Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Economy | By Guillermo Lane

Amazon Prime subscriber? Amazon Reload is a no-brainer

Amazon Prime subscriber? Amazon Reload is a no-brainer

To set up 2 percent rewards, you'll also need to provide your USA bank account and routing number plus a debit card number and USA driver's license number.

You could get more rewards with the right card.

There is, however, a fairly significant catch: You can no longer use a credit card to pay for things, at least if you want your reward. You require a U.S. checking account, debit card and driving licence. Amazon says that it normally uses your debit card to reload your gift balance, but that "to fulfill your reload faster, we will sometimes route orders through your debit card instead of your bank account".

Prime Reload joins Amazon's other payment products that include the Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card with Chase Bank and the Amazon Store Card, which both offer 5% cash-back though the Store Card applies that as a statement credit.

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While 2 percent is not a massive amount of money, it's better than nothing, and it could be the sweetener that tips some undecided on-the-fencers into taking out a Prime subscription. Gift cards don't offer such protection. Maximum reward payments per day are capped at $196, at which point you'd have put nearly $10k in gift card balance into your account. With a credit card, you can keep that money in your own pocket until you actually make a purchase and pay for it. (Those probably aren't issues for most customers; the latter would equate to almost $10,000 in reloads.) Furthermore, this is a "limited time offer" and "good while supplies last", meaning Amazon could decide to pull the plug at any time.

In fact, Amazon Prime Reload is built on top of the Gift Card infrastructure that's already in place, according to the page detailing how the new service works.

And don't forget the biggest red-flag: If you have funds tied up in your Amazon gift-card, you can't use them elsewhere - like to buy groceries or get your vehicle towed.

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