Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Credit, Debit and Prepaid Card Programs > Manufactured Spending
Reload this Page >

Wal-Mart, Amex take on banks with Bluebird debit card

Wal-Mart, Amex take on banks with Bluebird debit card

Old Nov 10, 12, 4:02 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Chicagoland, IL, USA
Programs: WN CP, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 13,874
Originally Posted by troyhouse View Post
checked couple of stores in Chgo suburbs and they got the same memo. its all over.
Yep, manager at Niles, IL OD confirmed noon today no more VRs at any OD nationwide, per memo he got.
toomanybooks is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:04 pm
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 316
Originally Posted by goodtricks View Post
Two questions:

1. Can you still buy at Walgreens/CVS?

2. Will I get x6 points on the Hilton AMEX with Pharmacy spend?
Yes and yes, but not for too long, I guess, after we all saw the pics of someone's wife holding the beans at CVS?!!!
koolr is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:14 pm
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 663
Bloggers love killing deals
compddd is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:14 pm
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: Northwest, United
Posts: 2,973
Just came back from buying two. At least that OD is still selling them.

I had visited 4 other ODs around here earlier in the day. Those were all out, but those are often out when I've been there before so it didn't seem conclusive. Perhaps worth noting: the empty slots at those ODs were still labeled - none of this "they have all been removed and all sign of them has been erased" stuff, at least not there.

There was one more OD I wanted to try, because I had bought 2 there last night (shortly before they closed), and knew they should have plenty left. It was an interesting experience.

I walked in, made a beeline for the cards, saw there were 25 or so there, picked up 2, went straight to the counter. Was greeted by a young, attractive, smiling cashier. I handed her the 2 VR cards, said I wanted 500 on each please, handed her a new citi Amex I had just got a few days before. She said this was her first day, she was in training, and she didn't know anything, and had to call the manager. No problem I said, I'm sure you'll know everything there is to know in a couple days. I already had my wallet out and was removing my drivers license. The manager came over, a stern-looking, older lady who gave me a hard look, despite my warm smile and radiating charm. I handed her my Amex card and drivers license and said, no problem, do whatever you need to do, I'm not in a hurry. She scooped everything up and went away a few feet, I saw her leafing through a binder, reviewing various pages.

Meanwhile, fresh young cashier and I exchange smiles and small talk. I apologize for holding up her register, she apologizes for the delay. I glance down and see a printed memo on the cashier's counter with several stretches highlighted. It was all about fraud and money laundering prevention on prepaid cards. There were pictures of 3 *other* prepaid cards on the memo, but there were no pictures of the Vanilla Reload cards. The memo contained detailed instructions. It was upside down and a few feet away from me, so I couldn't read all of it, but I did see bits like "...if fraud or money laundering is suspected, take the customer's credit card and license and check them..." and "...do NOT tell the customer you suspect them of money laundering...."

I'm standing there scanning this making small talk, but I'm not worried - it's a new credit card with a huge credit limit, I'm confident it'll be fine. I have been careful not to hit this game too hard, spreading all my VRs across half a dozen cards, never buying more than 2 at a time, never putting more than 2 or 3 on any card in a month.

I'm looking down at the memo trying to read as much of it as I can. I saw no mention of Vanilla Reloads anywhere. Just general "anti-fraud" and "money laundering" concerns. The cashier notices I seem to be interested in the memo, and she quietly removes it and puts it under the counter. Darn.

Meanwhile, I see the matronly manager making (I think) two phone calls. Not sure who the first one was to, but the second was clearly to Amex, to check that the card was good. I saw her glancing at the card, entering the account number on the phone buttons, listening for approval. She nodded and hung up the phone.

She came back to the register, swiped my credit card, entered in basic info, and had me sign the gizmo. Success. All went through without any hassles beyond that. Took about 5 minutes from end to end.

The above is 100% true and took place around noon on Saturday Nov. 10.

So, my conclusions from this are:

1. Some ODs may have shut down selling these, but not all have.
2. They clearly know something is up with prepaid cards, but it does not appear that they are especially focused on VRs - I think the prepaid cards illustrated in their memo were Visa and/or Amex prepaid cards.
3. They appear to be concerned primarily about fraud and money laundering, which seem to be entirely reasonable concerns to me (especially if idiots are going in and stripping entire full racks of VRs, loading $20K at a time - I'd be concerned about that too).
4. For those ODs that are still selling them, you can expect more scrutiny, including a notification to your credit card company.

