It’s the holidays once again and many people are either using cash or credit to pay for their holiday expenses. Some shoppers are using prepaid credit cards to buy gifts, decorations and groceries. There is also a new way of gift-giving: sending gift cards to friends and loved ones in place of traditional gifts.
On this post, we present practical tips on how you can make the most out of your prepaid credit card and gift card this year:
Read the fine print. If you received a gift card as a present, be sure to read the fine print right away. Some gift cards require activation fees before you can use it for purchase. Find out which shops and establishments the gift card is accepted. You’ll also want to check the expiration date and be sure to use the card before it expires.
Spend the last cent. When shopping with a gift card, the price of item you want may not exactly match the worth of your card. Remember that if the price is less, no change will be returned to you. Don’t let the remaining few dollars go to waste. Ask the cashier if you can do a “split tender” transaction so you can spend the last cent of your gift card and pay the remaining balance due from your purchase with cash.
Stick with your limit. A prepaid credit card can be a great tool to set a definite limit on your holiday spending. However, once you run out of balance, nobody will be stopping you from reloading your prepaid debit card or making a new deposit.
To avoid going over the budget, plan your purchases early and make a list. Calculate your expenses so you’ll know exactly how much you need to place in your prepaid account. If an item is not on your list, don’t purchase it even if you see that the item is on sale.
Watch out for per transaction charges. Prepaid credit cards usually impose a fee for every transaction made. To avoid these charges, plan your purchases and don’t forget your shopping list so you don’t need to make frequent trips to the counter.
Avoid fraudsters. Fake prepaid credit cards and counterfeit gift cards are common these days so you want to get a card only from a reliable resource. If you want to purchase a gift card online, see to it that you buy only from a dedicated gift card reseller.
When applying for a prepaid credit card online, make sure that you are on the official website of the prepaid credit card issuer. Some scammers may set up “phishing websites” that are made to look exactly like the genuine issuer’s site to trick consumers. You can check the security of the page from its URL. A secured page must begin with URL “https”, instead of the usual “http”. You should also see a locked padlock icon on the bottom corner of your browser.
About the Author
Tara Tiemann is the credit specialist for http://www.go-prepaid.com. Which is a resource site for people who want to live debt free! If you are on a budget, using a prepaid credit cards and prepaid debit cards can save you big money!