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Month: May 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

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Visa Buxx Prepaid Card – How it Works

The Visa Buxx card is a prepaid card specifically designed for teens. It allows parents to load money on the card online or over the phone. The purpose of the card is to encourage financial responsibility among teens while giving their parents control over how much is spent.

Here are some of the benefits of the Visa Buxx Prepaid Card:

  • Promotes financial responsibility among teenagers by limiting their spending to the amount loaded on the card
  • It is flexible and convenient, allowing parents to re-load the card any time via phone or online
  • It is accepted everywhere Visa debit cards are welcome
  • It gives parents greater control by allowing them to track where their teens are spending their money.
  • It is safer than using cash because it is replaceable when lost or stolen.

How it Works:

Here is how the Visa Buxx Prepaid Card Works:

  1. You can buy a Visa Buxx Prepaid Card online at participating financial institutions, including Wachovia and USBank. Click here to see complete list.
  2. Parent then funds the account either via phone or online using a credit card, debit card, or checking account you have with any financial institution (does not have to be funded with account from participating bank)
  3. You and your teen both have access to the account online to check balances and track spending. Parent can reload card online or via phone using number provided at the back of the card.

Learn To Stretch Your Budget With Gift Cards

People who are working to avoid or get out of credit card debt know that plastic isn’t a big deal, and cash is king. If you spend only the money in your wallet, you cannot fall into debt trouble. For those who believe that living without a card is unrealistic, using a debit card can provide some protection against overspending – as long as you have not opted into overdraft coverage.

But some people are choosing to use a third option – gift cards. Gift cards gained some additional respect in March, when the Federal Reserve passed new laws to protect consumer spending on them. The new rules state that consumers cannot be charged fees if they have used a gift card within 12 months. Also, gift cards issued after Aug. 22, 2010, cannot expire in less than five years.

With these new protections, gift cards can be a good option for those looking to stretch their budgets.

1.) Redeem rewards points for gifts

If you find yourself in some debt, you might have some rewards ‘points’. Converting these points into gift cards to give someone or to spend on yourself can keep you from reaching into your bank account. Log into your your credit card rewards website to find out if you can convert rewards into cash or gift cards. Some credit card companies will double the value of your rewards at specific retailers.

2.) Cash in coins and redeem in gift cards.

Some coin-redemption machines, like those at grocery stores or banks, let you exchange your coins for gift cards. Some even offer a bonus for choosing a gift card instead of a cash voucher.

3.) Stick to your budget.

Gift Cards can be a way to dedicate spending to specific categories, similar to the “envelope” method of budgeting. For example, buy yourself a gift card in the amount on your weekly grocery budget. The money will be gone from your bank account, eliminating the temptation to spend it on something else and possibly rely on credit cards at the checkout. You will stick to your budget and avoid adding debt. Most stores allow shoppers to “reload” gift cards anyway.

4.) Reach a goal.

Some people purchase gift cards for themselves to keep their spending focus on track. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you might purchase gift cards to restaurants where you can get healthy lunches, instead of hitting the fast food place. Again, because you have already allo0cated your spending, you are most likely to stick with your plans.

5.) Save for a cause.

If you know you want to complete a home improvement project in two months, you can estimate how much you would need to save every week. But if it is difficult for you to stick to your goal, instead buy yourself a gift card to the home improvement store in the amount of the weekly savings. Again, you will avoid spending your money elsewhere – and at the end of the allocated time, will have enough funds on gift cards to complete your project without debt.

6.) Prep for vacation.

Whether your vacation is two weeks at Disney world or a weekend road trip to visit relatives, gift cards can help. Consider asking for gift cards to chain restaurants or retailers for holiday or birthday gifts. Then save the cards to offset some of the cost of your vacation. You can dine out or purchase beach toys and sunscreen at your destination – at no cost to you.

7.) Give back

Check if you know a school or organization/charity that participates in a gift card program. Some stores partner with nonprofit organizations to give back a portion of gift card spending. If your store returns 5 percent of gift-card purchases to your school or church, you can buy a gift card, spend what you usually do, and return benefits to the organization, while staying under budget.

As with cash, or even credit cards, you will need to take care not to lose gift cards. But used carefully, gift cards are another way to stick to your spending goals and stay out of debt.

