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Old Feb 11, 13, 2:53 pm   #16
 
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Interesting.

So based on these (multiple) reports, it seems pretty clear that They Are Watching, and contrary to several of the posts earlier in this thread that seemed to take the attitude of "nah, it's way too early for anyone to get into trouble with Bluebird, nothing to worry about...." (I paraphrase), apparently it does not require extreme "abuse" to get their attention. Something as seemingly benign as a married couple both linking their Bluebird accounts to the same joint bank account may result in an account lock. OK, not exactly a Paypal-esque smackdown, but still something I'm sure we would all prefer to avoid.

Thanks for the info and linky.
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Old Feb 11, 13, 3:02 pm   #17
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Interesting.

So based on these (multiple) reports, it seems pretty clear that They Are Watching, and contrary to several of the posts earlier in this thread that seemed to take the attitude of "nah, it's way too early for anyone to get into trouble with Bluebird, nothing to worry about...." (I paraphrase), apparently it does not require extreme "abuse" to get their attention. Something as seemingly benign as a married couple both linking their Bluebird accounts to the same joint bank account may result in an account lock. OK, not exactly a Paypal-esque smackdown, but still something I'm sure we would all prefer to avoid.

Thanks for the info and linky.
This was in early January.

The first test withdrawal from BB to linked JT bank account took 3 biz days. The second real withdrawal from the same BB took 4 biz days. (Had BB recognized US Bank's Club Carlson Card from its data base, I would not need to withdraw the money.)

Then the attempt of a test withdrawal from the other BB to the same linked JT bank account took 5 biz days, status went from Pending for 4 days and jumped to Complete on the 5th biz day, totally by pass the In Process step in between.

Our accounts are not locked.

In the middle of the waiting, watching the status remaining Pending, I called BB and specifically asked why it remained in Pending for so long while when I did it from my own account the status changed to In Process on 2nd day. I was more worried about things fallen into crack at the BB side. I also asked BB whether the SAME JT account linked to both husband's and wife's BB account would cause issue. The BB rep refused to answer but insisted by 5th business day the withdrawal would hit the bank account. (the website said 2 to 3 business days).

The little test $ did go over to the linked bank account on the 5th business day. But such quirk is quite annoying because while they could not verify the JT account's owner names, they could verify the BB accounts' owners names and address - same last name, sharing same address, it is quite obvious that they are either family members live together or they are a couple living together.
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Old Feb 11, 13, 3:20 pm   #18
 
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If the Blue Bird hammer ever drops, my suspicion is that we're all likely targets. You can make a list of best practices and speculate on risk as much as you want, but if Amex decides to start shut downs, they may very well go with people who do multiple VR loads, in which case all of us except the debit card loaders are screwed.

Personally, I do some little things. I don't pay Amex bills with BB. I don't pay myself with checks. I try to mix up my VR purchase prices if I'm buying VR's with an Amex card. (For example, I might buy a $480 VR, or add a small item, or partial pay with a different card.) I occasionally swipe my BB to make a purchase here or there. I have linked my bank account, but haven't withdrawn to it yet, may never, and, in fact, I added a small amount via the bank account just for kicks. Once drug store bonuses go away on my favorite card, I'm going to start loading some amount each month with debit at Wal-Mart just to mix it up.

Do any of these help? Likely no. Either Amex doesn't and will never care or, if they do start to care, their filter for deciding improper activity will be broad enough to catch me despite these modest measures.
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Old Feb 11, 13, 3:41 pm   #19
 
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I think it would be odd for AMEX to shut down people who load VR and use BB to pay bills. If I could pay rent/mortgage/loans with my AMEX card directly, wouldn't AMEX encourage me to do so? If yes, why do they have a problem with me buying VR on an AMEX, then using BB to pay rent/mortgage/loans?

