Problem #: Not Always Easy To Use
Clarks second problem with Visa gift cards is that a lot of people say its difficult to use up the entire balance on the card, especially when theres only $5 or $10 left.
Although the cards can be used at millions of retailers where Visa debit cards are accepted, both online and offline, there are times when purchases are declined.
For example, a member of Team Clark received a Visa gift card that was disabled at gas pumps and had to go inside the station to use it.
Restaurants can also be tricky. Some of them authorize an additional temporary 20% gratuity charge to your bill, but the actual charge is the price of the meal plus any gratuity you add.
If your bill is $50 before tip, your $50 gift card may be declined due to the preauthorization hold.
Hotels and car rental companies also place preauthorization holds. You must always make sure you have enough money on the card to cover the purchase amount and the hold.
Explanation of pre-authorization holds from the terms and conditions:
When making a purchase at a merchant that provides certain services or accepts tips, a preauthorization hold may be placed on your card for the estimated total price of your transaction.
This estimated total price will be for an amount greater than the initial purchase, 20% or more, to allow for tips, incidentals or additional services and will reduce your available balance.
How To Apply For A Prepaid Credit Card
Getting a prepaid card is extremely easy. Sometimes all you need to do is walk into your nearest Canada Post or a Walmart and pick one up. Most often, however, you will need to visit a bank or fill out an online application. You can also do this over the telephone. You can choose from traditional banks, banks operating only online, or other service providers such as Canada Post.
When applying online for prepaid credit cards in Canada, you will be asked to fill out a form with your name and address and supply a government-issued document confirming your identity, such as a drivers licence or an identification card. Prepaid credit cards are designed so that there are no hard credit checks or minimum income requirements. For some, even not being a resident isnt an issue. Most likely, you will get approved.
The waiting period is different from one card provider to another. On average, you will have to wait for around 5 to 10 business days, after which you might need to activate your card online.
Last but not least:
You should inform yourself about the fees upfront. The providers are required to give all fee information needed beforehand. So, read the packaging well if you are buying the card in a store or go through the website and check for fees and policies before ordering.
Retail Or Store Gift Cards
Often referred to as closed loop cards, retail gift cards are limited to the store or store chain that issues the card. Although store gift cards are only good for a specific retailer, theyre often a better value because the money you put on the card is the exact amount the recipient has to spend at the store. Store cards rarely come with activation fees or inactivity fees. And since almost every retailer carries a branded gift card, its a breeze to find something for even the pickiest person.
The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act, passed in 2009, provides that gift cards cannot expire within 5 years from the date they were activated and generally limits inactivity fee on gift cards except in certain circumstances, such as if there has been no transaction for at least 12 months.
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When You Get A Give A Gift Card
- Put it somewhere youll remember it. If the back of your desk drawer is where gift cards go to die, find a more visible spot like the organizer on top of your desk. Or you can even set a reminder on your digital device of the location so you know exactly where it is.
- Make a plan to use it this month. If its an experience-type gift card, such as for a restaurant, spa, or museum, make an appointment or a reservation right away so you get to enjoy it.
- Dont go more than a year without using it. Yes, you should have five years before consequences ensue, but that wont mean much if the store goes out of business or closes the location nearest you.
- If applicable, load it onto an app. Gift cards from places like Dunkin Donuts, Uber, Apple, or Amazon can be redeemed as a credit to your account to be used at your leisure. That way, you dont have to worry about misplacing the physical card or not having it on your person when you could use it.
Easy Ways To Get Free Gift Cards In Canada
Theres something about gift cards that I just love, especially from stores that I want gift cards from. When you get to grab a gift card for FREE, it is a magical feeling. I feel that gift cards give you permission to treat yourself or treat your family without feeling guilty about spending the money. This is why I love to get free gift cards in Canada.
To be honest, I wouldnt feel as good about being gifted $10 in cash as I do about being gifted $10 in a gift card . The $10 in cash gets squirrelled away somewhere, but the $10 in gift card dollars gets saved for a special occasion or used more thoughtfully than the $10 cash. Thats how I roll with gift card gifts, anyway.
