Cashing Out Wedding Gift Cards with Amazon Payments
Once again, thanks again to everyone who came to the wedding or sent their well wishes via email, Facebook, etc. For those who are new to the blog, I finally got married! For our wedding, we didn’t put up a wedding gift registry, because we didn’t want our guests to feel obligated to get us a gift. Nevertheless, everyone was so thoughtful and got us a wide variety of gifts anyway; the gifts ranged from handmade cards to household goods. Naturally, we also received quite a few Visa, MasterCard, and Amex gift cards, and you probably will receive some as well at your own wedding.
While these gift cards are very versatile, they do have some disadvantages. For one, you could lose them before you use them. They also lack the purchase protection that almost all credit cards have. Last but not least, it’s hard to keep track of how much is on each card when you have a lot of gift cards, and you might not know how to spend small, residual balances. As a result, you may want to cash out these gift cards and turn it into cash. The best way to do that is by using Amazon Payments
Amazon Payments is a part of Amazon and is very similar to Paypal, Google Wallet, etc. in that it lets you send money to other Amazon Payments accounts. While all these payment services are free if you send money from your bank account, Paypal and Google Wallet will charge you a hefty fee if you try to send money from a credit card. Amazon Payments, however, let’s you send up to $1,000 a month for free using credit cards. Amazon Payments treat Visa, MasterCard, and Amex gift cards similar to a credit card, so you can use these gift cards to send money.
The key to cashing out gift cards is that you want to send the money to yourself. In order to do that, you need multiple Amazon Payments account, but Amazon will only let you open one account per person since you need a unique Social Security Number. You can, however, manage multiple accounts if they are under different names. For example, I manage the Amazon Payments account for myself, my wife, my sister, etc. You get the picture.
The more accounts you manage, the more gift cards you can cash out every month since each Amazon Payments account has a limit of $1,000 every month. If you had four accounts for you, your spouse, and both of your parents, you could for example, send $1,000 from your Amazon Payments account to your spouse. Your spouse can send $1,000 from his/her Amazon Payments account to your mom. Your mom can send $1,000 from her Amazon Payments account to your dad. And finally, your dad can send $1,000 from his Amazon Payments account to you. As you can see, a circular loop is completed, and you are able to send $4,000 total.
After you’ve successfully opened all the necessary Amazon Payments accounts (which should be decently quick), you’ll want to add a bank account, add the credit card/gift card, then send money.
Step 1: First add a bank account to each Amazon Payments account by providing the name of the account holder, the bank routing number, and the bank account number. You’ll also need to provide a driver’s license number or a state ID number for verification purposes. You need the bank account added, because you need a method of withdrawing the money once it’s in the Amazon Payments account.
Step 2: Under “Edit My Account Settings,” you’ll click on “Add, edit, or delete my credit cards” to add the credit card/gift card.
Step 3: Fill in the details but for gift cards, DO NOT put in the correct expiration date when you add the card; put in an incorrect expiration date instead. After successfully adding the card with the incorrect expiration date, then go back and edit the card and change the expiration date to the correct one. The reason for doing this step is because a temporary charge of $1 is placed on a card when it is added. You will get the $1 back, but this temporary charge often lasts for several days. If that happens, you won’t be able to cash out the full balance of the gift card. For example, you would only be able to send $99 from a $100 gift card since $1 is temporarily charged. By putting an incorrect expiration date then editing it back to the correct one, however, a temporary $1 charge will not be placed!
Step 4: Now you are ready to send money using your card. First, make sure the Amazon Payments balance is $0 since you can’t send money using a credit card/gift card unless the balance is $0. If the balance is not $0, then go withdraw the balance to the bank account first. To send money, simply put in the email address of the Amazon Payments account you want to send money to and the amount. If you are cashing out a gift card, you will want to liquidate the entire balance so put that as the amount. Very important, but make sure Goods/Services is ticked. If Cash Advance is ticked instead, you may be hit with some hefty fees! Hit continue to finish sending the money.
Step 5: After the transaction is done, go back to the account activity page, and you should see that the status of your transaction says, “Completed.” That means the money was successfully sent, and you have cashed out your gift card. At this point, I usually cut up and throw away the gift card, but you can hold on to it for your own record if you like. The money you sent should instantly be available in the Amazon Payments account you sent money to, and you can log into the Amazon Payments account with the money and withdraw it to the bank account. In our example, if you sent $1,000 via multiple gift cards to your spouse’s Amazon Payments account, you can then log into your spouse’s Amazon Payments account and withdraw the $1,000 to his/her bank account.
The Main Point
Amazon Payments is a great way to cash out the Visa, MasterCard, and Amex gift cards you receive as wedding gifts. In case it wasn’t clear, those type of gift cards are the only gift cards you can cash out via Amazon Payments. You can’t, for example, cash out a Walmart gift card, an Amazon gift card, or any retail store gift card via Amazon Payments.
Besides cashing out gift cards, Amazon Payments is also great for credit cards. You can use Amazon Payments to generate manufactured spending to meet the minimum spend requirements that many credit card signup bonuses have. Of course, you can also use Amazon Payments to generate manufactured spending for free airline miles and points. One of the best credit cards to use for this purpose is the Barclays Arrival credit card, which offers a fantastic 44,000 miles signup bonus and low minimum spend requirement, which can be easily met with one Amazon Payments account.
Remember that you will need access to multiple Amazon Payments account. While two Amazon Payments account is the minimum, the more the better since that means your monthly limit is higher. Of course, you will need cooperative family members who let you create Amazon Payments accounts for them and agree to give you back the money you send to them and withdraw to their bank account. Once the accounts are all created and the system is in place, Amazon Payments is simply amazing.
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