Amazon PaymentsAMEX BluebirdUncategorized

How To Liquidate Prepaid Cards Via Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments

Note: Due to quite a few reader emails, this is a repost from 2013 so it may be old news for some of you. If you are trying to meet a $10,000 or $6,000 minimum spend then this is an easy way to liquidate any prepaid gift cards you may have purchased… 

I have talked many times about how awesome Amazon Payments is to “spend money” for free.

At a minimum, you should be able to “spend” $1,000 a month on your credit card and earn 12,000 miles a year for free.

If you have other family members & friends involved, you can easily “spend” $5,000 a month.

Now while you could hypothetically use the same card on all of your family’s Amazon accounts, that is just asking to get shut down…

While you certainly can use Bluebird, if you want to use Amazon then the workaround is to simply use prepaid cards. This way you can still “spend” $5,000 in a month but when you liquidate the prepaid cards on Amazon it won’t show up as all coming from the same credit card.

This is also useful if you have to “spend” a lot of money in a short amount of time. If you have the cash to float, you can simply buy a bunch of prepaid cards to hit your minimum spend and then slowly liquidate them over a few months using Bluebird and Amazon.

Using Amazon

Unfortunately when I first tried liquidating prepaids cards on Amazon, it kept giving me an error, so I thought Amazon knew it was a prepaid card and that was why it was being blocked.

Turns out Amazon was just “pre-authorizing” the cards, so when I tried to move $500 at a time, it probably “pre-authorized” the card for $500+, hence why I got the error.

Through some trial and error I figured out there is an easy way to override Amazon’s “pre-authorization” and liquidate prepaid cards for their full value.

Example

1. Check Your Prepaid Card Balance

For this example I will use a OneVanilla prepaid Visa card but the steps are applicable to any prepaid card that has debit functionality.

The first thing you need to do is check the balance of your prepaid card.

To do this, look on the back of your card. Normally there is a website you can check or a phone number you can call.

In my case, the website is OneVanilla.com.

Once you go to the website, enter the details of your card.

My OneVanilla prepaid card had a whopping $1.71 left on it.

It is also recommended that at this time you input your zip code on OneVanilla because you will need to enter it later on Amazon.

2. Enter Your Card On Amazon Payments

After you have your card balance, head over to Amazon Payments and log-in.

Once you  are logged in, click on Your Account, then Edit My Account Settings, and then Add, Edit, or Delete My Credit Cards.

Account Setting

Click on Add New Card

Manage Credit Cards

Go ahead and enter your card information here.

I use my real information, but it doesn’t really matter because it isn’t actually tied to your prepaid card.

My Account Settings-1

2 IMPORTANT THINGS:

1. Put in the WRONG expiration year. If the expiration is 2021, then put in anything else. This is extremely important or it won’t work properly.

2. Make sure the zip code matches what you have on your prepaid card’s website (if applicable). OneVanilla makes you enter a Zip Code on their site if you want to use the card for online purchases, so make sure the zip codes you enter match, or again it won’t work.

After you do all that, scroll to the bottom and hit Add Card.

Your prepaid card will now show up in your credit card section on Amazon.

Manage Credit Cards-1

Since we entered the credit card expiration date wrong in the step above, we now have to go in and fix it, so click on Edit.

Go ahead and change your expiration date to the correct year and hit update.

My Account Settings-2

Now when you go to your credit cards section, your updated prepaid card should be there.

Manage Credit Cards-2

You can now use your prepaid card like any credit card you have on file.

In my case, I only had $1.71 left on my card, so when I went to send money, I entered $1.71 as the amount I wanted to send.

Recap

Obviously you can use this technique with the $500 OneVanilla prepaid card or AMEX gift cards if you can still find them but use caution because not all of them may work with Bluebird or Amazon.

I am about to sign up for the INK Bold and Citi AA 100,000 mile offer so I will be using this technique to hopefully complete the minimum spend.

Let me know if you have any questions!

-Parag


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29 Comments

  • This was in my drafts folder, but thanks for saving me the time!

  • Piecerate says:

    I'm very interested in the friends and family angle for 5k. Any advice on how to work it and stay under the radar?

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Million Mile Secrets – No problem!

    @Piecerate – Just create accounts for them. You can then add your Credit Card to their account using their name and your credit card number. Once you do that, you can send money between friends and family.

