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Update: It also looks like credit cards are not charging the regular 3% fee today on Evolve Money, but that is likely a glitch and who knows if those payments will be honored or charged later or what. Proceed at your own risk….I did!
For a while now I have used the website Evolve Money with some regularity to liquidate Visa gift cards that I purchased using a rewards earning credit card at a retailer that paid out a bonus on that card (ex. 5x at office supply stores, 4.5x at grocery stores, etc.). Via Evolve Money I would pay bills such as utilities, store credit cards, and more using those gift cards. There was no fee to use prepaid gift (aka prepaid debit) cards via Evolve Money, so it was a simple and free process that even busy parents could manage.
Very recently they started accepting Visa and MasterCard credit cards to pay bills online, but introduced a 3% fee to do so on those types of cards, and also on Discover credit cards which were previously free.
Now, they have really dropped the hammer and sent out an email that states:
Beginning next week, certain debit cards from smaller banks, as well as prepaid debit cards and gift cards will be subject to a 3 percent Bill Pay Fee on each payment.
This Bill Pay Fee will be waived for most major debit cards, cash load packs and Evolve Money credits. You can continue to use these payment methods free-of-charge.
The email concludes with “we have some more big changes we think you will like coming very soon.” Well, I’d love to be pleasantly surprised, but I doubt that since all the recent big changes have been pretty bad for customers like me.
They have updated their FAQ to state “To make payments, there is a 3% Bill Pay Fee. However, this fee is waived for major debit cards, and cash payments.”
So, starting next week paying bills online via their service using prepaid debit cards like the Visa gift cards so many of us know and love, will cost 3% of the total bill. That makes it not worth it in almost all cases. If you need to hit a minimum spending requirement quickly, Evolve Money still may be helpful, but I would just pay with the credit card directly in that case instead of going through the process of getting a gift card.
I’m sad to see this development with Evolve Money, but if you want to do one more round of gift card payments you still have a few days left. As you plan your final fee-free payments with prepaid debit cards/gift cards, remember the limits of $999.00 toward a single bill with a debit or credit card, no more than $2,999.00 in total payments in a day, and no more than 1-2 payments to an individual biller per month, depending on the type of bill.