With another holiday season over and January upon us, if you’re anything like us you’ve no doubt accumulated a collection of prepaid gift cards from friends and family who were either too reluctant (or lazy) to brave the maelstrom of Christmas shopping or just genuinely had no idea what to buy you.
Of course, unless you’re blessed with a plethora of well-to-do friends and relatives, there’s a good chance that what you’ve now got in your hands is a collection of $10, $25, and $50 prepaid gift cards. This is great if you just want to buy a few lattes, but less useful if you’re trying to order a new iPhone or iPad.
The problem is that for payment purposes, vendors see prepaid gift cards from VISA and MasterCard like regular credit cards. While you may find a brick-and-mortar retailer who is long-suffering enough to let you work through a large set of gift cards, many still have a limit to how many times you can split a transaction. On the other hand, if you’re ordering from Amazon — which is where some of the best deals can be had — you may find yourself totally stuck as Amazon doesn’t let you split payment across multiple credit cards at all.
How to Split a Payment Between Two Cards on Amazon
When ordering from Amazon, your entire payment has to be on a single credit or debit card — which again is what a prepaid VISA/MC gift card looks like to Amazon. However, not all is lost, as there’s actually a handy trick you can use to get around this problem — convert them to Amazon gift cards.
The secret here is that Amazon will let you use an Amazon gift card for part of your payment. So if you use your prepaid VISA or MasterCard to purchase an Amazon gift card, you can then almost immediately turn around and apply that gift card to the balance on whatever it is that you’re buying. Here’s how to do it.
- Visit Amazon and search for “eGift Cards” (or click this link).
- In the “Enter amount” box to the right of the preset dollar figures, enter whatever balance is available on your prepaid VISA/MC
- Select “Email” as your delivery method.
- Enter your own email address in both the TO and FROM lines
- Click “Buy Now”
- Add your prepaid VISA/MC gift card as a new payment method
- Complete the purchase
With a few minutes, you should receive an email (be sure to check your spam folder if it doesn’t seem to have come in after a while). The email should have both a gift card code and a “Redeem now” button that will take you right back to Amazon to load it into your account.
You can then go and make your purchase, and Amazon should automatically offer to apply your gift card balance to your payment, but if this doesn’t happen, simply look for the check box that says “Use my Gift Card Balance of $XXX.”
Alternatively, you can simply enter the gift card code fro the email into the “Gift cards & promotional codes” box that appears when making a purchase.
It’s also worth noting that Amazon will even let you use multiple Amazon gift cards for a purchase, so you could turn all of your prepaid VISA/MC gift cards into Amazon gift cards in order to combine them for a single larger purchase. Further, this can also be a handy way to use up older gift cards that you’ve got laying around with smaller amounts on them that are otherwise useless for normal purchases.
Another great use for this feature is if you’re sharing the cost of a purchase. Simply have the other contributors buy e-gift cards and email them to you, and you can then add them in during checkout to make up their portion of the payment.