Prepaid bank cards like Visa, Amex, and Mastercard? Even better.
But all too often you’re left with a card that has a few dollars or even a few cents on it with no way to spend it.
Drive all the way out to Home Depot to spend $1.59? Not even worth the gas.
Worse, bank cards can’t be combined with any other payment method in many cases, making them close to unusable. Boooooooooo.
So, what to do?
Gift cards are easier to offload
1) Sites like CardCash will pay you up to 92% of the value of the card. Check to make sure that there are no minimums the site will accept (CardCash has none).
2) Or, move to the West Coast. The 8% of Americans lucky enough to live in the California, have fantastic weather along with a great law that requires stores to cash out gift cards below $10.00. Check your state policy here.
Prepaid cards can be sold to gift card exchanges as well. There are a few more creative options as well though.
3) Use the cards to buy Amazon gift cards which you can then apply to your Amazon account. No expiration dates, and no spending limits. And what can’t you buy on Amazon?
4) Pay yourself! Use square.com to cash out the gift card. Easy, convenient, cash. Drawback: 2.75% lost to payment costs. Also, a word of caution: Overuse can get your account flagged for fraud.
5) Use it in a store. Most cashiers can split payment between multiple options. Online, it’s a different story completely…
6) Get a Google Wallet card. They’re cool. Also you can add prepaid Visa and Mastercard gift cards directly to your Wallet account. Then you can use it to withdraw cash from ATMs or in stores. This is especially useful right now since Wallet waives the transfer fees [for the first $250. After that it’s 2.9% to transfer plus any prepaid purchase fee].
7) Signing up for an online service and just don’t trust them? Many sites require a credit card just to sign up. Keep a prepaid Mastercard or Visa on hand that has a few bucks left on it for use while signing up. Once you trust the website and service change it up with a real credit card.
Gift to a child. Remember how rich a quarter made you feel way back then? Make a kid’s day and give them your gift card, they’ll be thrilled. And you’ll feel good too.
Look inside the glass, those are all gift cards!