Spend Prepaid Visa Cards Quickly to Avoid Fees

Sam Bornstein paid a penalty for his delay in using a Christmas gift he’d received in December 2009.

His $50 prepaid MyTreat Visa card was refused as payment for a $48.08 purchase at a Boxing Day sale last weekend.

What happened?

The card’s $2 monthly maintenance fee, which kicked in after 12 months, reduced its value to $48. So he was short by 8 cents.

“I was not advised of the fee. Why was I not given the option of paying the difference at the cash register?” he said in an email.

“It is embarrassing to proffer these cards and have them rejected.”

Another $50 MyTreat Visa card, which he tried to use for a $6.78 purchase on Boxing Day, was also refused.  Read More…

This article has 18 Comments

  1. Olley Kratina

    Even though prepaid cards are not suppose to expire i notice that many companies (not just visa cards) now are putting in place expiry dates to prevent people from storing them for too long. I hate these companies.

  2. Dedrick W.

    Avoiding fees? There is always going to be fees on them. Also Visa Cards are not created equal. Prepaids offered through one outlet is not the same and so maintenance fees can be different across the board.

    The best advice is to look into the finer details before putting it into storage.

  3. Lana

    never thought anything like that could happen? does it happen only to VISA?

  4. Marian

    Thanks for letting me know this. I received a visa prepaid card a few weeks ago and wasnt planning on using it until Spring for a new board. I am going to use it now!

  5. Khalil

    I wonder how long before ALL gift cards have expiry dates. Sad day!

  6. Jaquan G.

    @gufu, it seems to be just with credit card companies — federally regulated banks.

  7. gufu!

    Does this happen on all gift cards or just ones by visa?

  8. Kris Hagan

    That is so wrong. Getting charged endlessly with all kinds of fees this is just too low!

  9. Bront Chadwick

    Is this common in the U.S. too?

  10. Kian Hawley

    The dude did the right thing and write the ceo’s for a new card. I am guessing though he is a rare case and sending him a new card would silence him and they can continue to bilk the public.

  11. Vic Ackerman

    Reasonable? That is BS. When you get charged a fee to just purchase a gift card why should one be charged a monthly fee just by holding onto it?

  12. Aric

    Most people will end up using gift cards very quickly and so for it to expiry as it does, or rather, get charged a fee each month seems reasonable.

  13. Franklin

    If my knowledge serves me there is a law that prevents gift cards from expiring in Canada.

    So what is odd is how visa is exempt from this. Sounds like a giant loophole.

  14. Kayden M

    This is news to me. I never knew that visa and i assume mastercard and other credit card issuers’ gift cards expire. Why do they not act the same as store gift cards?

  15. Elias

    Visa prepaid gift cards expire?!?!?! Now i am in a panic!

  16. Theodore

    @cakeomix, yea it would be a Revolution — almost a civil war and the government would be put to the stake.

  17. cake0mix

    Can you imagine what things would be like if regular gift cards from merchants expired too?

  18. Fraser F

    I find it crazy that the guy couldnt just pay the difference of 8 cents. Didn’t realize this ‘partial authorization’ doesnt exist here.

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