  • Ivan says:

    Great job with this post! So if I have a family member open an amazon payments account they can use my credit card number with their name? Also is 5k the limit on certain cards with amazon or would u suggest use 5 different cards with 5 different people 5 different times? I promise I'm not trying to create. Tongue twister lol!

  • Al says:

    Fyi dans deals wrote about the expiry date trick months ago

  • Marc says:

    Maybe I'm confused about your amazon scenario with 5 people, but don't you have to have 5 people, with 5 different bank accounts to withdraw the funds back into? (assuming you want to not look too obvious by using 1 bank account).
    So are you saying you set up 5 accounts, 5 different family members, use your prepaid cards, and then withdraw the money to your personal bank account? Or do they all withdraw to their bank accounts and then pay you back?

    Also, as for liquidating the remaining money on prepaid cards, I've found an easier way is when you buy the VR at Walgreens, use the small remaining amounts first, that way you can get rid of all the small amounts.

    Or another way is If you have the Amex Target prepaid, you can load it using all the small amounts first, then use another card for the remaining. Seems easier to just have to swipe it.

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Ivan – Exactly, but there is still a $1k sending limit per a person, so 5 different card with 5 different people.

    @Al – Dan has got his finger on everything, I just tried to make it easier to understand.

    @Marc – Since they are friends and family, I have them withdraw it to their account and they just cut me a check or use Chase Quickpay. Great tips about the other ways to liquidate cards.

  • Marcus says:

    This is so useful. It sucks when you have a bunch of prepaid cards that don't have enough cash on them to use for anything. Your tutorial helps recover that value.

  • ASDFJKL: says:

    What is the purpose of the wrong expiration date? Why is that necessary?

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @ASDFJKL – It makes sure Amazon can't try and "pre-authorize" the card.

  • suek says:

    Is putting gift card money on your Amazon paymernts account and then sending or just depositing it into your bank account completely seperate from the credit card monthly sneds and withdrawals? One doesn't effect the other does it?

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Suek If you use the gift card trick to send money, then it counts towards the $1,000 monthly limit. I'm not sure if you can use it to fund your account and then deposit it directly.

  • Enigma says:

    This scheme doesn't work for Amex gift cards and for visa and Mastercard you don't have to do this trick of entering wrong expiry date. Even without that it's work fine as amazon doesn't do any authorization on visa gift cards. For amex gift card as soon as you update the expiry amazon will put a $1 authorization charge and you cannont avoid ti using worn expiry trick.

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Enigma – I haven't tried it with AMEX since I don't have any AMEX Giftcards to try it out with but I'll take your word. I have tried Visa Giftcards from Chase without the trick and it always blocked them from being processed.

  • Miles Momma says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing this great tip! You article is very well written. I'll refer my readers to check it out.

  • Mario says:

    Am I doing something wrong? It is telling me that I can't send to my own address. How do I liquidate?

  • Frequent Flyer University says:

    @Mario – Yes, you can't send it to yourself. You have to send it to someone else. I send it to my friend.

  • Angelina says:

    This is an awesome post – thanks!

  • Elsa says:

    This is great information but wouldn't it be easier to just use up small balances at the grocery?

  • varda says:

    found a great idea for the vanillacard on
    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/frequentmiler/2012/06/21/how-to-finish-off-gift-cards/

    buy yourself a giftcard on amazon for the exact amount left on the card, and just apply it to your account.

  • duffman says:

    hello – I am going to Lowe's tomorrow to burn 1k worth of Lowe's credit on gift cards to hopefully liquidate through AP. You mentioned OneVanilla – if I need to buy from Lowe's which gc do you recommend? I don't care much about t-cost or bonus points.. Really just interested in the best way to liquidate the Lowe's gift cards.

    Cheers,

  • Rags says:

    I have $400 worth of Target giftcards. Tried figuring out how to liquidate them without much cost but am drawing a blank. Any tips / ideas ?

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  • Lauren says:

    Hi there,

    I have done this with Amazon in the past, but I am wondering if this still holds true or if they have changed their policies in order to prevent this. Thanks for all the information!

  • Dwayne says:

    This is why programs get discontinued so heavy nowadays. Blatantly trying to defraud the program… This is stupidity and ruins transfer methods for other people. They get stricter and stricter with the use of prepaid cards on Amazon and other websites now due to DUMBASSES such as yourself. Cool, you got some free miles… Whooptido.

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