Sick of Rebate Credit Cards? Read This to Get Cash
Have you noticed the increasing trend of rebates being sent on credit cards? I recently received a $6 rebate on a plastic card. There are many reasons why this is annoying — it is inconvenient to use, quickly expires, is subject to fees ($2/month after 6 months), and is a waste of plastic.
I know the rebaters are hoping that I buy something that's $5.80 and forget about the other 20 cents (or just find the card entirely too inconvenient and throw it out all together). For these and other reasons I abhor these types of rebate cards. (And rebate "checks" that you have to use like a coupon at a store are only slightly less annoying.)
Here are two ways to get the full value out of your rebate cards:
The Less-Convenient Way
To get the full amount of money from rebate credit cards, I typically go to a big box retailer where my bill totals more than the amount on the card. Then I ask the retailer to process the card for the full amount and pay the rest of the bill with another credit card. This way I don't end up with $.20 on my card.
But what if your rebate card is for $96.79? It's rare that I have purchases totaling this much. And frankly, I'd rather have the cash, wouldn't you?
The Best Way
Many rebate cards do allow you to cash out. You just have to read the fine print.
For instance, on a recent rebate card I received, there was a website listed where I could "manage my rebate." The letter I received with my card didn't say anything about what I could do on the site, but I visited it anyway. It was hosted by Citi Card, and I could choose to "Register" or "Proceed Without Registering." I chose not to register.
All I had to do was enter my card number, the security code on the card, and my zip code, and I was able to get cash.
The site offered several options for cashing out my card, including an electronic transfer that would take 2-3 days to transfer the full amount of the card to my account. Unfortunately, this option required me to register. But I was able to cash it out by check (sent within 6-10 days) without registering.
Of course, this means I have to wait another few days to get a check and go to the ATM to make a deposit. But even with the extra work, I'd rather have the cash in my account than try to manage annoying rebate credit cards.
Next time you get a rebate card, look to see if you can cash it out.