Here’s a quick tip for using up those last few dollars of a prepaid Visa, Mastercard, or American Express cards with bonuses. When you use up the last bit of an store-specific gift card, the register zeroes out the card automatically and tells you the remaining amount owed. However, if you try this with a prepaid debit or credit card and the amount charged exceeds the amount on the card, you’ll usually just get a flat rejection. This does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong with the card!
The solution? The way to use up the remaining balance on a prepaid-style credit card is to ask for a “split tender” transaction. First, you’ll need to find out the remaining balance on the card using the phone number on the back or by checking the appropriate website. Let’s say it’s $2.57.
Next, go to a store and make a purchase exceeding that number, let’s say $10. Now, ask the cashier for a split tender transaction. You must ask them to charge exactly $2.57 to the prepaid card, and then you can charge the rest on another credit card or pay it with cash. This way, the system won’t be asking for more charging limit than your card actually has.
Smaller retailers might either not know how to do a split tender transaction, or their (point-of-sale) POS system may simply be outdated and not be able to perform one. However, I’ve never had a problem with asking for a split tender transaction at Target or Wal-mart, and I would suspect similar results at other large retailers as they will have modern POS systems. At the very least, you’d just need to switch to a more experienced cashier.
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By Jonathan Ping | Credit Cards | 7/17/12, 9:38pm