I've come across a situation lately where I think I'm going to end up with some money "stuck" on a credit card and I'm wondering how to get it off. Here's the scenario. I purchased some clothes online from the Gap and Old Navy. I have 90 days to return any items I don't want but my credit card is due in less than thirty days. So if I don't get the items returned before my credit card bill is due (my fault, I know), I will have to pay the bill in full even though I know I have a significant refund coming my way. Then I will have a credit balance on the card and the money will be stuck there until I make another purchase at one of these stores, which I'm not planning to do anytime soon since I just bought all the clothes I could possibly need for a while. This effectively turns my refund into a store credit and ties up that cash for months.
I don't like this scenario. Had I not paid with a store credit card, it wouldn't be a problem. I could just use the credit to buy gas or groceries or whatever I wanted. But I paid with my Gap card so I could earn 5% back. I could accomplish the return immediately by driving to both a Gap and an Old Navy, but the amount of money that would cost me in gas is a little ridiculous since they are not near my home (hence the online shopping in the first place--shipping is cheaper than gas).
Moral of story: Store credit cards have hidden drawbacks that other credit cards do not, so use them carefully.
Photo by kewfriend
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