Swimming in tiny gift card balances
February 22, 2010 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Any tips for getting tiny balances off of pre-paid rebate Visa cards?

I seem to collect various gift and rebate Visa cards. I'm very good about writing the remaining balance on the back of the card after each use, but I now have a collection of these things with sub-$3 balances.

I was hoping to use the cards to buy a single item (by using multiple cards for one purchase) on Amazon, but I can't seem to find a way to do that. My other alternative would be to buy credits on something like iTunes, but it looks like $5 is the lower limit for gift cards and the like.

Any ideas on how to use these things for a single purchase instead of my current strategy of paying ever decreasing values?

Does anyone know of an online retailer that allows payment to be divided between more than one card?
posted by foggy out there now to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
No, but the in-person ones will usually do it for me - just charge part of a purchase on one card, and the rest on another. I've never asked anyone to do more than one small cash card at once, but a nice enough store probably would.
posted by EllenC at 8:55 AM on February 22, 2010

In the past, I've simply used up the last bit at the grocery store as partial payment toward a larger purchase. Cashiers do this all the time, and even some self-checkout machines can do it (usually you hit "no" on the card-swipe when it asks if the total is OK and then it will prompt you for how much you would like to charge instead).
posted by Nothlit at 9:05 AM on February 22, 2010

The grocery store I use will do this.
posted by amtho at 9:05 AM on February 22, 2010

If you go in person to a place like Starbucks, you can have them load all of them on a single giftcard. (unfortunately, I tried it on their website, and it didn't work, so you have to go in person
posted by reverendX at 9:08 AM on February 22, 2010

Pay a bill online with it, and they will ask exactly how much you want charged to the card.
posted by soelo at 9:19 AM on February 22, 2010

Also, see the answers given in this previous question.
posted by soelo at 9:22 AM on February 22, 2010

There are some stores where the payment device asks you if you want the total all on the card you swiped. Press "no" and you can choose how much goes on that card, then swipe another. I know the Target stores around here do that.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:39 AM on February 22, 2010

Target is great for this- I've used 3 different cards to pay for a single purchase. It's very easy and you don't even have to tell the clerk what you are doing - just scan the card, and then it will ask you for another form of payment to cover the balance due. Repeat until paid in full.
posted by bahama mama at 9:41 AM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

> Target is great for this
Seconded. I had a few target cards, we just kept running them through and it took out that amount ($10, $3.75, etc). Then when I'm all done, I use a normal payment (cash, credit card) to knock out the rest. Easiest way to use up these balances is at a store like target that will do this easily. A lot of smaller retailers are not setup to handle partial/specific charges.
posted by jumpfroggy at 12:45 PM on February 22, 2010

A cautionary note (since I got burned by this, it could happen to others): If you're using more than one gift card, you increase the chances of error by the clerk. This happened last month to me; instead of taking the full amount off one card and the balance off the next, the clerk took the full amount on both cards (even though the total purchase was less than the value of both cards).

The end result of which meant that, instead of me getting a partial charge on the mall gift card and a remaining balance to use anywhere in the mall, I got store credit at a place I seldom use.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2010

« Older Place to buy cigarette cartons (EU) online?   |   Why does one side of my headphones keep dying? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.