Over the weekend I explained How to Use Bluebird in a Post-Vanilla World.
It was a simple explanation of what card to buy, and how to put the funds onto your Bluebird, and then get the funds back into your bank account. No Vanilla Reloads required.
It’s $1 more expensive than the Vanilla Reload approach was.
But it requires more work since you need to go to Walmart to load the funds onto Bluebird, and there’s a $1000 per day limit so you have to go to Walmart each day you want to do it.. instead of sitting on your couch at home or desk at work.
Lots of commenters — correctly — pointed out that the economics aren’t ideal for most (other than for Grant, at least).
So here’s how you can do it and cover your costs or even make money in the process.
To review, you can load money onto Bluebird by:
- Going to CVS and buying a $500 OneVanilla Visa with a credit card for $4.95.
- Going to Walmart and using that Visa to load Bluebird. The card is easy because the PIN number for a debit transaction is automatically whatever 4 digit combination you use first.
The complication is the trip to CVS and then the trip to Walmart. And that some Walmart locations will push back against using a card that does not show your name pre-embossed.
You can add a step and make money in the process.
Buy American Express gift cards online going through a cash back shopping portal. You can often earn 1% (covering the cost of the OneVanilla Visa) or even 2% (making $5 so presumably covering your gas going to Walmart and back).
Over time most readers have had the best luck with rebates on American Express gift cards through BigCrumbs. Sometimes the best deals can be had with Top Cash Back. In either case with coupon codes waiving purchase fees and sometimes free shipping.
Frequent Miler’s QuickDeals today listed current shopping portal payouts and discount codes for these cards.
Here are the current best rates:
Barclaycard RewardsBoost 4X (Requires Arrival card)
Alaska MileagePlanShopping 3X
Delta SkyMiles Shopping 3X
TopCashBack 3% Cash Back
And, here are two codes to try for removing gift card fees other than shipping costs:
FPADMIN (through April 29th)
This adds a step. And your CVS needs to allow you to pay for a prepaid product with an Amex gift card, not just with a credit card.
As a result, more folks are likely ruled out by the vagaries of individual locations, needing both a CVS that will take gift cards and a Walmart that will as well.
For me, time is the binding constraint. With Walmart 30 minutes away, an hour of my time kills the value proposition.
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