So, at least in this case, it does NOT appear to me that the game is over, at least not everywhere. YMMV.

Hope this helps some folks to keep from jumping off a bridge.
nwflyboy is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:22 pm
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LAX
Programs: AA, SPG, HHonors
Posts: 658
There have been a smattering of posts in this thread about non-vanilla gift card and prepaid options. Can we please refrain from discussing the details of these alternatives? Maybe they will last a little bit longer if we all agree to acknowledge they exist but don't discuss the details. Everyone should be able to figure the details out on their own if they actually put in 30 seconds of effort when they are out at grocery stores, gas stations, drug stores, etc.

I acknowledge these boards are for sharing, and I'm all for it. But the necessaries have already been shared. Explore your gift card options. Take what you've learned from other, related deals and extend that to other products. It's that simple. No further discussion is needed and, in any event, would just serve to kill the tool.
sk8uno is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:25 pm
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 1,277
Originally Posted by nwflyboy View Post

3. They appear to be concerned primarily about fraud and money laundering, which seem to be entirely reasonable concerns to me (especially if idiots are going in and stripping entire full racks of VRs, loading $20K at a time - I'd be concerned about that too).
Yep. It may be dead at all ODs soon, but I'm sure it's all about money laundering and fraud and has nothing to do with what we're doing. The bloggers are not to blame, the criminals are. Everyone blaming MMS (and why is no one blaming Frequent Miler? He's posted just as much about it, step by step instructions, just without pictures holding up the cards) needs to get over it and accept that it's a loss prevention move because of credit card fraud, not them shutting down our points.
penner42 is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:25 pm
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 132
Wal-Mart, Amex take on banks with Bluebird debit card

Carmel, IN and Noblesville, IN Office Depots were full two days ago and now empty.
hensleyrob is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:30 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,458
On the road in So. Florida this weekend. Hit 3 stores by the FLL airport last night, all racks empty. Nothing in Palm Beach store today. One manager referenced a "memo" he got about pulling the cards.

Knowing the odds were long, I was only stopping in stores on my way -- it honestly wasn't worth the gas to hunt for them. Now it's probably not even worth walking into the stores you pass. I guess we'll see if the random sales stop being reported in odd locations.
iahphx is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:33 pm
Formerly known as cagalindo
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: MCO TPA
Programs: Citi AA/HH/TYP Amex SPG/HH & Chase SP/PC
Posts: 1,334
Its over for 99% of the 1% it wasn't over for. Heh.

Taking the Ink off my churn that was this tuesday :/

Last edited by caGALINDO; Nov 10, 12 at 4:40 pm
caGALINDO is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:47 pm
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 93
Longmont, CO - Rack still has the Amex prepaid cards but no VN. Clerk said they were asked to pull the VN.
stalker is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:48 pm
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: BOS
Programs: UA 1K, AA GLD
Posts: 231
Check out the OD at southern and 441 in pbi...my source said there's at least 30 there and just bought a bunch.

Apologies to any wpb locals but this deal sounds like its about to end/is already done.
psychoandy is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:49 pm
Join Date: May 2003
Location: CA
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 2,879
It was not killed by the bloggers but by people who went in and bought thousands, or tens of thousands, of dollars at a time.
deant is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:50 pm
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: SAN
Posts: 152
Originally Posted by compddd View Post
All gone in San Diego. Love it when greedy people ruin it for the rest of us!
Did you check ALL of them? I grabbed 3 last night in Poway and left another 3. Wish I just picked them up at the time, but I didn't want to be greedy. I only checked Miramar and Poway yesterday, but Miramar was out.
iminsandiego is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 4:56 pm
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2,996
Originally Posted by Nottafatslob View Post
Think of who is to blame and which evil bloggers posted their pictures right in Office Depot holding the cards. They stole the money right from your pocket. They ruined a lot of peoples lives and their increased awareness of the deal is what killed it.
Oh FFS, would you tone down the drama queen crap and give it a rest already?
Stoughton is offline  
Old Nov 10, 12, 5:05 pm
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 848
got 2 more, not from OD but from other unexplored store, strangely they have 2 cards per day limit.
troyhouse is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: