Prepaids, BlueBirds, and Walmarts: Round 3

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I’m a bit of a reluctant participant in the world of prepaids. I always have been, and at this point I presume I always will be. I don’t like the hassle of getting them, I don’t like keeping up with them, I don’t like being looked at like I’m a degenerate or up to something sneaky when I’m rummaging around the gift card rack, I don’t like Walmart, and I don’t like the risk of there being fraud holds or similar on my cards. I have worked hard to have good credit and good credit cards with at least decent customer service and I would rather use them than some rinky dink prepaid card.

So why bother then? Well, because it can be a good way to rack up some extra miles and points for things that you either normally wouldn’t earn points on at all (such as paying a student loan), or to capitalize on buying gift cards at places that earn a category bonus on your credit cards (drug stores, grocery stores, office supply stores, etc). At the very least I don’t want to be ignorant to this constantly evolving method of earning points. So, it was time for me to get some first hand experience with the next evolution of prepaids. I’ll call it Round 3.

If you follow some other blogs (or even watch the news) you may have already noticed a pretty significant development for Visa and MasterCard gift cards. As of April 1st they are starting to have the option of using a pin number like a traditional debit card (though be careful as I’m not sure they all have it at this point). This doesn’t mean you can just take them and head straight to the ATM to pull out cash, but it does mean that you can use them for purchases that require a PIN number – like when loading an American Express BlueBird at Walmart. Now how these gift cards are handling the PIN seems to really vary with some being more user-friendly than others. I like Frequent Miler’s post on his experience with some different types of gift cards, but I chose to do my own experiment a little blind (as in I didn’t read his before venturing out). This was partly just because I was in a hurry, but also because if you have to be a gift card expert to make this work then it really isn’t for me. Of course, I do recommend you reading his post before venturing out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Office Depot:

First I headed to my old favorite for prepaids, Office Depot. I have very much enjoyed using office supply stores for their category bonus on certain credit cards, but it has become a much less lucrative endeavor over time as they first stopped carrying Vanilla Reloads and then stopped carrying the $500 gift cards. In fact, my own personal OD was very picked over in the gift department today. The best thing they had were two $200 Amex gift cards that each came with a gnarly $6.95 activation fee. I was on a mission today so I bought them and will earn 2,069 Ultimate Reward points at 5x from their purchase. My cost for those points was .67 cents per point. Considering I will get at least 1.5 – 2 cents per value out of my points (and often higher), the math is still on my side. However, the hassle and expensive factor is increasing since the amount on each card is so low, and the price is the highest I have ever paid.ย  This also won’t help me directly with my BlueBird experiment since they don’t have a PIN, but it was good to stay current with what my local office supply store offered.ย  I could also turn around and use them to purchase gift cards that have a PIN at another store, if I wanted.

On the up side I don’t mind visiting Office Depot as it is rarely crowded and easy for me to get to. I just wish they had a better selection of gift cards in stock.

 

Walmart #1:

After an easy visit at Office Depot I was ready to brave Walmart. Walmart terrifies me in some ways, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. However, it is the only place I know of where you can load your BlueBird via a machine. Like I mentioned at the beginning, I really prefer to not be treated like I am doing something sneaky, so I would rather deal with a machine than an employee who may either think I am up to no good, or just doesn’t know how to do what I am asking.ย  However, you can also reload your BlueBird at Walmart via the employees and not just the machine.

My first stop at this WalMart was to the gift card section that lines the check-out aisles.ย  Each check-out had its own mini-gift card selection over the candy and overpriced magazines. Some of the rows looked like a tornado had come through with more gift cards in a box at the bottom than in the shelves. However, I was able to find a card that looked good. It was a Walmart “Gift For You” Visa Gift Card that could be loaded with anywhere from $25 – $500 for a $4.94 fee. It was issued by the University National Bank – and it is not to be confused with the Walmart-specific gift cards.

I really had no clue what I was doing, but I liked that it said “Debit” on the package. Interestingly enough, when I bought another one later in the day it was labeled even better. So, I loaded it with $500 using one of my rewards earning credit cards and also paid the $4.94 fee.

