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I feel like this should almost be a monthly installment on the blog, as the world of gift cards and pre-paids seems to have some relatively significant changes at least once a month…and that is also about as often as I get a chance to do a gift card run. Anyway, today was my chance to load up on more gift cards and/or pre-paid cards, so I headed to Walmart to try to repeat my success story from a month ago. Vanilla Reloads are very scarce in my city, so instead my plan was to buy a couple $500 Visa gift cards at Walmart, and load them to my Bluebird using the Walmart Money Center machine. This worked beautifully last time since the Visa gift cards purchased after April 1st can now be used with pin numbers (though each issuing bank handles how you get the pin differently).
Last time I remarked that “this might be too doable” and “I won’t be shocked if this method doesn’t stick around forever in it’s current form”. I was able to do everything in one easy stop, and anytime anything is too easy, it seems to not last very long. So, imagine my (lack of) shock when today the Walmart register would no longer allow Visa gift cards to be paid for with a credit card. The cashier tried everything, but the machine was adamant that my “form of tender was not accepted”. Drats!
So, I went to CVS. As usual they did not have any Vanilla Reloads, but they had some Vanilla Visa gift cards. I picked up the up to $500 variety and was able to pay there with a credit card without issue. Unlike the handy version I purchased last time from Walmart (pictured below), this version requires you to choose your pin by having a debit transaction and choosing your pin on that first transaction. I did that and then was able to load it to the Bluebird via the Walmart Money Center machine…though I am now wondering if my first transaction where I selected my pin could have been at the ATM/Walmart Money Center machine. Update: A few folks in the comments have indeed done this, so no need for an extra step. Buy the card and go straight to the Money Center machine and enter any four digit pin you want.
Next time I will buy the gift card before heading to Walmart since I now know that at least my local Walmart is no longer friendly toward credit cards. I’ll probably visit a local grocery store for a gift card and pay with a card that earns a bonus on “groceries”.
Have you experienced the same thing at your Walmart? Do you have to keep adjusting your gift card and prepaid card method to keep up with the constant changes with what works and what doesn’t?