Published on April 21st, 2017 | by Don L24
Prepaid2Cash Review – Expensive Gift Card Liquidation
- 1 Quick Summary
- 2 How It Works
- 3 MS Tool Dimensions
- 4 FAQs
- 5 Final Notes
- 6 Appendix – My Rationale
Prepaid2Cash (P2C) is a website that allows you to liquidate gift cards at a relatively high cost.
How It Works
Signup for an Account
(Quick) Requires: Name, Address, Email, Phone [text verification]
Enter Card Information
(Quick) Add all the important card information from the front and back of your gift card
(Some Hassle) I was also asked to provide proof of physical ownership which required taking and sending a picture of the gift card. [I’m not sure if this additional step is P2C’s standard protocol, or based on the historically high rate of fraud with the gift card type I used (US Bank MCGC) (rate based on DoC reader comments)].
Choose Payment Method
To receive your funds choose a paper check ($2.50 fee) or Bank ACH ($1.50 fee) [which requires adding bank account information]
Here is the site’s process infographic:
MS Tool Dimensions
Fees (Service Cost) – Expensive
Prepaid2Cash charges a 5% processing fee of the card balance (+$1.50 for direct deposit or $2.50 for a mailed check per card).
Fees for a few common gift card values:
[Update 2017-12-26: Processing fee increased to 7.5%, that’s really expensive. Calculations and graphics in post not yet modified.]
Convenience (Time Cost) – Good
The ability to liquidate a gift card online is quite convenient. Image documentation of gift cards definitely slows things down.
Float (Lost Interest Cost) – Fine
Prepaid2Cash states that direct deposits (ACH transfers) take about 4 business days. This matches my experience.
Volume – Limited
Maximum Daily Transaction Limit: $500 (Source)
Which calculates to an implied monthly (30-Day) limit of $15,000 [an approximate yearly limit of $180,000]
Counterparty Risk – Will P2C Deliver Your Gift Card Funds?
Probably a fairly low risk of not receiving your funds.
Looks like they’ve been in business for a while since 2010, and nothing negative immediately pops up with a Google search (as of April 2017).
One odd thing – the same comment appears again and again: BeerMoney (actually many times across reddit), PC #1, PC #2 (same article), MMS. I figure this has to be a low cost marketing strategy (even something I might do 🙂 ), but I guess there’s always a tiny chance that a P2C super fan could be out there … somewhere … spamming comments.
Identity Theft Risk
Probably a fairly low risk of having your identity compromised. No SSN or government issued documentation is collected. The site notes that it uses bank-level security.
Which Cards Can I Use?
The site appears to support Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Gift Cards/Prepaid Cards. I have only personally tested a US Bank MCGC.
Per the P2C FAQ:
At the moment, we only serve customers who reside in the United States and can’t accept transactions from customers who either reside, wish to have their payment sent to, or wish to send money to a bank that is located exclusively within the states of: Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin. We are working on adding these states as soon as possible.
We would love to hear your thoughts, data points, ideas, … in the comments. Have you heard of/do you use a competitor’s service?
You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best!
Appendix – My Rationale
The Office Depot Deal
I got excited when the Office Depot deal was reported. Free money gets me kind of euphoric, and a $14 profit per $100 gift card was a pretty good deal (not including the credit card cash back, or other potential promo stacking opportunities).
I’m fortunate to have a number of brick and mortar options to transform gift cards into MOs where I live, but (at times) while waiting in line I could feel the opportunity cost (just please don’t ask me to define the term).
My Fascination with High Cost MS
I’m also endlessly fascinated with high cost MS (manufactured spend) which perhaps many in our hobby wouldn’t even categorize as MS. Techniques where the fees are greater than the credit card’s transaction earning rate but less than the value of the card’s signup bonus.
So when I could still make a profit (albeit it a much lower profit [about half $7.50]), I decided to give Prepaid2Cash (P2C) [a site specifically built for gift card liquidation] a try.
A Fascination with High Cost MS is Generally Not Smart
There are many better MS methods (cheaper liquidation) methods – we have a list of recommended sites. Personally, I think FrequentMiler’s monthly update on the state of manufactured spend is the best that I’ve seen, but also enjoy prospecting in r/churning’s weekly manufactured spend thread.
Even if you don’t use a better liquidation method, economically it makes more sense to just spend the gift cards on your normal/organic spend than to use a high cost liquidation method – the high cost liquidation method is more costly than the credit card rewards earned. Unless all of your spend is spend for credit card signup bonuses – and then I salute you.
I generally run separate ledgers for normal spend and hobby spend, almost treating the travel/promotional hacking as its own business. While not always optimal it keeps things simpler for me.
Why High Cost MS Tools?
Optimistically, I feel some of these tools/methods might only be a step or two away from being quite useful. Perhaps with a little promotional alchemy, a discount here, a rebate there, we might happen upon something quite valuable.
As DoC readers are the smartest people on the Internet, perhaps you’ll find a use.