My plan was to head right over to the Walmart Money Center ATM (usually located near their MoneyCenter/Service Center at the front of the store) to try and load it to my Amex BlueBird since it should work with a debit card, but not a credit card.ย  Naturally, the machine was broken. At this point I felt like I needed to do more research before moving on anyway, so I headed home annoyed and a bit frustrated.

Walmart #2:

I went online to WalmartGift.com to register my gift card and see if I was able to add a PIN number as there was no info about a PIN on or in the package. While reading the FAQ’s about the card online I saw that the PIN was simply the last four digits of the card, as long as the card was purchased after April 1st. With this knowledge, I loaded back into the car to head to another Walmart to try and load this to my Bluebird.

Luckily the MoneyCenter machine was working fine at Walmart #2. I selected the “Walmart MoneyCard” option under Card Services (who knows why this option works to load a BlueBird, but it does).

I then told it I wanted to reload. It asked me to swipe my card (the BlueBird) on the pin pad, and then enter the amount to load. I selected $500 (the full amount on the debit card/gift card I just purchased) and after a few agonizing minutes it worked. The machine printed out a receipt showing my new BlueBird balance and my adrenaline went up a few notches. I wanted to do it again.ย  If you want a detailed step-by-step process of using this machine read Million Mile Secrets post.

So, I headed to the gift card section at this second Walmart and found the same gift card I bought before, only this one had a handy sticker on it that said my PIN was the last four digits of my card number.

I again put $500 on the card and marched right back to the machine to feed my BlueBird some more money. It went through immediately just like last time, and that whole process from gift card purchase until I got my receipt from the Walmart MoneyCenter machine was about two minutes. That is doable even for busy parents.

I had spent $9.88 plus some time and gas to earn 1,000 points on my credit cards.ย  That works out to a little under a cent per point, and while I value the points more than that, this wouldn’t be spectacular solely for that.ย  However, I do think it makes sense to hit minimum spending requirements you otherwise couldn’t reach, and/or to trigger annual spending thresholds that otherwise would be outside your target.ย  For example, I want to earn the two for one benefit on the British Airways card that requires $30,000 in annual spending on the card.ย  That sounds like an out-of-reach number, but if we decided to use this method to pay our monthly mortgage and student loan, then all the sudden that number doesn’t sound out of reach at all.ย  Also, if you are willing to add an extra step or two to the equation, you can shop online for gift cards via cashback portals that would reduce or even eliminate your out of pocket costs.ย  You must follow Frequent Miler if you have any interest in delving deeper into the world of prepaids as I just scratch the surface.

In fact, this might be too doable. I really thought I was going to be writing about how this method is too much of a PITA for most buys parents who just want to pay things like student loans via BlueBlrd, but instead it is kind of the opposite. As long as you have easy access to a Walmart with a working MoneyCenter machine and a fair selection of gift cards, this is really easy as you could do $1,000 at a time on a BlueBird all in one stop within a couple minutes. Since it is so simple, I won’t be shocked if this method doesn’t stick around forever in it’s current form. I would love to be wrong though as this would make it relatively simple for me to put the BlueBird back in regular rotation for bills I can’t pay with a credit card.ย  I will also add if you still have easy access to purchasing Vanilla Reloads with a credit card at certain drug stores, that is an easier method as you can load them online…but not everyone has that easy access.

I also want to include the caution not to go crazy with this.ย  I personally put my $400 at Office Depot and $500 each at two Walmarts all on different cards from different issuers.ย  I may be overly cautious, but I am not interested in having huge charges at stores like Walmart (though remember Visa gift cards are sold at all sorts of stores) start appearing on my accounts.ย  I only plan to buy what I will actually use in a month to pay bills.ย  I’m not going to be a Points Billionaire with this method, but hopefully it will keep me out of trouble, and make sure I can still (try to) sleep at night.

This isn’t nearly as lucrative as when we were buying reloads at office supply stores for 5x and loading them to the BlueBird online, but it isn’t a terrible option either…other than the fact you have to go to Walmart to load them.

What do you think?ย  Have you used a gift card with a PIN since April 1st?ย  Do you think this is a method you will use from time to time, or is it still too much hassle for too little return?

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Comments

  1. I have plenty of VRs at the CVS. Should I continue with this process for earning miles or go the Office Depot route then to Walmart route?