New Style Auction Sites Selling Discounted Gift Cards

Recently, many new style auction sites have been popping up all over the internet. These Auction sites, like www.bidzillion.com are very different from traditional sites like eBay. Most people are familiar with how eBay works, even if you’ve never used it before. You place you bid on an item you want to purchase and whoever out bids the other guy, is the winner.

Sites like Bidzillion work in a very different way. Let me start by saying that these sites claim you can buy brand new items at up to 99% off retail price. And after doing some research, it does appear that this is possible. However, in order to place a bid, you must first buy a “package” of bids. These can range anywhere from $15.00 for 20 bids, to $500.00 for 1,000 bids.

So, before you can even attempt to bid on an item, your spending money. The way the auction works is very different from traditional auction sites as well. All the items, which is typically about 30-50 items available to bid on, have a countdown timer displayed which typically lasts about 6 to 9 hours. Usually, there is no action on the items until minutes before the auction is ending.

So, as an item I was interested in, a $100 American Express Gift Card came down to about 5 minutes left. I placed a bid. The way the bidding works is that every bid is 1 penny more than the last. So at the time of my bid there was .15 cents already placed. I placed my bid, took it up to 16 cents and anxiously awaited my gift card.

However, shortly after, I was out bided by another cent! I bid again, and then so did somebody else. What eventually happened is that as the timer goes down, someone would place a last second bid, and then the timer restarts! It restarts at a 10 second count down, so every 10 seconds someone would throw a bid on it, over and over again restarting the timer!

This went on for hours, in fact about 2 hours until the auction finally ended. As a result the gift card cost got up to around 8.oo, but I had placed my last bid hours ago.

The only way this style auction would be useful, is if you had hours to sit around and spend watching the bids, making sure you are the last one bidding. After the money it costs to actually buy the bids and the time it takes to win the auction, I can conclude that this was a big waste of time and money!

It’s almost impossible to get the item you’re actually interested and buying bids is expensive. If you’re looking to buy discounted gift cards, or discounted anything; in my opinion its best to stick with websites who offer set discounts on these items in a straight forward, easy manner.

Pay Cash for Online Gift Cards using eBillme

Ebillme is a payment service that uses your traditional bank’s online bill pay service to checkout at a variety of different merchants. They sell electronic gift cards, but their company is more of an alternative payment service that uses your bank account rather then credit or debit card. This allows you to pay for items that you want using cash and avoid the high fees associated with credit cards. With the recession, it is very common for people to avoid credit cards by using services like Ebillme or prepaid cards.

Using Ebillme

Because you only pay using cash Ebillme is definitely safer than using a traditional credit card. This is because your personal information like social security number or address cannot be compromised and this decreases the chance of fraud or identity theft. Chris Brogan does a good job in his blog post explaining how the process works and can use some improvements

EbillMe Gift Cards

Ebillme allows you to email electronic gift cards or online gift cards to anyone with an email address. Their service differs from many other egiftcard vendors like iCardSystems because eBillme is a payment service. They are not just a gift card vendor and you cannot purchase one of their gift cards using traditional methods (credit card or paypal). You can use their gift cards as a prepaid card to shop and pay at a huge number of merchants that can be found here.

There have been a number of problems using their system as found on the complaints board website. A few users are quoted as saying that they experienced heavy delays using the service and those funds were not transferred in an appropriate amount of time. One user even mentions how the pending rebates are not as advertised and that you can only use them in $10 increments at a time.

I’ve earned $25 in rebates but can only use $20. The remaining $5 will go unclaimed because (I’m not kidding) I’m never using this service again.

For some reason this does not seem fair and from what I can tell these terms are not clearly covered. It is difficult to navigate through the site and find all of the information you are looking for. I think that eBillme is a great concept and secure for online users, but from what I’ve read their service still has a few flaws. It will be interesting to see if they are able to sell online gift cards to users who are not looking for a payment alternative, but just a gift card.

Finding The Best Discount Gift Cards

Gift Cards have been the most in-demand gift items for the past two years and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. Everyone loves to receive gift cards! be it for birthdays, anniversary, Christmas etc, it makes the perfect present since most people have no idea what exactly other people would like, what size or color and so many other factors. The recipient gets to decide what he/she wants and at their leisure can buy whatever they want, whenever, even being able to take advantage of department store sales and discounts. Even more interesting is being able to buy these gift cards and discounted prices! much lower than their face value.

