A huge hat tip to jk2!! For those of us who do not have access to Vanilla Redoads to purchase at a 5x or 6x bonus category, this could be a potential big boost to manufactured spending! Thanks to guidance from the Federal Reserve, any MasterCard and Visa branded gift card may now be required to make PIN’s available. This is a potential game changer for me and possibly many of you. As always though, proceed with caution and do some research before jumping in all the way. Start small and test the waters.
On March 13th the Federal Reserve issued guidance on the implications of the Dodd-Frank on the prepaid gift card industry. These new guidelines are in effect as of April 1st and you should be able to add a PIN to your gift cards now either online or by calling in. The Federal Reserves guidance is doesn’t actually hold legal weight but is treated by the industry as if it does.
Since Wells Fargo will no longer allow the funding of their prepaid card via a non-WF credit card and since a certain office supply store no longer carries the Vanilla Reloads, a lot of us have been left out of the Bluebird game (or at least severely held back).
So why is this so great?
1. Bluebird –
The beauty of the Vanilla Reload system is the ability to buy the cards, load them to Bluebird, and then use the Bluebirds free bill pay feature to send payments to whomever, including paying off the credit card that was used to buy the reloads in the first place. But you if you bought gift cards, you would have to turn around and use them for purchases as only a PIN based card can be used to load Bluebird. Keep in mind that you must do this at Walmart otherwise there is a fee of $2 and limit of $100.
I haven’t tried it out yet, but intend to this weekend. With a PIN for your card, you should now be able to load your Bluebird at Walmart and easily get the money off of the gift cards!!
2. Money Orders –
Another great way to pay bills that can’t be paid via credit cards is to purchase money orders which can only be purchased using PIN based cards. So that property tax bill coming due could earn you some miles/points for a small fee. Purchase the gift cards at a store that gives you a category bonus or using the Club Carlson card for 5x anywhere, and then buy a money order to pay the taxes using the gift cards. You will need to either purchase multiple smaller money orders since the largest gift cards are $500 or ask the cashier to split the payment and then use multiple gift cards to pay.
3. Cash-Back – It now may be possible to pull money off of your gift card/pre-paid card by making a PIN based purchase and selecting cash back. This one depends on the card and where you are using it, but could potentially be a good option for some.
I will begin to experiment with this over the weekend and keep you informed. In the meantime you can keep posted on this Flyertalk thread.
Feel free to post any comments, thoughts, concerns, & experiences below this post.