  2. You will pay less using CVS (which I do). You have to load them online, but that’s OK. The closest Walmart to me is 30 minutes away, which isn’t worth for $1K at a time. I will be looking into the topcashback stuff for amex gifts cards. That could be worth it for a round or two if it is truly free (or money back ultimately).

  3. VR’s are still the proverbial Holy Grail for manufactured spend.
    But, as you opined, use discretion and do not abuse it.

  4. Sil, VRs are easier if you have access (and consider yourself lucky)! This gift card route would be better if/when you can get them at a place with a better category bonus than drug stores or if you wanted to buy them online at a discount. Personally I would stick with your method if you have easy access.
    Alex, I think the VR method is the easiest – this is more for those who aren’t lucky enough to have that easy option.
    Geoff, indeed.

  5. Thanks very much for your input. The CVS store is 1 mile from work and it seems like I am the only one who frequent it. I know only because I count the VRS on the rack after I leave. I buy about $2500 worth using 2 or 3 credit cards per month.

  6. Now that there are PIN numbers with prepaids, I’ve got to sign up for a bluebird. For now there even seem to be fairly regular promos for GCs with fee waived, or some kind of money back/grocery store coupon that makes them break even. Then if I can turn that into a way to pay my mortgage…. BA fly together pass here I come! (as soon as I meet the minimum spend on my CSP, of course).

  7. Sil, you must live near me:)
    I am the only one who ever uses VR’s, the cashiers at CVS know me by name(maybe not a good thing) and it’s about 500 yards from my office.
    Minimum spends are a breeze. Yes, I/we are lucky, I mean fortunate.

  8. @Geoff – Same here. The cashiers at CVS now recognize me. What do you tell them when they ask you, why are you buying so many?

  9. Glad to see you’ve managed to quell your fear of WalMart for a brief visit. It really is a ‘terrifying’ place. (roll eyes here). Probably having to be so close to the unwashed masses that is so terrifying. Amazing the depths to which us elitists will descend for a few free points! (By the way, there are easy ways to avoid the fees you are paying but I’m sure you’ll mention that after you’ve read a few other blogs and catch up. Lol)

  10. Don’t forget you can use a GC with PIN to purchase a money order. They only cost $.70 at Walmart and are a good way around the $5,000/mo. Bluebird limit if you choose to exceed it. VR is still the best if you have a card w/o category bonuses. GC’s have a slight advantage with the 5xs Ink cards (slightly cheaper at $6.95 vs $7.90 for VR and you only have to spend $200 vs $1,000 for the same amount of points). Similar strategy for cards that have category bonuses at the grocery store; Safeway sells Visa and MC GCs- $500 for $5.95.

  11. $1k/limit my foot. Clock resets at 12 a.m. EST, or 9 p.m. for those of us on the west coast. Load $1k at 8:59, load another $1k at 9:01, double your trip load. Ms. Ford recently became interested in exploring new banking options and decided to try BB…

    I bought a car last month and financed $7,500 to get a $500 rebate. I’ll have the whole amount paid off via BB before the 1st statement hits, having earned points for all of it. Still hesitant to unplug mortgage, but student loans will be BB paid from next month. We’ll see how long this lasts, it’s really too goo to last IMO.

  12. @caveman. No, I do maybe 5 or 6 a month. The rest of my bills are already on CC’s. I know I could theoretically do $5K/month but I try not to overdo it. They never ask me anything anymore except to slide my card:)
    @Gene. CRW

  13. @Geoff and Caveman. One cashier at our local CVS knows us too, which is not a bad thing. He is always friendly and smiles and has never given us a problem. He said our first $1,007.90 purchase was the largest they’d ever had and since then we’ve been back a few times. I’m sure he knows exactly what we are up to.

  14. The ability to reload BB @ Walmart is a great value for every one.
    I keep my spend under 3K a month on the GC/VR/BB route. All these days I have been getting $200 GCs at Office Supply Stores using Ink Bold, converting them to VRs at CVS (yes, my CVS allows credit cards). But not everyone have VRs available or a CVS that allows GCs.
    I will continue to buy the GCs at an office supply store and go to WM to load my BB. Now with not needing to buy VRs one step can be eliminated. Even though the CPM is same, sticking to 200 GCs will earn more points. I usually pay bills worth 3K every month. Directly loading at WM will get 3K points but going thru the Ink Bold route will get me 4X more points for an addition OOP cost keeping the CPM almost same.

