Amazon launches Prime Reload cashback service for loyalty

Through a new rewards program called Amazon Prime Reload, Prime members can receive 2 percent back on purchases when they first load funds into their Amazon Balance using a debit card attached to their bank's checking account.

There are better perks to be had, however, starting with Amazon's own Prime Rewards Visa Card, which pays you back 5 percent on all Amazon purchases; 2 percent at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; and 1 percent everywhere else. The company recently launched its Cash service to court people without any bank cards, and Reload appears to be a logical extension: it addresses those people who have a debit card, but can't (or just won't) use a credit card. As well as already being a Prime member - which will set you back $99 per year, or $10.99 per month - you'll need to register both a debit card and a USA bank account with the retailer. Amazon also offers a credit card that gives card holders cash back on any Amazon.com purchases.

- Amazon knows how to keep you topping up your gift card balance: offer a little money in return. When you put a big chunk of cash into your Amazon gift card balance for future spending, you're basically giving Amazon an interest-free loan. Also, take note: the amount you reload to your Amazon Balance is nonrefundable or redeemable for cash.

Let's say you want to purchase something for $100. The company effectively becomes your secondary bank, providing instant 2 percent interest every time you make a deposit (i.e. "reload"). 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. This way, it gets to bypass those fees while passing along some of the savings to you.

Here, Amazon explains how to get started earning rewards.

  • Zachary Reyes