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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: livetogive on September 12, 2013, 11:56:18 AM

Title: Help with a Visa prepaid card
Post by: livetogive on September 12, 2013, 11:56:18 AM
Hi All,

I've been scouring the web but coming up with mostly garbage.  I was recently paid in a $225 Visa prepaid card (annoying, I know, but the odd job paid > $55.00/hour so whatever).  What's the most efficient (read: fewest fees) way to use this thing?  I don't want to go out and buy something extravagant. I read in the fine print that if you try to swipe for more than the balance it will be declined.

My ideas so far: 
- Buy $225 worth of Amazon giftcards and just use those when I buy stuff on Amazon
- Since it has a pin, see if I can apply $225 towards a costco bill, although I don't usually spend that much in one trip
- Use it like a regular card until the balance gets low (and mark the balance), then figure it out from there
- pull $215 - $220 from an ATM and let the rest die in fees <---not my first choice

thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Help with a Visa prepaid card
Post by: mustacheme on September 12, 2013, 12:12:11 PM
I always just use the Visa prepaid card for my regular purchases, such as groceries etc anywhere that accepts Visa. The fees for the gift card were paid by the purchaser when they bought the card - i.e. a $100 card they paid $105 or so, and most stores don't charge you an added fee to use a credit card/gift gard.

Anymore, when you get down to the end of the card's balance the cashier can usually swipe the card and see the remaining balance. We did this recently at home depot. We knew the card had about $1 left on it, so I asked the cashier if she could tell how much was left on the card and charge that to it and I'd pay the rest cash. It wasn't a problem at all. She swiped the card, told me the balance, and used it up.

Two three years back, using the small leftover balances was a problem at some stores, but I haven't had an issue with that in at least 2 years, probably due to system updates.
Title: Re: Help with a Visa prepaid card
Post by: Charlotte on September 13, 2013, 05:54:28 AM
I use those types of cards for groceries. It's simple (at least for me) and I don't have to worry about returning an item and no longer having the card for the $ to go back on (some stores then will only give you store credit).
Title: Re: Help with a Visa prepaid card
Post by: FrugalToque on September 13, 2013, 05:57:35 AM
I'm going to argue/agree that this card should be used for your regular purchases.
Turning it into a series of Amazon gift cards is just going to encourage you to treat it like some kind of "found money" as some people say (i.e let's go buy things we wouldn't normally buy).
Use it for groceries, necessary clothing, that sort of thing, and don't let it tempt you into becoming a higher spending person.
Title: Re: Help with a Visa prepaid card
Post by: madage on September 13, 2013, 07:38:55 AM
I usually use these cards to pay my electricity and internet bills online. Might be different for you, but my electricity provider does not charge me a fee for a credit card payment. I keep track of the balance with a simple spreadsheet, so I can use them all up.
Title: Re: Help with a Visa prepaid card
Post by: Chris on September 13, 2013, 11:18:29 AM
I find the prepaid cards annoying for two reasons in particular:

1) The hard-to-use ending balance
2) Interfering with credit card points maximization strategies

For me, I use them to pay my car insurance. Paying car insurance doesn't count as an extra points category for any of my credit cards, and I can easily apply two forms of payment to my 6-month premium. Just pay the exact card balance, then make a second payment with a normal card to pay off the remainder of the premium.
Title: Re: Help with a Visa prepaid card
Post by: Kira on September 13, 2013, 08:49:05 PM
I bank with Chase and when I get one of these cards the tellers will work some kind of magic to charge the card for the amount that's on it and transfer that to my bank account as cash. Might try asking at your bank branch.
Title: Re: Help with a Visa prepaid card
Post by: unpolloloco on September 13, 2013, 11:48:14 PM
I'd just use it as cash until the balance gets low, then buy an amazon gift card with the rest.