  15. Jamie, sounds like we have similar goals!
    Gene, they were just part of the update on where prepaids stand right now. I could use them to buy gift cards, but I may just spend them as they are an easy way to assign a card to a spouse. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Geoff/caveman/Michelle, you guys do have a good thing going!
    Chris, it is not an elitest thing. It just isn’t a pleasant thing. I did social work for years and Walmart can’t touch what I have seen…but it isn’t a place I enjoy. True story, a couple weeks ago we tried to buy a kiddie pool there as no one else had them. We were told they had 38 in stock and to pay for it then pick it up from the covered (but not locked) bin on the way out. Turns out all 38 were stolen. We then got to go in a big loop to now get our money back and continue our search. It’s the kind of crowded and chaotic place people steal $11.96 kiddie pools, not the place I like to spend my free time. That said, there are Walmarts that are not as gross – mine just isn’t one of them. As far as ways to avoid fees I do mention buying them online via a cashback portal. I also strongly suggest anyone who wants to dive into this to read a blog like Frequent Miler who spends more time and thought on gift cards than I am personally going to be able to do.
    Ford, I agree, but good while it works!
    PhatMiles, good plan!

  16. Hi! Great post! I’m new to the whole miles/points thing and currently only hold a Chase Sapphire and AmEx Premier. I’m interested in buying the gift cards at places with bonus categories like grocery stores/gas stations! I’m in Florida and we don’t have Kroger! Any success with Publix or other grocery chains in the south? Thanks!

  17. Meghanb904, hopefully some in in FL can chime in!
    InACents, I hear ya. It pushes the limits, but really isn’t too bad with the machine if you are near a Walmart…but I wouldn’t do it all the time. 1-2 visits a month would be my max in all likelihood.

  18. Ya know, this is a pretty darn good alternative. I live and commute near 7-8 CVS stores… 1-2 only takes CASH/DEBIT, and the other 4-5 are usually sold out.

    Thanks for this update. This may cut my travel/effort time.

  19. I agree with you about Walmart – fortunately I can easily buy VRs at CVS – but if I couldn’t, I would have to think long and hard if this would be worth having to go into Walmart. Not because of the people shopping in the store, but because of the completely horrible shopping experience. Remember the poor greeters that Walmart used to have accosting you at the door? Not fun. Now if Bluebird was run through Target – I would have no problem going in multiple times a month :).

  20. I have been buying VRs at local drug store. No problem with supply at my choice of 5 locations. I just switched to buying $200 gc’s at office supply stores and loading them on my BB card atWM. The only problem I have is that there is only one WM in my area that has the correct ATM.This method accumulates pts much faster until you hit the 50K limit for the 5X pts. Its also slightly less cost per point but does add an additional step to the process. Of course, one can always reload the BB card at a register with a limit of 4 gc’s per transaction if the ATM is not there/not working………

  21. That is way too much trouble for a few miles.

    Some/most store will not allow you to use credit card to pay for debit cards or amex gift cards. Add gas, time, having to go to Walmart, yuck the parking lot makes me want to vomit, and not too mention getting flagged by any of your creditors. Chase is catching up as well and God forbid you get hit by AMEX FR.

    The Frequent Miler writes a lot of BS about Bigcrumbs and TopCashback. And you cant use CIti anyway since they treat these as cash advances

  22. those who do these (POINTS ABUSE) specially using chase and amex cards are GUARANTEED to get shut down. it is just a matter of time. once they shut down, they will take your points away. I know 2 of my buddies got shut down by chase when they used to frequent office depot stores and lost 300k points. STAY AWAY FROM COMMITTING SUICIDE

  23. Okay – I just read the EXACT SAME MESSAGE that @SAM wrote written on the Point Me To The Plane blog (written as jim). Are you just going around to all sites talking about the Gift Cards with pins and trying to scare people? I have not checked the FM blog but I am sure it is there too. And I just duplicated this message of the other blog too :).
    @jason – I had to laugh at your Walmart parking lot reference – I feel the exact same way. I would rather pay for shipping from Walmart than actually set foot in the store.

