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

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

Old Nov 20, 12, 8:37 pm
  #2911  
Formerly known as cagalindo
 
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over here is seems all the stores in low income areas take CCs for VR and at high income areas they dont. word.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 8:52 pm
  #2912  
 
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Originally Posted by QL_714 View Post
Can you picture MMS at one of these stores?
Celebrity update: wifey will posing showing gang signs and wearing colors for each 'neighborhood'. Ink colors for potential dealing districts, red for delta leaning districts, and crypt colors for former OD bean districts.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 8:57 pm
  #2913  
 
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Originally Posted by virtuo0 View Post
Assuming that i am going to make around 3K payments each month, the max gain is $78 with cvs/walgreens trips and making manual payments. Not looking very good.

Yesterday i purchased 2 cards in CVS located in closeby mall. Whatever return i earned, I spent eating some junk food there. End of the day the my gain is cholesterol and fat.

I am out.
I've wondered if I'm figuring a reasonable return on this venture.

My mortgage is about $3,200 + change. If I purchased $3,500 in VGC at OD to get the 5x spend the activation fees would total ($5.95 x 7 = $41.65) $42. Then to the CVS for 7 VR's for another ($3.95 x 7 = $27.65) $28. Roughly $70 in fees for 17,500 UR points (miles). Not knowing exactly what we'll do with the miles but it would most likely be Business Class from DTW or ORD to Europe. I checked DTW to LHR next June and came up with a sample fare of $4,200. To be conservative I then figured a point would be worth roughly $.03 - $.04. At $.03 the 17,500 UR points are a return of $455.

Am I doing this right?

The $3,500 in GC's from OD would be a very aggressive move on my part and I'm still not sure I'm comfortable with it but my Chase banker told me as long as I stay within the allowable limits for office supply purchases I would be fine.


Thanks,
gg
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Old Nov 20, 12, 8:58 pm
  #2914  
 
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Originally Posted by lwildernorva View Post
Abuse of this system by people creating artificial shortages is still one of the most likely causes of OD pulling these cards (just behind people who paid for these cards although they probably were not primarily interested in miles/points but in the laundering aspects these cards can offer). And I stand by my earlier prediction that OD may return these cards to the stores with adequate security that insures that cards just don't walk out of the stores without money being loaded into them. The corollary is that stores like CVS may pull them if they encounter the same issues OD did.
Well said.

There are lots of ways we can screw this up. We need to be careful not to.

After a LOT of searching, I recently found one outlet nearby that will allow purchasing of VRs with a credit card. I've tried 3 times. First two times, cashiers were relaxed, younger, and never questioned my purchase - just checked my ID, reminded me that the reload cards were non-refundable, and let me buy them. A very low key transaction, no drama at all.

Today I went back for a third round. Different cashier, older lady - looked like she could be a manager. As soon as I handed the card and started going for my credit card, she reared up and firmly scolded me: "Oh no, we do not accept credit cards for these. You can't buy a prepaid card with another card." I probed gently: "Really - are you sure? I've bought them before with a credit card..." She responded: "It's corporate policy. I hope it wasn't here - if you paid for one with a credit card here, someone made a mistake and violated our policy..." (implied: and they're gonna get in trouble...). Me: "Oh, no, not here - at a different store in (name of another city)". Her: "Good." I apologized for "my mistake" and offered to put the VR back on the rack to save her the trouble of restocking it. She nodded, and that's what I did. I thanked her and left.

Of course, this was BS on my part - I had been in there the previous 2 days, and when I paid for the VR, their register offered me the choice of cash, debit or credit. In other stores, the cashier would show me a popup window on their screen that said "CASH ONLY!". This register was not set up that way.

Safely out of sight back in my car, I then made a note of what the day/time it was, and what she looked like. I will be sure that the next time I try, it'll be with a different cashier. I remember what the others look like and the day/time they were there.

The moral of the story: we are skating around the periphery of what's allowed, and we all need to be careful not to wreck the fragile status quo. Your efforts should be low-impact. If you have success, or if you get turned away, don't screw it up for yourself and everyone else - keep things discreet, don't push it, and don't give anyone a reason to make a stink about it. I could easily see this lady circulating a memo to all employees warning them not to take credit cards for VRs. I think I convinced her that wasn't needed. I'll be careful to note the cashier before I try again.

I want this to last. Slow and steady, below the radar, is the way to get the biggest benefit out of this. Resist the temptation to go "all-in".

