Update: In addition to reader reports, I just received my own multiple $25 bonus gift cards as shown below. $25 bonus on loading $200 per card is back for month of August!
AMEX now has their own reloadable prepaid card, creatively named the American Express® Prepaid Card. Features:
- no credit check,
- no monthly fees,
- no upfront purchase fees,
- no inactivity fees,
- and no overdraft fees if you try to spend more than what is on the card
You can load the card for free via online bank transfer, and it ships fee via USPS 1st class mail. In fact, this card is likely better than most other prepaid cards on the market that are branded by Suze Orman, reality TV stars, or music moguls.
Right now, if you reach the 2nd page of the card application process (click on “Get your card now”) they will offer you a bonus $25 gift card for loading $200 onto the card, no promotional code required. (They may ask you to log in if you have an American Express account, or you can switch to Incognito/Private Browsing mode/clear cookies and they won’t ask you.) You should see this in the top right corner:
Offer is available to all, non-targeted. Expires 8/31/12. $50 or more must be loaded at the time of initial purchase. “Limit one $25 gift card per new Card user named on a Card.” You are allowed 3 prepaid cards per person, so that’s a potential bonus of $75 if you have 3 different names on each as these are designed to help manage spending for a family or household.
Other than that, I would just use the prepaid cards to pay for your usual purchases. I would avoid anything that might be returned or disputed as you don’t have the same rights as a consumer credit card. (I personally just paid the cell phone bill.) Sometimes websites put a temporary hold of $1 on a card, so you can’t spend all of it at once. Remember to use split tender transactions to get rid of low dollar amounts. You even get one free ATM withdrawal per month if you can find an ATM that doesn’t charge a fee on their end. Fine print quoted below:
Offer expires on August 31, 2012. To receive a $25 American Express® Gift Card (‘Gift Card’), you must load $200 or more at the time you order an American Express Prepaid Card (‘Card’). Card orders must be received by 11:59 PM ET August 31, 2012. Limit of one $25 Gift Card per new Card user named on a Card. Offer valid for all new Card orders with a single $200 load, including additional/supplemental accounts associated with an existing Card purchaser’s account. Card must be active when offer is fulfilled. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Limit one (1) offer per Card. After qualifying for this offer, please allow 6 weeks for the $25 Gift Card to be mailed to the Card purchaser. American Express reserves the right to refuse or to delay the delivery of Gift Card if it has determined or suspects that fraud has been committed in connection with the Card or this offer. American Express reserves the right to terminate the offer at any time if it determines, in its sole discretion, that causes beyond its control have destroyed or severely undermined the integrity, administration, security, and/or feasibility of the offer. Gift Card terms and conditions apply.
From the American Express Prepaid Card FAQ:
How many Cards can I order?
An adult over the age of 18 may order and manage up to three American Express Prepaid Cards in total (including if one is purchased for him/herself). Each American Express Prepaid Card User can have only one Card in his or her name.
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