  24. @Tana LOL isn’t that a riot. The place looks like a war zone. Give me Target any day!

    Need to say, OUR CREDIT is the most important financial tool we can have. I would not risk getting blacklisted by Chase (they do that) or getting hit with a Amex FR. God forbid if they close an account and mark it as such on your credit report. Not good.

    Good luck and do it wisely!

  25. @ Tana, really? so you go around begging me to reveal my real name? My message is same regardless of what name i use.

    If I were you, I’d say thanks for the warning or reminder! What a pity!

  26. When you bought the prepaid cards at walmart, did they give you any hassles about using a credit card to pay for it?

  27. Your write up is great and sadly, the first paragraph rings true in that people are often made to feel bad or weird just for buying products that are displayed for sale.
    .
    But I want to say that I think despite this notion, more and more of us should buy more and more gcs and PPs! Why? Because if more people hover around and buy from those gc racks and do what we do, then THIS IN ITSELF becomes “normal” in the eyes of those who may wonder why we do it so much. We therefore raise the bar, as it were.
    .
    Finally, we must all realize that we are doing nothing wrong. It shouldn’t affect our lives or credit and should be challenged whenever any person or entity thinks we are somehow bad or wrong just for being a consumer who has the means to consume. As long as you pay your CC bill back and follow all T&Cs of a program, there’s no shame in it. If someone says there is, sue em for slander or bait & switch and see what happens next.

  28. -No hassles buying a Visa gift card with a credit card.
    -i wish it was Target, too!
    -SAM has used at least a dozen names just on this site. There are some folks who do post things to scare other folks away from methods of earning points. Happens on blogs and message boards. There are also folks who have been shut down and try to warn others – though I think typically for things I get nowhere close to doing. No way to tell for sure which this is, but both do exist.

  29. I really don’t think that I have ever gone overboard with any gc’s so I don’t have anything to be worried about. My CVS has a huge amount of VR cards and I think I am the only one that buys them. I frequent the store for other items a few times a week so buying them with a credit card has never been a problem. They know me and never ask for an ID. I usually use my Hilton American Express for the 6x per dollar (until that dies May 1st) then I will figure something else out. I buy some gift cards at OD but not enough to through up a red flag.

  30. Only people to get shutdown are perk abusers which is 2 categories:
    1) those who used the chase freedom to do a million 1cent transactions to get 10 points per transaction
    2) those who abused AARP 5% on all purchases who did more than $50k in a very short period.
    There are no others who have been shutdown. The AARP deal is the very reason why chase now has 50k limits for office categories.
    So for normal users putting large charges without abusing special perks where chase also makes money are in little risk of shutdown. There are cases of people doing 2million or 3million getting shutdown but most of the people who post on forums or here do not want others to get as much as they are getting. And of course there are a lot of sore users who got burned by freedom and AARP who are now shutdown and want others to also not get these lucrative miles.
    I personally know at least 10 folks who have done 300k+ last year on chase as well as Amex and only 2 of them got a FR from Amex but after submitting the tax forms their accounts are in good standing. None of them got shut down from chase.

  31. Still haven’t dipped my toes in these waters. (this kiddie pool?) Early on I bought a couple ice creams– they remain uncashed to this day.

    Are you using the Freedom quarterly bonuses for the CVS purchases? If so, does that mean that there will be 3 month stretches when the drug stores aren’t so lucrative?

  32. I successfully brought $500 visa gc With my preferred amex card at local grocery store, setup PIN and load onto my bluebird, can I use $500 to paid back the credit card I use? It will look really bad huh?

  33. You can order the MEX bluebird online for free. They will mail you one with with your name inscribed. I recharge after my Walmart purchase. All the cashiers I have experienced are well trained in reload the bluebird card and complete the transaction in less than 30 seconds. I se to never shop at Walmart but now I pick up few items ever ytime I recharge my card. I earn points now for paying my mortgage and utilities.

  34. I am new to all this prepaid stuff, but got excited when I read this post. I ordered a Bluebird card and it arrived in the mail today. I am excited to go to Walmart (never thought I’d say that) and load it. But I am a bit nervous also. For some reason I am afraid it won’t work and I will be stuck with the $500 gift card. I plan to use the Bluebird to pay my electric bill, water bill etc. Would love to pay my mortgage with it too, but I must take baby steps for right now.

    I have been earning miles by opening credit cards for year but I had no idea there was such a large community of people doing this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. I am newbie. Tonight I got the Amex gold and Business cards, even though my credit score is below 700! My question is, (I know it sounds dumb to you experienced travelers), how do you use the prepaid cards??. Amex was very specific that I can’t use the credit cards to buy prepaid cards. Can I use the gcs and prepaid cards (I have a bluebird) to meet the spending requirement for my points bonus? {I have a Skymiles debit card, which I load to my bluebird and pay my mortgage, and I earned a trip to Alaska that way. But it doesn’t have a mileage bonus.}

    • Nancy,

      How did AMEX tell you that you can use the credit card to buy prepaids? Is it on the application or paperwork you got with the card? I have a feeling the credit cards will shut this down soon. ๐Ÿ™

      An update to my earlier post. I used my Capital One Venture card to buy a $500 debit card at Walmart and loaded it onto my Bluebird with no problem. I then set up the Bluebird to pay my electric bill and it worked just fine.

      Right now my AA card is offering3x bonus miles for purchases so I may try that again. But I don’t think I’m going to go crazy with this. It kinda makes me nervous.

      • It said on the paperwork/application that I will NOT get points or earning credit for buying prepaid cards, bluebird included, because I specifically asked.

        Will other credit cards (like the Starwood card) allow me to buy prepaids and get points? I don’t believe it said anything about gift cards, so would that be a viable option to reach my spending limit to get the bonus points?

        • Nancy, in practice those printed words are generally not true. The process works just fine for most cards – especially when buying those types of things in the store.

  36. Hi! I finally got brave enough to try the whole gift card/Bluebird thing, and today was my first attempt at Wal-Mart. It didn’t go well. I tried to buy a $500 Visa with a $4.94 fee with my Sapphire Preferred card. The machine didn’t accept the payment, and the cashier said I needed to purchase that type of card with cash or a debit card with a PIN. That surprised me, but I thought maybe I missed something in the process? Do you think the cashier was just wrong?

    • Nichole – That’s weird. I’ve done it twice now, with 2 different credit cards and not had a problem. It makes me a nervous wreck each time, but it worked. I plan to do it one more time and then I’m done. But now I will be even more nervous.

      What type of Visa card was it? The ones I bought have both been WalMart VISA cards and they say Happy Birthday with a picture of a birthday cake on them. ๐Ÿ™‚ I made sure to buy the same one the 2nd time, because I knew it worked the first time. I did notice another one there that was Vanilla something. I think I read bad things about those on here, so I stayed away from it.

  37. @Ford – I’ve tried loading right before 9am pst and right after, but it hasnt worked either time i tried in the past 2 weeks. Can anyone confirm doing 2k in reloads by using this 9pm trick? If it works, I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.

  38. I finally got around to jumping into the whole Bluebird thing, and after a few false starts (figuring out which stores in my area have the ATM that actually works) I’m pleased to report that I was able to load my Bluebird card at a machine (with a Chase gift card I ordered online and a MC debit purchased at Kroger – which received fuel points, wahoo!) WITH my 2.5 yo and 4 yo boys waiting somewhat patiently in the stroller.

    @Nichole, I purchased that exact gift card with my Sapphire Preferred card at Walmart with no hassles – except that I bought 2 of them and the cashier said he had to ring them up separately (and separate from the items I was also purchasing, so 3 different transactions, ugh). Yes, I think your cashier was just wrong.

  39. I have made about 4 Bluebird loads and never had a problem. I always feel somewhat guilty though. Like I’m doing something wrong.

  40. Susan, it is much easier once you get into the routine (until things inevitably change on you, of course)!
    LMR, I know what you mean! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  41. Bought the purple WM gift card yesterday and loaded at the kiosk to my BB today with no problems ($500). The ONLY thing I found odd was the cashier said I had to purchase each WM GC separately from my other purchases…wonder if this is so the banks can differentiate when someone is purchasing GCs alone.

