Draining Visa Gift Cards and Other Prepaid Credit Cards

Aug 27, 2012 by

I’ve always found gift cards harder to deal with than cash, as they force you to have another item to track. In the case of store-specific gift cards, they also force you to shop in a particular location. While cleaning my desk today, I noticed that I had a number of partially-used prepaid Visa gift cards. It’s a shame to let Visa keep the $2.71 that remained on one of them, but it also can be awkward to use a nearly empty card when making a purchase.

Fortunately, I figured out a solution. Amazon.com makes life relatively simple, as it lets you purchase a gift card of any size greater than 15 cents. There is no fee to receive an e-mail gift card code, and when you purchase an item worth more than your gift card credit, Amazon simply charges your credit card for the remaining balance. So, I looked up the amount of money remaining on all my Visa gift cards and then purchased Amazon gift cards to fully deplete them. Now, I have a sum of money in my Amazon account, rather than a large number of gift cards that need to be tracked. I’m a regular Amazon customer, so over time, I will spend down the balance. This is a lot better than having all those small amounts of money go to waste!

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