Recently, I bought a new AT&T cell phone and the plan included a $50 rebate. Rather than providing a check or instant credit to my account, the new undaunted device to pocket even more money at the expense of consumers are electronic payment gift cards.
Here is how the scheme works.
A few weeks after the purchase, you receive an official looking VISA or MasterCard branded debit card. The problem is when you try using it. It is confusing and many retailers have a hard time processing it. The worst part – there are just micro-balances remaining. Retailers are unable to process te transaction, which means that those few remaining dollar balances vent away in the barrenness of never-to-be-claimed currency.
Try for yourself.
I still have a balance on the AT&T “promotional card” but cannot find anyone who can process it. Think of the millions of other micro-balances that remain unused. And, if you are successful in locating a merchant who can accept it, there is the dreaded interchange fee which force’s retailers to pay an excess amount each time the card is used.