Discount gift cards are sold (albeit very rarely) at department stores, but your best chance of buying gift cards at prices lower than their face value is on sites like GiftCardRescue. They are also great gifts for children in order for parents to watch where they are spending their money, or to prevent them from indulging in negative activities.

Some gift cards happen to be prepaid cards where the buyer gets charged a small activation fee. Keep an eye out to make sure you know exactly all the fees and restrictions attached to the card. Also pay attention to all the CARD Act provisions.

An advantage of using discount gift cards is that you never have to worry about being overdrawn. Sticking to gift cards that give you the ability to check your balance whenever you want to is also very important. With gift cards, you have a specific amount of money and once you use it up, that’s the ened of it.

The most popular gift cards, other than the big department stores – Wal-Mart and Target – are VISA, MasterCard and American Express. These cards are accepted in most stores unlike the more specific cards to individual stores, so gift card buyers are encouraged to purchase these type of cards.

eBay Hates Gift Cards

eBay is one of the most popular sites to buy and sell pretty much anything. However, if you’re attempting to sell a gift card, better look somewhere else. eBay has some pretty strict rules regulating the selling of gift cards, here’s a quick overview:

Why does eBay have this policy?

In the secondary gift card market, there is a large potential for fraud.  People often try to take advantage of this by using sites like eBay.  At GiftCardRescue we have put in place several measures’s to deter fraud to ensure the best consumer experience possible. If you’re looking to buy or sell bulk gift cards, its best to stick with the pros.

Here is eBay’s explanation:

“We understand that you may have gift cards that you can’t use or would like to sell. The restrictions on the value and the frequency of gift card listings are in place to promote a safer and more satisfying experience on eBay.”

Source.

While you can sell gift cards on eBay, the number of cards, amount, and frequency is highly regulated and restricted.

Send Electronic Gift Cards with GiftRocket

GiftRocket, a y-combinator startup that launched this month looks to revolutionize the online gift cards space. With GiftRocket you are sending an electronic gift card to someone’s smart phone that they can use wherever they like. The virtual gift card can be used at any location, because GiftRocket relies solely on a phone’s GPS . At this time they do not have deals with any merchants or retailers, which could lead to potential legal problems in the future. However, GiftRocket has high expectations as their product completely cuts out the traditional gift card payment processors like First Data or Valutec.

The model is somewhat confusing, so I will attempt to explain it as best as possible in the space below.

How Does GiftRocket Work?

  • You send a $50 GiftRocket for Fancy Seafood to Alex for his anniversary.
  • When Alex and Courtney arrive at Fancy Seafood, he opens the GiftRocket link and clicks redeem.
  • GiftRocket will then deposit $50 into Alex’s paypal account.

They do a better job of explaining it on their website with a cool monkey infographic.

The question I’m left asking is, “Who would really want to do this?” The gift rocket process seems like an overly complicated paypal transfer. When Alex goes to redeem the GiftRocket, he still has to spend the money to cover the bill. One of the things people enjoy the most about gift cards is that when you do go to redeem them, that amount is deducted from your total bill. You’re eliminating one of the main benefits from gift card redemption when you have to pay the full amount. I understand that you are refunded through paypal, but to transfer that money back into your checking account will cost you 2.9% of the balance + 30 cents in fees [source].

If Alex doesn’t want to buy anything at the restaurant, he doesn’t have to. A simple click of redeem on the GiftRocket link will result in the full balance being deposited into his or her paypal account. This is because GiftRocket isn’t associated with the merchant in any way. So in actuality, you do not have to redeem anything in order to transfer the paypal funds into your account. If there is one thing that I have learned from my experience in dealing with gift card exchange is that cash is king. People almost always prefer having cash over a regular gift card.

As a startup we exist to solve a problem. GiftRocket looks to solve the distribution for the traditional gift card, but they have created product that you actually do not need to redeem. The merchant does not benefit from the use of the card, while GiftRocket and Paypal collect money off of the transaction fees. Developing the application around the smartphone market makes a lot of sense, but to me the incentive to buy and use GiftRockets just isn’t there. Spending money only to be reimbursed later seems to completely dismiss the whole purpose of a gift card. It will be interesting to see how the company evolves as they are y-combinator backed so we can all expect to see exciting things from them in the future.

