3 Easy Ways to Use Up Small Gift Card Balances


AmazonPrepardDumpToGiftCardRedeemEmail-better-47-bestI’ve been known to give Ulysses S. Grant certificates as gifts.  Go to the bank.  Get a crisp bill.  Pop it in the bank’s official “I didn’t know what to get you, but use this to buy it” envelope.  Scribble “Merry Christmas! From Uncle Chip” on the outside.  Then enjoy some figgy pudding.

You can use it like cash, because it IS cash!  Alas, I’m old school.  Nowadays, people give prepaid Visa, MasterCard and American Express gift cards.

If you got one of these gift cards, and the small remaining balance is now starting to nag you, here are three easy ways to use it up:

  1. Gas Stations – I had 11 cents remaining on an American Express gift card.  Yes, ELEVEN cents.  I’m thrifty, but even I was thinking I could toss it.  Nope!  I pulled up to the pump and wrung almost half a cup of petrol out of that piece of plastic.
  2. Amazon.com gift cards – You can get a get a gift card for any amount (at least 15 cents).  I did it with 47 cents.  Put yourself as the recipient.  You’ll get the email immediately.  Enter the gift Claim Code and have that amount credited to your Amazon account for future purchases.  It never expires.  See screen captures below.
  3. Split Tender transactions – If you know how much is on your gift card, tell the cashier that you’d like to pay that amount first.  I did this once at my grocery with three American Express gift cards on one purchase.  Thankfully no one was behind me or I’m not sure I could have withstood the eye-rolling and disdain.  So, split tenders are my least favorite way.  This is not to be confused with chicken tenders – my favorite poultry presentation.  Mmm…transactions.


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