Last edited by nwflyboy; Nov 20, 12 at 9:29 pm
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:12 pm
  #2915  
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Originally Posted by lwildernorva View Post
I'm not beating on this deal, but don't assume that you can walk out of the store without paying something for the cards...
I am a bit curious, however, of this: Unless it messes up with a specific store's inventory and/or is noted by barcode sets or something, what use would the blank card be to anyone unless the person with it were to go back INTO a store and actually buy/load it anyway? In other words, it could be like you walked out of a store with a pack of gum, drove away, realized you took it and stopped into the next store of that chain and walked in and paid for it. A bit like that, that is.

Again I am just curious. I also hope this thread doesnt get all 'psuedo-moral-ethical...' The whole world of miles and points deals with many arguments on what is right and moral and yet so many times its the customer who is left scrambling to receive missing points from some botched promo or deal some lazy marketer hiding behind 'for security reasons, sir" has put forth to bait & switch the public. Don't even get me goin'...

Originally Posted by MDtR-Chicago View Post
And that's when I stopped reading, knowing the remainder of the report would be of questionable impartiality. Ah well.
then again maybe the assistant manager is so unhappy with HIS life, he has to find someone to take it out on. I mean, why IS he fat? Is it medical, or could it be that he's unwilling to get up and do some exercise, eat correctly and take care of his body and thus his mind. Therefore he cant do better than this meager job and so when you come in yielding $2k in spend he can finally turn down someone he sees as the enemy: A happy rich person!

Originally Posted by caGALINDO View Post
over here is seems all the stores in low income areas take CCs for VR and at high income areas they dont. word.
^

Originally Posted by nwflyboy View Post
Well said.

There are lots of ways we can screw this up. We need to be careful not to.


The moral of the story: we are skating around the periphery of what's allowed, and we all need to be careful not to wreck the fragile status quo. Your efforts should be low-impact. If you have success, or if you get turned away, don't screw it up for yourself and everyone else - keep things discreet, don't push it, and don't give anyone a reason to make a stink about it. I could easily see this lady circulating a memo to all employees warning them not to take credit cards for VRs. I think I convinced her that wasn't needed. I'll be careful to note the cashier before I try again.

I want this to last. Slow and steady, below the radar, is the way to get the biggest benefit out of this. Resist the temptation to go "all-in".
with this renewal of Beans at stores like CVS, WG, I agree with this. I have gotten only a few per buy at each store... doing them as single transactions on my CC. I have been lucky so far with clerks processing them without issue on my CC but it is true that so many stores, managers and employees see things differently depending on who knows what. Is it corp policy? Is everything debatable? Could it be some are afraid to screw up so they say no to everything? Do some employees want to say NO to everything and they now have that chance when you walk up looking to buy these, or are things already changing. Who knows. I say ride it smooth but ride well. It will eventually end so just plan on every visit being like your first and potentially your last; planning for the good and the end at the same time.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:16 pm
  #2916  
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And keep in mind those damn FRs... if you can't afford one I'd reconsider anything over 1k/month at a pharm store.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:21 pm
  #2917  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Everyone please be really discreet! No phoning corporate management to complain about x story not allowing one to buy y amount of VR. Please! I've had certain people PM me about this.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:23 pm
  #2918  
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Originally Posted by caGALINDO View Post
And keep in mind those damn FRs... if you can't afford one I'd reconsider anything over 1k/month at a pharm store.
indeed!
regardless of how much money you have available to pay off the bal and repeat the spend!

Also don't forget that since many casinos look down on "card counters" (even though the practice is not illegal), so do many such chain stores. If not initially focusing on and perhaps later dismissing potential fraud issues, that's what many of these stores begin to think 'we' are when they start to look at the numbers and the spikes going on with certain items on the racks. It is holiday season but they can and do eventually work out what went and how and maybe even why.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:34 pm
  #2919  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Check issues

I got to talk to Bluebird CS today and it does not bode well. Had a check cut through Bluebird and sent for my mortgage. Bank said it has never arrived and AE says it was supposed to be there by the 16th. Long wait time and AE kept saying it was there and to talk to bank. I kept saying that I had talked to bank fifteen minutes earlier and they can not find any receipt of check. Bank says I need proof from AE that the check cleared through them and supposedly AE is going to send me proof through the mail (can not email it or fax it) in 7 to 10 business days. I am not holding my breath. AE CS seemed to think that the bank should be able to take a printout of my transaction history on Bluebird account (????). I can go in and pay mortgage (not due for a couple of more weeks) but thought that this would be a good way to earn some miles on something I had to pay every month anyway. Now, not so sure it is a good idea. Guess this is a case of caveat emptor.


Originally Posted by I can see for miles View Post
The game is novel and profitable until something goes wrong, then you have to deal with Bluebird's and/or Vanilla's customer service, and it becomes an unprofitable time-sucker. Hope those of you who experience problems have better luck than I have had so far. After loading seven beans this month and paying CC bills, beans could no longer be loaded onto my Bluebird card (I had loaded one that day, but minutes later, the second wouldn't load and the error message 180 appeared; it wasn't the bean, as it loaded successfully onto my wife's Bluebird).

