Important Updates on Funding Financial Accounts and Buying Visa Gift Cards Online With Credit Card

Earlier in the week I wrote about a credit union that will sell you $500 Visa gift cards for $3.95 and take a credit card for the transaction.

When you open an account with this credit union you can make an initial deposit charged to a credit card for up to $1500. The credit union confirmed they treat this as a purchase. Any given credit card company may code it differently, but my transaction with a Chase card showed up as a sale and earned points.

Some followups and updates worth sharing:

  • You need to make sure you make yourself eligible to join the credit union. If you aren’t an employee of an eligible federal agency, a resident of Washington DC, etc. don’t say that you are.

  • Anyone can join via a $20 membership in CityDance. But you actually need to join CityDance. You won’t be able to buy gift cards on an ongoing basis if you don’t.

  • All you do is select the CityDance option at the beginning of your joining process when you indicate your eligibility.

  • The default funding amount for your account is $5, which is the minimum to open. You need to change this to at least $25. Then if you select the CityDance option they will debit your account $20 for the membership automatically.

  • But you probably want to fund the full allowable $1500 since my experience and their confirmation is that it’s coded as a purchase.

  • Do not go hog wild on gift card purchases. The credit union is well aware that what they are offering is useful to frequent flyer miles aficionados. They are happy to see the purchases. But the third party they contract with to manage the gift card sales will see large and repeated orders as suspicious. Ordering $10,000 in short order? Not a good idea. Order a thousand or two thousand worth, wait a month, rinse/repeat.

  • Look at the other products the credit union offers — historically they’ve offered attractive rates on CDs, on auto loans, and other products. This isn’t just hypothesis, they’ve said they’re looking for customers who take advantage of a diversity of financial products. We want them to benefit along with us.

This is a small to medium-sized credit union, and we’ve already moved the needle on their total membership base. That’s great, and they seem fine with it, let’s just work with them responsibly because this can be really win-win-win.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Good luck with preaching moderation.

    Agent Smith (The Matrix): “I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet.”

  2. If there is one thing we points and miles hoarders are is selfish. We will kill this thing and any great opportunity like Lenny petting his mice.

  3. You’d have to be in a very opportunity poor area to deal with this. I can just go to my local mall and load up no questions asked.

  4. I guess it saves the trip into the CVS/grocery store to buy the cards, and $3.95 is the lowest price I’ve seen. Adds up when you’re ordering several thousand a month.

  5. It’s not like the third party vendor can keep your money if they think you are purchasing too many cards. All they can do is deny the sale. So why not order what you need right now? If I need to spend 5k to meet spend on one card and 10k to meet spend on another card I want to do it today, not spread it out over five months, especially since I only have three months to do it. LOL.

  6. Gain is marginal, thus, make it up with the volume. Not just meet the sign up bonus min.

  7. Hmmm, I don’t see the option to sign up with CityDance in the drop-down menu. Maybe they removed it?

  8. Has anyone been able to assign a pin to these Ag Fed gift cards? They seem like credit-only cards similar to Amex GC. These are good for minimum spend I suppose, but for MS not so good. Especially in light of the recent debit-load only Redbird fiasco.

  9. Good Morning!

    I’m bankpotato.

    Reading your blog for at least 8 years – LOVE it! 3X each day! It is addictive ad I don’t know how you find the time for it. I wanted to write my own blog for years and even bring up some little known facts about banks. I have been silent and did do my homework. I first got interested in DansDeals who should be crowned the Man of the Decade. Your blog is my 2nd fav. then Ben from one… and Dari from million… I also look up to many other bloggers and visit each day. This is one of my first posts and first today. You are a great guy and you have shown me the way.

    Know about Community Choice Credit Union of Michigan? They are a MeridianLink bank and take visa/mastercard up to 2.5K plus they offer 3 month CD’s. One can donate $25. to Detroit Hist. S. to become a member. I’ve known the good ones for years.

    God Bless You! and Happy Travels!

  10. @ Stannis So the human race is a virus. Do you have a vaccine to rid the planet of us?

    Maybe you could start with yourself?

    Didn’t think so….

  11. @brad73 Gary wrote in his previous post that you can call and assign pins to your GCs even though it says it doesn’t come with one in the terms. Definitely don’t buy too much at once in case they remove that pin-adding option…

  12. Actually that “human race is a virus” quote did not come from any scientific journal, but from a pop culture movie. There are plenty of species that, uncontrolled, will overpopulate a habitat to their detriment. The stuff about others “instinctively” controlling their numbers is pretty much wrong.

    But to the point. I don’t MS, but I sometimes read about it. I would be stunned if this “deal” isn’t dead very, very soon. Deals are not killed by those who write about them in blogs. They are killed by the greedy who abuse them, which is what I’m sure is happening right now by the “This won’t last long so I have to max out right away” crowd. Oh well, enjoy your dance membership.

  13. Can I fund more money with credit card after $25 initial? If not, How could ppl order $10K gift card when credit card is only good for initial fund $1500? Thanks

  14. Thanks EY. I bought one $500 GC today as a trial run. AG Fed website is down a lot so I can’t see my balances. Anyone else having this problem?

  15. The Best Stock — Where to put you money — Island Life

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    Last edited by bankpotato; Today at 07:37 PM..

  16. Gary, this Top Ten List is “For Your Eyes Only”
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    Comments whispered at the Dusseldorf DO on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 using the abbrev.

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  17. I have been buying a few cards online every month from Ag Fed since Gary alerted us about this opportunity. I work in D.C. so joining was no problem. I purchased cards earlier this month (November 2015). Today, the site indicates one must go to the branch to buy the Visa gift cards. I entered into an online chat and learned that this is the new policy. 🙁

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