Here are 5 easy ways to get free gift cards in Canada:
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Fees Hiding In Plain Sight
Each prepaid cash card has its own sets of rules and fees unique to them. Some offer a grace period, often of 12 months, before such charges kick in. Charges can include a monthly maintenance fee, a fee to check a card balance or even to make purchases.
Information specific to the card is required by federal legislation to be included in the product packaging. In addition, the card itself must also include how a consumer can access the information electronically or by telephone.
A complete list of fees and rules for prepaid cash cards can be found on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website.
While Visa and Mastercard declined to comment for this story, both said that despite having their logo on the card itself, they do not decide the rules and fees for it. They simply provide the network on which the cards are used.
For Moorhouse, it’s an exercise in becoming an informed consumer.
“We’re very used to agreeing to things without fully reading them,” he said. “So just make sure that you’ve read and fully understand the terms and conditions that you’re agreeing to when you activate that card.”
In cases where a business or retail location has closed due to bankruptcy, gift and cash cards often become worthless.
“From a practical perspective, you’re pretty much out of luck because by the time that all the secured creditors get their money there really is nothing left for any unsecured creditors.”
General Purpose Gift Cards
Often referred to as open loop gift cards, general purpose gift cards are typically issued by the four major credit card networks: American Express, Visa, Discover and MasterCard. They can be used anywhere for almost anything. Thats what makes them a popular choice for people who want to give a gift but arent sure exactly what store the recipient likes. These types of gift cards tend to charge fees for use. The fees include an activation fee that typically costs a minimum of $3.95, followed by a $2.50 monthly inactivity fee if the card isnt use within 12 months.
What you have to remember is that general purpose cards are never worth the money you pay for them. When you put $100 dollars on a card youre paying $104.95 so youre paying more than the what the card is worth, says Harzog. She recommends reminding your recipient of the inactivity fees, so they get their moneys worth.
However, the convenience of being able to use the cards anywhere is an upside that many people are willing to pay a bit extra for.
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Use The Visa Gift Card To Pay Your Bills
The next method, which is as good as getting liquid cash, is using the gift card to cover your bills. This can be done with the free service called Plastiq as mentioned above.
You can do this in the following ways:
Pay large bills like your mortgage, car payment, and more
Since you would have used cash to pay for the installments of loans like your car loan or mortgage, using the card is as good as cash.
Some companies, such as Plastiq, allow clients to settle certain bills through credit cards.
And, since Visa cards are perceived as credit cards, you can use them with companies that allow payment by credit.
However, you should know that since the company will treat the card as a credit card, the card will incur slightly fees. Its completely free to sign up and try.
Pay everyday bills
Besides using the cards for larger bills, you can also use it to settle regular bills or, better still, make some local purchase with the Visa gift card.
This is possible since, in most cases, Visa gift cards are acceptable in stores that accept normal Visa cards.
Also, billers who accept the use of credit cards will, in most instances, take the gift card as payment.
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Use It To Buy A Money Order
Stores like Walmart as well as certain grocery stores will let you buy money orders using your Visa gift card. That said, the availability of this can vary, so check if this is an option in your area.
But once youve done this, the money order can then be deposited into your bank account to be used as straight up cash.
One thing you should keep in mind, however, is that some banks have had a habit of shutting down accounts if too many money orders are deposited. As such if you do choose to do this, perhaps combine it with some of the other options on this list.
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Can Prepaid Cards Build Or Establish Credit
We say that prepaid cards cant help increase your credit because they dont have a credit line assigned to them like a credit card. You can utilize the money you load onto the card generally from your account, through direct deposit, or with cash, but you dont borrow any from the card issuer in the process.
Since theres no credit relationship, theres nothing to report to the credit bureaus, which produce your credit reports. That said, prepaid cards can be considered with your money management. For example, you can load a set amount of money onto your menu each week to help your budget.
Also, some cards enable you to add sub-accounts for a spouse or kids. Most prepaid cards have monthly fees, and some even charge you for loading cash onto the card at local retailers. If youre considering a prepaid card, do your diligence to find one that suits your needs without high costs.