  42. Love your blog! I used your BritAir card link to get the 50K miles. I’ll use them to take two rt flights on Alaska to Hawaii (yes I live on the west coast).
    I’m not sure why I shouldn’t just take the Chase giftcard or Vanilla reload card to my credit union to make a cash advance and deposit in into my credit union. I can then pay my bills via a credit union check. Any reason why I shouldn’t do it this way? Thanks!

  43. Yeah, this doesn’t work for me or at least in my area. Just today Wal-Mart told me they would not sell me a gift card with a credit card. Now what? Plus, there were basically ZERO Visa gift cards in the amount of $500. I tried with purchasing a $500 Mastercard gift card, but still they said it didn’t matter what card. They will not sell me one while paying with a credit card.

  44. My walmart doesn’t have an atm. I just go through the check out line with my purchases and tell them that I have another transaction; that I want to load my bluebird card. I hand them the card, tell them the amount, approve it on the pinpad, swipe my debit or gift card, enter the pin number, and that’s it!

    I learned through other blogs about buying gift cards online. I have done this twice. I go to ebates.com, then go to giftcardmall.com, and purchase my $500 gift cards with a credit card. They come right away! They come with instructions to add a pin. By going through ebates and gift card mall I get a 1% rebate which helps defray the cost :)) Hope this helps.

    • Well I tried going to through ebates.com and then giftcardmall.com It worked once. When I tried to buy another one, I was denied. I guess they only let you do it once? Or do you have to wait a certain amount of time before purchasing another? I do not have much luck in this gift card game. ๐Ÿ™

    • Looks like I got a little too excited. That was Capital One Fraud protection that declined the charge! Ooops. They said I can go ahead and complete the purchase now….but I’m a bit nervous. I really shouldn’t play this game at all. It’s too stressful. ๐Ÿ™

  45. it was good while it lasted! I had been successfully purchasing these gift/debit cards at several Walmarts in my area, and loading onto my Bluebird at either the atm kiosk or even with a cashier when the atm timed-out once. The last one I bought was two days ago, and I noticed that they only had one of this style of card left. I went to 4 Walmarts today in my regular course of running around and 3 of them did not have these cards at all, and the last one had several, but the cashier said that I could only purchase with cash or a debit card, not a credit card. She said that they never should have been taking credit cards for them anyway–company policy. This is the first issue that I have had in terms of buying them. Well, the first issue since I haven’t been able to find Vanilla Reloads for the past 6 weeks or so in my area. I understand that there is a new update coming for that ‘method’, and hopefully it won’t cut us off anymore from being able to use them how we have become used to. Until then, I’ll keep trying at different Walmarts to see if I can get a few more slipped in.

    • I have been having great success lately purchasing VISA gift cards through giftcardmall.com and going through ebates to get $5 for the purchase. It takes about a week for the cards to come through the mail and then I have to go to Walmart to load them on to the Bluebird. I have not had any problems! (though I’m sure this won’t last forever)

      I only purchase 2-3 $500 cards per month. Enough to cover my mortgage and electric, sanitation and water bills. So I’m not a “big spender” in that regard. But I’m happy earning the miles that I do with this.

  46. Did anyone else get this email from Bluebird this morning? Is this going to impact how we reload at the walmart kiosks?

    —–
    We would like to inform you about a change to your Bluebird Account effective November 12, 2013.

    For added security, you will no longer be able to link 4 debit cards to your Account and instead will only be able to link 1 debit card. As a reminder, the debit card must be in your name to successfully link to your Bluebird Account.

    And don’t forget, you can add money to your Account with a debit card at Walmart for free.

    Should you have any questions about this change, you can contact a Bluebird Customer Care Professional at 1-877-486-5990.

    • That’s about linking debit cards (from your bank account) to your Bluebird account online. Does not affect how you load them in the Walmart store with prepaids.

  47. Thank you, Laura R.
    I have successfully been able to purchase Visa debit cards through GCM, going through Ebates, and it seems to be working just fine, although the turn-around time is longer, and they change up the way that you get your activation codes for the cards…so sometimes that drags the process out a bit longer, but worth it so far.

  48. Does this still work? Can I buy GCs at WM and reload BB? now that CVS stopped taking CC for BB, looking for an alternative way to fund BB. Thanks!

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