Tips for Cashing Out Prepaid Debit Cards

By | January 31, 2011

Many rebates now come in the form of a Prepaid Debit card instead of a Rebate Check. Unlike a check, which is essentially cash, the Prepaid Debit Card cannot be cashed. There are also drawbacks on the Prepaid Debit Card, such as maintenance fees and expiration dates. Prepaid Debit Cards are often left alone for a long period of time, and the card loses value or expires useless.

I have struggled with how to best use these Prepaid Debit Card. Most of the time, I leave them in the envelope that came in and forget about them. Unfortunately, I cannot deposit the Prepaid Debit Card in the bank like a check. And because it is a set amount on the card, it is a hassle to make small purchases on the card and constantly keep track of the balance. I do not want to have the last transaction on the card denied because there are not enough funds. I also do not want to leave any change on the card.

So I need a way to take all the money out of the Debit Card and not worry about the maintenance fees and expiration dates. Then I thought of a great idea for myself — Buy a Gift Card from a store that I frequent. The gift card would be as good as cash for me, since I would be spending money in that store regularly.

Recently I received a $12 Prepaid Visa Debit Card from Verbatim for the purchase of a cordless mouse. I went to Rite-Aid and bought a store Gift Card for $12 using the Rebate Debit Card. Then I went shopping in Rite-Aid.

In Summary:

  • Prepaid Debit Card have maintenance fee and expiration date
  • Convert it to a Store Gift Card you frequent

Alternative Solutions:

  • Send yourself the money on PayPal with the Prepaid Debit Card. The funds can be transferred to your bank account. Note: PayPal charges fees. Check to see if PayPal allows Debit Cards.
  • Buy a transit card with the Prepaid Debit Card.  The funds can be use to increase the balance amount on your transit card, such as a train pass or Metrocard.
  • Buy a gas card with the Prepaid Debit Card. The funds can be used to fill up your gas tank. Note: You can specify the amount you want to charge on the card.


How do you spend your Rebate Prepaid Debit Cards?

14 thoughts on “Tips for Cashing Out Prepaid Debit Cards

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  2. pfstock

    I think that the key point here is that if you try to charge more than the remaining balance, the entire transaction will be denied (not just the portion that exceeds the card balance). Then you have the frustration of coming up with another form of payment, while a small balance still remains on your prepaid card. I do the exact same thing as you; I buy a store gift card from the a place that I shop at frequently and that allows you to choose any amount for the gift card.

  3. Pingback: Saving Money in Crazy Ways – Carnival of Personal Finance #297 | Money Smart Life

  4. Bret @ Hope to Prosper

    Someone gave me a tip which works great.

    When your balance gets down to an amount under $20, just use it at a gas station and put it in your tank. I tried it and it fills right up until the card is empty.

  5. credite nevoi personale

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  6. ByTheSea

    Use the measly balance and pay online your monthly gas or electric bill. My last payment to LADWP was for $0.58 and I tossed/recycled the zero balanced card.

    1. Rollin N. Dowe

      Great idea — I never thought of using the remains to pay bills! Thanks!

    1. Rollin N. Dowe

      Prepaid2cash is HUGE Ripoff — More than the prepaid cards! Prepaid2Cash charges a 5% processing fee, PLUS a “delivery” charge $1.50 for direct deposit. AND they hold your money for FOUR days. Not a bargain at all!

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  9. Heather

    My credit union took my pre-paid cards I had gotten as a Verizon rebate and deposited the $ into my account!

    1. Sean Post author


      That is great! No hassle cashing them out. Do you mind sharing the name of your credit union?


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