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For the last several months I have successfully been paying some of our recurring monthly bills via Evolve Money with gift cards that I purchased using rewards earning credit cards. I usually buy these gift cards at office supply stores, grocery stores, or even gas stations. I do this mainly to hit minimum spending requirements on cards that would otherwise be tough for me to hit, though also to occasionally take advantage of category bonuses or rebates/discounts that some stores occasionally offer on gift cards. I have written about Evolve Money a few times, such as in this post, so head there for a more generic overview.
Earn More Points By Paying More Everyday Bills:
I’m not big into the game some like to call “manufacture spending” where you essentially “manufacture” expenses (usually involving buying gift cards and then finding a way to “cash them out” to rack up more points on your credit cards), but I am a big fan of making sure that I use my rewards earning credit card for as many of my real everyday expenses as possible and Evolve Money helps with that goal.
You can’t pay every bill in the world via Evolve Money, but you can pay lots of different bills to tons of different companies big and small. This can range from local storage facilities, to utility payments, to car payments and more. There are some limits on payments such as up to $1,000.00 in bill payments in a calendar day and a max of four (4) payments to the same biller account number per calendar month.
Payments Failing with Gift Cards:
Over the weekend I scheduled payments to pay my J Crew Card, Pottery Barn Card, and our local electricity provider. I have paid all of these bills via gift cards on Evolve Money many times, but this time the payments to the J Crew card and Pottery Barn cards failed while the electricity payment went through just fine. Yes, I really use a J Crew and Pottery Barn card – don’t judge!
The error message I got emailed for the two failed payments said that “there was a problem with your card.” I was trying to pay with $200 Vanilla Visa gift cards, so at first I was worried something was actually wrong with using those cards now. A little more digging on this Flyertalk thread and looking closer at the Evolve Money site showed that this problem is not localized to my cards or accounts. Since the last time I used the site, they had introduced the ability to schedule payments a month and a half in advance, but the downside to that is that when you are paying with a gift card and one time use pre-paid debit cards you cannot make payments more than 1-2 business days in advance.
I didn’t want to schedule my card payments for future dates, but the system was forcing me to pick a date that was a few days out. Ultimately I think this is what led to the payments failing since I was paying with a gift card. The Flyertalk thread I referenced pointed to more problems with these sort of payments on the weekends than weekdays, so I have rescheduled the payments on a weekday and we will see what happens. They look good to go at this point, but I will dig deeper and update if they fail again.
Recommendations when using Evolve Money:
- Make payments on weekdays instead of weekends as they seem to process faster, which is key for gift card success
- Try to not schedule payments into the future when paying with gift cards or similar as they are more likely to fail outside 1-2 days
- Do not throw away the gift cards until you know for sure the payment has gone through
- Pay attention to the texts/emails they send you that alert you as to whether the payment has succeeded or failed
I’m pretty confident the payments will go through as they are already showing as processing when I look at my gift card balance online. I just think that over the weekend the system didn’t process the payment in time and the payment ultimately failed.
Have you noticed any changes when paying bills via Evolve Money recently? Is this a part of your family’s points earning strategy?