an order confirmation.
I got to add the gift card to my online account to spend on a future order.

We did it.

Got every penny of that $50 rebate and didn't have to give up any of our money to the bank that issues the rebate and refund cards.

We won the quest.



UPDATE:  To "Anonymous" who commented they have a $5.71 virtual card as well they can't figure out how to use - I think you could try using it as a payment option in Amazon to 'reload' your own account

I was going to try to do that to use up ours, but it was in my husbands name, and I didn't want to muck up the waters so that is why we uploaded the card as a payment option in HIS account and then he bought a gift card with it.  
I think if you use your card as a payment to reload a gift card account to yourself it might work!  (AND it let's you load whatever amount you want so you could do $5.71!)  Just make sure that particular card is the one checked to use as 'payment' in your account first.

Let us know if it works!!!








1 comment:

  1. I just got one last week. The result of a class action lawsuit from something or other I signed on for ages ago. The virtual card amounts to $5.21. Can figure out how to use it. Not worth the bother. They win.


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