Now, just because I think it would be odd doesn't mean it won't happen. And just because it doesn't make logical sense to be shut down in this instance also doesn't mean it won't happen. But this scenario sure seems like a winning proposition for AMEX, especially for those customers who buy the VR with AMEX.
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Old Feb 11, 13, 4:03 pm   #20
 
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I think it would be odd for AMEX to shut down people who load VR and use BB to pay bills. If I could pay rent/mortgage/loans with my AMEX card directly, wouldn't AMEX encourage me to do so? If yes, why do they have a problem with me buying VR on an AMEX, then using BB to pay rent/mortgage/loans?

Now, just because I think it would be odd doesn't mean it won't happen. And just because it doesn't make logical sense to be shut down in this instance also doesn't mean it won't happen. But this scenario sure seems like a winning proposition for AMEX, especially for those customers who buy the VR with AMEX.
We don't know how much Amex gets when it takes a VR load. If it's $500 for a $500 load, then I agree. It's all good. Maybe they got a swipe/merchant fee on the sale of the VR, and thus they come out well to the good. But if it's less, then that's where the problem could come in. I think it's probably less, but we don't know.

Assume for the sake of argument Amex gets $495 when it takes on a $500 VR load, which you purchased with a Chase card. Assume further than you make a nearly immediate demand on Amex for the $500 to make a payment for which it does not get a transaction fee (e.g., a billpay). You can see why it might not like this very much.
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Old Feb 11, 13, 4:09 pm   #21
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...If I could pay rent/mortgage/loans with my AMEX card directly, wouldn't AMEX encourage me
Rent, yes. Mortgage or other debt, likely not. The credit card industry is very sensitive to the risk of people borrowing money at 18+% to make payments on installment debt with much lower interest rates.

I know, you are not doing that, you are paying your card bills in full each and every cycle, but the rules are not based on individual cases. Bluebird is targeted at individuals who do no have bank accounts, let alone credit cards, and I expect decisions to reflect that.
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Old Feb 11, 13, 5:14 pm   #22
 
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
If the Blue Bird hammer ever drops, my suspicion is that we're all likely targets. You can make a list of best practices and speculate on risk as much as you want, but if Amex decides to start shut downs, they may very well go with people who do multiple VR loads, in which case all of us except the debit card loaders are screwed.

Personally, I do some little things. I don't pay Amex bills with BB. I don't pay myself with checks. I try to mix up my VR purchase prices if I'm buying VR's with an Amex card. (For example, I might buy a $480 VR, or add a small item, or partial pay with a different card.) I occasionally swipe my BB to make a purchase here or there. I have linked my bank account, but haven't withdrawn to it yet, may never, and, in fact, I added a small amount via the bank account just for kicks. Once drug store bonuses go away on my favorite card, I'm going to start loading some amount each month with debit at Wal-Mart just to mix it up.

Do any of these help? Likely no. Either Amex doesn't and will never care or, if they do start to care, their filter for deciding improper activity will be broad enough to catch me despite these modest measures.

Just a thought, but I think that multiple VR loads in various amounts may look more suspicious than continual loads at $500 each. It appears that you are trying to skirt around peering eyes.
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Old Feb 11, 13, 5:50 pm   #23
 
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I'm loading BB with beans bought with a couple different cards, one AMEX and one VISA. I'm going to max the account and then pay my kid's private school tuition with a check from BB. The school charges 3% to pay by credit so this is a much cheaper way to get the spend on a points earning card. The spend is worth the approximately 1% the transactions will cost me because the extra annual spend will mean I can make Hilton Diamond while still hitting my spend thresholds to get all of the Delta MQMs available on my Amex.

I don't see how I'm doing anything that they haven't encouraged me to do -- BB set it up so that VRs would be a convenient way to fund the account. BB will get the float on my money for a couple months until tuition is due, plus they are getting fees on every scoop of ice cream I buy. So, I see little risk of BB closing me down.