I had to wait half an hour or so to speak to a Bluebird CSR. Bluebird CSRs are beyond useless -- no knowledge base or training whatsoever. Their training consists of establishing and reestablishing the same facts over and over and over and over again. When being asked the same questions does not solve the problem and you finally ask to a CSR manager or someone who can fix the problem, you are disconnected.

The Vanilla CSRs are much better trained and customer-service oriented. A rep said they'd have to put their heads together with those at Bluebird and that I should try loading my Bluebird in 24 hours. He gave me a ticket number, and told me to call back if the problem isn't fixed within 72 hours. The problem hasn't been fixed within 72 hours, and I'll have to call a third time tomorrow. But at least protocols are in place, and they give you the impression the IT department is working on it or will be working on it soon. Maybe that's wishful thinking.

In the meantime, however, it's been three days, I have thousands of dollars of beans that need to incrementally be loaded, and I don't know for certain I'll be able to load them onto my card (awful glad my wife has a BB, too). The terrible customer service makes me question if this is worth it. It's bad enough that I may stop playing.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:44 pm
  #2920  
 
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Originally Posted by TravelTexan View Post
I got to talk to Bluebird CS today and it does not bode well. Had a check cut through Bluebird and sent for my mortgage. Bank said it has never arrived and AE says it was supposed to be there by the 16th. Long wait time and AE kept saying it was there and to talk to bank. I kept saying that I had talked to bank fifteen minutes earlier and they can not find any receipt of check. Bank says I need proof from AE that the check cleared through them and supposedly AE is going to send me proof through the mail (can not email it or fax it) in 7 to 10 business days. I am not holding my breath. AE CS seemed to think that the bank should be able to take a printout of my transaction history on Bluebird account (????). I can go in and pay mortgage (not due for a couple of more weeks) but thought that this would be a good way to earn some miles on something I had to pay every month anyway. Now, not so sure it is a good idea. Guess this is a case of caveat emptor.
Did you put your account number on the "memo" line? I do that just as a double check that BB notes the account number on the "check".
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:48 pm
  #2921  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Originally Posted by TravelTexan View Post
I got to talk to Bluebird CS today and it does not bode well. Had a check cut through Bluebird and sent for my mortgage. Bank said it has never arrived and AE says it was supposed to be there by the 16th. Long wait time and AE kept saying it was there and to talk to bank. I kept saying that I had talked to bank fifteen minutes earlier and they can not find any receipt of check. Bank says I need proof from AE that the check cleared through them and supposedly AE is going to send me proof through the mail (can not email it or fax it) in 7 to 10 business days. I am not holding my breath. AE CS seemed to think that the bank should be able to take a printout of my transaction history on Bluebird account (????). I can go in and pay mortgage (not due for a couple of more weeks) but thought that this would be a good way to earn some miles on something I had to pay every month anyway. Now, not so sure it is a good idea. Guess this is a case of caveat emptor.
yah, their bills tracking system is terrible for checks. i did get a copy of check mailed to me last week upon request.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:51 pm
  #2922  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Bbuebird check issues

Yes, I did put the account number on the memo line (and even noted it was for my mortgage).

Originally Posted by deant View Post
Did you put your account number on the "memo" line? I do that just as a double check that BB notes the account number on the "check".
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:52 pm
  #2923  
 
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Request

Just curious- how long did it take for you to get a copy of the check?

Originally Posted by webazoid View Post
yah, their bills tracking system is terrible for checks. i did get a copy of check mailed to me last week upon request.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 10:34 pm
  #2924  
 
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Originally Posted by TravelTexan View Post
Yes, I did put the account number on the memo line (and even noted it was for my mortgage).
Reports are that even though you put the memo, it doesn't actually appear on the check BB sends.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 10:41 pm
  #2925  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Datapoint:
I went to three different Extracare stores in the greater Sacramento area. The concentration area was southeast section of the Metro Sacramento.
GC purchase for VR.

1/3 stores (1 store didn’t carry VR, other store refused GC, but allowed CC purchase)

I had 10 $100 visa GC. It went thru up to $700, then the computer said max allowed transactions. The purchase was voided, then made it two separate purchases for $500 each VR. It was successful. The cashier was young. When the computer declined the further purchase after 700, the cashier called manager. The manager suggested to void the purchase. Then I suggested to the cashier to split the purchase into two.


If you know other Extracare stores in Greater Sacramento area that accept GC purchase, please PM me.


I also tried Save Mart as it carries VR. No go as it only accepts debit purchase.

Last edited by shopper711; Nov 20, 12 at 10:57 pm
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