Response from GiftRocket Co-Founder Nicholas Baum who thanked us for covering his company.

A few clarifications:

1) Transferring from PayPal to checking is free. The source quotes irrelevant rates.

2) GiftRocket is great for merchants. We drive foot traffic and sales. See http://www.giftrocket.com/gift-card-program

3) GiftRocket doesn’t deduct from your bill. But that means you’re free to spend as much as you like. You’ll never forget or lose your GiftRocket. You don’t need to carry another card. And maybe most importantly, you won’t ever be stuck with store credit at a business you don’t like.

4) GiftRocket solves real problems. Try buying a gift card for a small business for your friend across the country. It’ll be either impossible or inconvenient. GiftRocket works, and it only takes a minute.

GiftCardRescue Has Added New Merchants!

GiftCardRescue.com is the premiere website for buying discounted gift cards and selling your unwanted gift cards for cash. Now, we’ve added even more merchants to our list! Our new merchants include:

  • Harbor Freight and Tool
  • Tiffany’s
  • Subway
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Auto Zone

With the popularity of gift cards continuing to grow, so does our merchant list. We now offer the ability to sell gift cards from over 400 merchants! Popular gift cards fly off the site, so if you’re interested in buying discounted gift cards be sure to add them to your wish list. Every time a gift card from your wish list is added to the website you will be notified via email for fist pickings.

Why sell gift cards?

Americans leave over 6 billion dollars a year in unused gift cards sitting in their sock drawers. Don’t be a statistic! Put those unwanted gift cards to good use by redeeming them for cash. In this rough economy it’s important to capitalize on every opportunity for extra income. Selling gift cards that are sitting around collecting dust is great way to get some bills paid.

Save Money on Everyday Purchases with Discounted Gift Cards

Discounted gift cards + coupons = BIG SAVINGS

A great way to stretch every penny is to use discounted gift cards and store coupons. Purchasing discounted gift cards before you shop is basically like purchasing discounted money. You’re getting $50, for the price of 40! Add that to any sales or coupons from the merchant and your practically paying yourself to shop.

Do you love leaving a 17% tip when you go out to eat? Purchase a discounted McCormick and Schmitt gift card at 17% off and your tip becomes free!

There are plenty of ways to beat the heat of the current economic environment; Gift Card Rescue makes it safe, easy, and convenient. Check out how these people saved thousands of dollars on every day purchases using discounted gift cards from GiftCardRescue.com

ICardGiftCard.com Review

iCardGiftCard.com is a provider of electronic gift cards and online gift cards. There are a few advantages to using this service if you need to purchase a gift card quickly. The gift cards at iCardGiftCard are sent electronically through email, so the user can either redeem the card online or print it out and use it at the store. It is a common misconception that electronic gift cards can only be used online and not in-store. However, many of them can be used just like normal plastic cards.

Another great feature of the iCard website is that the electronic gift cards are customizable. You can add your own pictures and text to the card, making it more personal than a regular gift card.This is perfect for occasions especially weddings, birthdays, where you can add an image of a special memory that you have shared. As a last minute gift, it will be hard to find something else that matches this level of personal touch. They have a ton of different patterns that you can choose from when looking to email your gift card.

What Gift Card Merchants does iCard offer?

The iCardGiftCard.com electronic program offers any of the merchants currently signed up with iCardSystems.

This includes:

  • Macy’s
  • Applebee’s
  • Olive Garden
  • J. Crew
  • Old Navy
  • and many more

Customer Feedback

Customers over the web have been complaining about the lack of service that they are getting from iCardGiftCards. One customer on CoolComputing said,

Impossible to contact company. Their rquirement that I submit a notarized affidavit via FAX ONLY because they failed to send–or I didn’t receive $75 merchant card by US Mail is unreasonable.
The contact called back and said the have NO RECORD OF THE MERCHANT CARDS SHE ALLEGES WERE SENT ON JAN 11, 2011 AND THAT I MUST PAY TO HAVE AN AFFIDAVIT NOTARIZED AND RETURNED.
NO phone numbers listed; the “Sales Phone number” is answered by a recording that takes no calls only “messages”. 45 day limit expires today.

There is also another negative review on ResellerRatings.com as well.

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