Dealing with small balances on rebate cards

Nowadays it seems rebates and other bonuses are given out on debit cards. How do you deal with small balances on them? Say you have three of them and one is $4.37, one is $3.26 and one is 0.99 - how do you spend them? Is there a way to consolidat these balances on one card? Can you transfer the balances to, say, your Amazon account? Can you use them for partial payment at a retail store?

I’ve got a couple with small balances and just got another one for $50 and I’ll have to deal with that soon, too.

In my experience, as long as you know how much is on the card, you can pay with that and cash for the balance. I recently did that with gift card I had. I used the card for the first $23.48 (or whatever it was) and paid the final few dollars with cash.

With all the gift cards I’ve used, there was no need to know the balance ahead of time; the cashier told me how much more I had to pay.

A lot of stores will even allow you to pay with more than 1 card per transaction, so if you got a $10 item, you could put $2.50 on one card, $5.50 on another, and $2.00 on the last. And run away, fast, before they ask about the sales tax.

I think if they were specific store gift cards they could look it up, but last time I had an American Express gift card with an unknown amount left on it, the cashier told me I had to know the amount before he could split the transaction. Just my experience though. Maybe it had to do with the stores I’m shopping in too.

This has been my experience, too. Gift cards branded for a particular store seem to be easy, but the rebate cards that give you $50 on a non-branded card are the ones I have trouble with.

Is there a way to deposit the remaining funds into an existing account, say like Amazon or PayPal or a bank account?

At the store I work at, we don’t have our own gift cards, so any one that you want to use in our store, you need to know the balance (if it’s a mall gift card, AmEx, Visa). If we don’t have the correct balance, it really screws things up and slows everything down. Wish more cards had a place on the back to write the remaining balance! Make your phone call to get your balance before you get to the checkout, please.

But we can use multiple cards in a transaction. It’s just the computer has to dial in and get an authorization on each and every one, so it slows things down a tetch…and that’s another reason why you need to double check your balance before you get there…if one gets rejected, or you give the wrong amount…ooh, baby, what a mess.

I’ve had people insist to me that they have x amount on a card, and then find out they already used that one up, or only have $2.14 instead of $12.14. I don’t mind ringing in one card for 35 cents and another for $7.43 and the balance off a third…just be sure the amounts are accurate before we start.

Get rid of all the small amounts first as that will get rid of the most cards the quickest.