Ouch! That burns!
This is the 2nd time in the past year I have been burned when buying a VISA gift card. I say “burned”, but it wasn’t really that bad.
Let me explain.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to buy gift cards online at giftcardmall.com via ebates. When ebates stopped giving cash back on VISA gift card purchases, I had to go back to buying them in stores.
My tried and true “go-to” gift card is the “Happy Birthday” Walmart VISA gift card. I don’t know why I would ever stray from this card. I have to go to Walmart to load to Bluebird anyway, so why not just buy the card there too? I don’t know. I despise Walmart and try to limit my time there. Having to actually stand in line and interact with a cashier while buying a $500 gift card with a credit card makes me uncomfortable. I’m not doing anything illegal, but it feels like it. Especially at Walmart.
About a year ago, Million Mile Secrets posted about using PIN enabled VISA gift cards purchased at Kroger to load to Bluebird. You can read the post here.
Three times I have purchased VISA gift cards at Kroger, but only once have I been able to load the card to Bluebird. Each time I have received a little receipt instructing me to call a number and set up a PIN and I have done so. But when I try to load them to Bluebird I get the dreaded “payment not accepted” message and Ms. Bluebird blasting “transaction declined” across the customer service area of the store.
If you look at the pictures in MMS’ post about Visa gift cards, the top picture of the Visa gift card in gold packaging is the only one that has worked for me. If you look down to the 2nd picture, you will see some Visa gift cards in silver packaging with gift boxes on them. The one I tried that did not work had a purple gift box on it. Also, if you look at the very bottom of that 2nd picture you will see a Visa gift card that is sort of a blueish-purple and says “Celebrate” on it. That is the one I bought five days ago that also does not work.
All 3 cards had the same back cover as MMS posted a picture of. All were issued through US Bank National Association and all listed mygiftcardsite.com as a customer service site. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why one card worked and two did not.
Why Am I Telling You This?
Many people do not like bloggers posting about Manufactured Spending (MS), and Bluebird and gift cards. Whatever. I’m not giving away state secrets here. Most of what I do is very minor league compared to some people’s MS activities! So, I am posting this as a sort of warning to be careful of what gift cards you buy. Start with a small denomination to make sure it works for you. Once you find a gift card that works, just stick with it. There is no need to try other ones. (unless you find one with a smaller fee)
My “Happy Birthday” Walmart gift card has a fee of $4.94. Those Kroger gift cards were $5.95. So basically I wasted $6 on that $500 gift card that didn’t work. Well….$12 on the two of them, but who’s counting? I was able to liquidate them in another way, so it’s not like I was out $500 ($1000), but it was still an inconvenience.
I still need to buy one more $500 gift card this month to top off my Bluebird account to pay my mortgage for June and a life insurance premium that is also due in June. I guess a trip to Walmart is on my agenda for next week!