Best Prepaid Credit Card Canada Guide
Its not a credit card. Its not a debit card. Its not a gift card.
What is it then?
Its a prepaid Visa or Mastercard that has many of the conveniences of credit and debit cards. However, it offers added security and protection from others as well as from yourself. You can never go into debt using prepaid cards because you will only be able to spend as much as you have put in. So, its a great way to control your overspending and shopping impulses.
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Go To A Gift Card Exchange Kiosk To Trade It In
One super easy way to convert Visa gift cards to cash is to find a Gift Card Exchange Kiosk. Theyre usually yellow and you can often find them in shopping malls and supermarkets.
All you have to do is enter your gift cards information into the kiosk, which will include things like the set of numbers on the front of the card.
Youll then be presented with a range of offers for you to decide which one you want. Once youve made your selection, youll be issued a voucher to take to the cashier to get your money.
How To Get Cash From A Vanilla Visa Gift Card
The answer to the question of how to get cash from a Vanilla Visa gift card is the same as how to convert any Visa gift card to cash: using one of the strategies mentioned in this article.
That is, while you cant get cash from a Vanilla Visa gift card directly, nor can you transfer money or withdraw money from your Vanilla Visa gift card, there are several workarounds that have the same outcome.
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Pay Your Bills With Your Visa Gift Card
Using your gift card to pay a bill is exactly the same as converting your Visa gift cards to cash although youll never actually get to see the money.
Just remember that because the Visa gift card is treated the same as a credit card, youll also incur any credit card fees, so make sure you do the math to confirm that its worth it.
How do you liquidate a Visa gift card by paying bills?
This can be done with any billing provider that accepts Visa credit cards for bill payments, as the Visa gift cards are treated exactly the same.
Not every single company will allow this, but youll almost certainly be able to use your card in this way for things like topping up your phone credit, buying groceries and gas or renewing your subscription at the local yoga studio.
The 9 Best Reloadable Prepaid Cards With No Fees
A prepaid card is a type of card that requires you to load with money to use it. You can use a prepaid card to purchase goods and services from online stores or at physical shops that accept the card services. Most financial institutions provide reloadable prepaid cards with no fees. You only need to recharge with a certain amount of money, and you are good to go.
A prepaid card works just like the debit card. However, the two are different in that a prepaid card has no connection with any bank account. You use what you have loaded at any merchant store accepting the card. On the other hand, a debit card links to your bank account. Therefore, when you use the card to buy goods and services, the spend money deducts from your account.
With a prepaid card, you have no limitation to buying goods and services only. You can as well send money to someone else using a checking account. What you do, you input the card number during checking out and enter the PIN after indicating the amount you wish to send. You can also buy gift cards online with a checking account from stores such as Amazon for anybody.
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Visa Gift Card Return Refund & Cancellation
Prepaid Visa cards are not returnable to Gift Card Granny. They cannot be redeemed or exchanged for cash, check, credit or another gift card.
If a recipient does not receive the Visa gift card, he or she should check spam folders, deleted email folders or automatic filters. If the card is still not found, contact our customer support team for assistance.
For additional questions regarding returns, please see our refund and return policy.
Buy Discounted Gift Cards On Ebay
There are two ways of buying gift cards on eBay:
Save On Popular Gift Cards With eBay
- Home Depot
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How Many Gift Cards Can You Get
With these kinds of sites, the number of Visa gift cards you can acquire will depend on how active you are on the sites. The logic is the more offers, surveys, tasks, and other activities you do, the more rewards you will get.
And the more rewards you get, the more gift cards you can redeem.
In theory, there is no limit to how many Visa gift cards you can get. But this will really depend on how much time you can spend on these sites.
And as you might have already guessed, the sites that reward more for less time spent will be the best sites to join since you dont have to invest a significant amount of time in order to get the gift cards.
These are the type of sites I will be listing. I will also include what each site can offer and how quickly you can earn from it.
In order to acquire the most number of gift cards, it is best to join several sites because they all offer different opportunities.
So, I would recommend you join around 5 to 7 sites for a start. This is a good number to target because it will allow you to earn a good number of gift cards without being too overwhelmed.