MasterCard Worldwide has announced a new promotion to encourage consumers to use its prepaid spending cards. Like debit cards or gift cards, prepaid cards can be used instead of cash to shop at bricks-and-mortar stores or make purchases or pay bills online.
The promotion offers two free movie tickets to anyone who gets and loads funds onto a MasterCard Prepaid card through the end of October, according to a company statement.
The MasterCard Prepaid cards can be obtained from Western Union, either online or in-store, beginning this month or from NetSpend, online only, starting in August. The cards must be activated and/or registered online, depending on where they are purchased.
Consumers who use their new MasterCard Prepaid card also will be entered into a drawing to win a trip to a movie premiere in 2012. The marketing campaign also includes "surprise in-theater promotions at select theaters across the country," the company said.
All that sounds enticing, but as always, consumers should read the fine print and be sure they understand the terms before they decide to use any financial product or service.
In this case, according to the official rules, the offer is limited to the first 16,000 people who meet the requirements, the tickets can be used only at participating movie theaters, and 3-D or IMAX screenings are excluded or may involve surcharges. If a comparable ticket is priced at more than $12, the consumer must pay the difference. The tickets expire Nov. 30, 2011, and cannot be used after that date or converted into cash.
MasterCard Prepaid cards also can be subject to a variety of fees that aren't well-disclosed. Examples, according to a fee schedule on a WesternUnion website, include charges for balance inquiries, ATM withdrawals, inactivity and cash reloading.
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