A lot of companies are not issuing rebate checks as often as they used to. More often today they are using rebate debit cards. Using a rebate debit card is just like using your personal credit card. Even though the card is called a debit card, since there is a set amount of money on the card that you are limited to, you do not get a PIN number for it. Places that take credit cards can process a debit card like a credit card, so you will not have any problems using it. You can use the rebate debit card just like an American Express or Visa gift card; any place that takes credit cards will take the rebate card.
If you have received a rebate debit card, you should be able to use it just like any standard debit or credit card.
Preparing Your Rebate Debit Card
Once you receive your rebate debit card, you will first need to authorize it by signing the back of the card. Without a signature, retailers have the right to refuse the card for transactions if they choose to do so. Given the fact that some retailers choose to check the personal details on your card against a photo ID, your signature may help prevent an unauthorized user from stealing your funds.
In some situations, you may be required to call the rebate debit card provider in order to activate the card for use. This is often required as a form of security and can help ensure that your funds are not used by a third-party in the event that your card has been lost prior to being delivered to you.
Making Your Purchase
Once you are prepared to complete your purchase, hand the card to the employee at check-out. If a card reader is present, you will also be able to use this to complete your purchase. Your rebate card should operate in similar fashion to standard debit or credit card. That being said, the employee may ask to know the balance on the card. This will help ensure that funds are available on the card itself to complete the purchase and avoid a card decline.
Completing Your Purchase
Once your card has been used, you will likely be given a receipt to sign to verify that the transaction has occurred. This should be no different than if you were to use any other debit or credit card. Once you have done this, your transaction should be complete. Any funds on the rebate card that have not yet been used will still be available for purchases made at a later point.
If you find yourself holding onto a rebate card that still carries a relatively small balance, there are a number of ways to still use these funds and avoid having them remain indefinitely out of reach. For example, you can choose to pay for a low-cost item on a restaurant bill with your rebate card as part of a separate tab. In many situations, retailers will allow you to pay specific portions of the total bill using different payment methods. You could, for example, pay part of your shopping bill using your rebate card and the remaining majority with your standard debit card.
Resolving Rebate Debit Card Issues
If you have any issues with the card contact the customer support line. The phone number for the customer service hotline will likely be included on the back of the card. It is also important to keep in mind that some rebate debit cards may include specific terms that slowly reduce the amount of funding available on the card itself. In a situation such as this, using your card quickly should be a priority.
- Consumerism Commentary: https://www.consumerismcommentary.com/5-reasons-avoid-cash-back-rebate-cards/
- Prepaid Cards | Consumer.gov
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- Huntington National Bank. "How to Use a Debit Card: Online, ATM & Chip." Accessed March 24, 2020.
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- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "What Is a Grace Period for a Credit Card?" Accessed March 24, 2020.
- Use the card as soon as possible. Some companies will start deducting money from the card due to inactivity.
- Know the exact amount on the card when using it for a purchase, since it may be declined otherwise.
- If you have any issues with the card contact the customer support line. The phone number will be on the back of the card.
Ryan Cockerham is a nationally recognized author specializing in all things innovation, business and creativity. His work has served the business, nonprofit and political community. Ryan's work has been featured at Zacks Investment Research, SFGate Home Guides, Bloomberg, HuffPost and more.