If they turn me away at some point, so be it. They'll still have to give me my money back. Again, I doubt that will happen. If Amex wants to fix any perceived abuse, shutting down BB accounts seems like killing an ant with a sledgehammer. The more logical way for Amex to cure perceived abuse is to get better reports from cheery victoria's secret so that Amex can stop awarding points on bean purchases.
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Old Feb 11, 13, 9:21 pm   #24
 
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Originally Posted by GatorBlues View Post
I'm loading BB with beans bought with a couple different cards, one AMEX and one VISA. I'm going to max the account and then pay my kid's private school tuition with a check from BB. The school charges 3% to pay by credit so this is a much cheaper way to get the spend on a points earning card. The spend is worth the approximately 1% the transactions will cost me because the extra annual spend will mean I can make Hilton Diamond while still hitting my spend thresholds to get all of the Delta MQMs available on my Amex.

I don't see how I'm doing anything that they haven't encouraged me to do -- BB set it up so that VRs would be a convenient way to fund the account. BB will get the float on my money for a couple months until tuition is due, plus they are getting fees on every scoop of ice cream I buy. So, I see little risk of BB closing me down.

If they turn me away at some point, so be it. They'll still have to give me my money back. Again, I doubt that will happen. If Amex wants to fix any perceived abuse, shutting down BB accounts seems like killing an ant with a sledgehammer. The more logical way for Amex to cure perceived abuse is to get better reports from cheery victoria's secret so that Amex can stop awarding points on bean purchases.
A question. How do you get Hilton Diamond via spend? I thought you can only get GOLD status based on charging?
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Old Feb 11, 13, 9:35 pm   #25
 
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A question. How do you get Hilton Diamond via spend? I thought you can only get GOLD status based on charging?
$40,000 on Hilton Surpass or Hilton Reserve gets your Diamond. If you have both, the Reserve is better as you also get the free night at $10K.
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Last edited by amolkold; Feb 11, 13 at 9:47 pm..
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Old Feb 11, 13, 11:49 pm   #26
 
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Basically....with Amex's shutdown track record in other situations, nothing we can do will prevent it from getting shutdown, BUT at the same time, I don't think they'd go so far to shut the accounts down when they are being used for other things besides vr uploads. they'd simply cut off the ability to do so. no offense intended, but this thread just seems a little premature when people aren't getting shutdown by the dozens just yet.
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Old Feb 12, 13, 11:00 am   #27
 
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Basically....with Amex's shutdown track record in other situations, nothing we can do will prevent it from getting shutdown, BUT at the same time, I don't think they'd go so far to shut the accounts down when they are being used for other things besides vr uploads. they'd simply cut off the ability to do so. no offense intended, but this thread just seems a little premature when people aren't getting shutdown by the dozens just yet.
agreed, it's not in their best interest to cut a bunch of customers who rapidly spend and splurge, even if it's taking advantage of deals Amex still gets paid in the end with merchant fees, it's 100% in their favor. As long as your not dumb enough to buy $20,000 loads of ice cream on an Amex then send payments repeatedly each day as you load kinda stupidity.
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Old Feb 12, 13, 11:06 am   #28
 
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Wife and I still have Serve accounts, have not changed to BB. I often load from CCs (will stop after March 15 of course). At one point I think I transferred money from one of us to the other, then unloaded. Got a warning from Amex and called them. Apparently CC->A->B-unload is defined as "getting a cash advance for someone else" and is a no-no. They also told me that debit loads were different, since debit is my own money. Naturally I haven't done it again, and of course will stop loading after 3/15 when CC fees start. I don't get the impression I will have trouble unloading to our separate accounts.
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Old Feb 12, 13, 12:49 pm   #29
 
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On a separate note, I've added the same credit card to multiple bluebird accounts and made payment via both, and I've had no issues. It looks like bank account numbers are tracked but not credit cards. I'd bet other account types (mortgage etc.) are also not tracked.
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Old Feb 12, 13, 1:03 pm   #30
 
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On a separate note, I've added the same credit card to multiple bluebird accounts and made payment via both, and I've had no issues. It looks like bank account numbers are tracked but not credit cards. I'd bet other account types (mortgage etc.) are also not tracked.
I've done the same and not had any issues. And don't see why there would be any if BB means it to be a true billpay service
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