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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, 11:09 pm
  #2926  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Texas
Programs: AA Gold, Starwood Gold
Posts: 123
Well that is just peachy keen. Why bother asking for info when you do not use it? That would explain a bit why the bank would not understand what account to credit it to. Be interested to see what the copy of the check shows.

Originally Posted by sweetz_21_83 View Post
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, 11:21 pm
  #2927  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: LAX
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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.
I completely agree, and I hope others realize this and abandon the practice as well.

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.

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".
Sage advice. Requoting here just so more people see it.

Originally Posted by Marathon Man View Post
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...'
There are many reasons why this could mess with things. Inventory, fraud concerns, arrangements between Vanilla and Store that we are not privy to, the list could go on and on. We don't know what we don't know.

Aside from all of the issues potentially noticed and/or experienced by OD, it's also kind of a jerk-ish move to fellow FTers.

I know it's silly, but I still have hope that people can be taught to act in their long-term best interests. @:-)
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Old Nov 20, 12, 11:22 pm
  #2928  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Originally Posted by gardengirl View Post
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?
Would you pay $4200 for it? Valuation should be based on what you'd actually pay.

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.
"Hey banker, I want to do something that I think you wouldn't like. It might just make me an unprofitable customer! So can I? Huh? Can I please do something that, in my gut, feels like it's manipulating the system? Hopefully, you'll say it's ok, rather than make some kind of notation on my account or alert your superiors to my plan. Thanks."
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Old Nov 20, 12, 11:27 pm
  #2929  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: RDU
Posts: 559
Originally Posted by virtuo0 View Post
How is anyone paying mortgage using bluebird? I don't see an option to schedule a payment. Do we need to remember to send payment every month?
Set up a reminder with your calendar, Mint.com, or something.

I personally don't like automated payments, I like checking for fraudulent charges or fees on my accounts.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 11:44 pm
  #2930  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: BOS
Programs: UA 1K, AA GLD
Posts: 231
Originally Posted by sweetz_21_83 View Post
Reports are that even though you put the memo, it doesn't actually appear on the check BB sends.
to be fair there's only been 1 report in this thread, unless you have some other sources. i think i will try and test this out and see what happens. also i'm sure that most places will ignore the memo anyways, since my servicers always allocate extra payments in the least advantageous way for me.

and based on that post maybe a good strategy would be to fully write "account number xxx for yyyy service" in the account number field, so whatever automated beancounter doesn't think it's some random "check number" or something.

Originally Posted by gardengirl View Post
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...
you're thinking about it the wrong way. spending 70 bucks in fees to get 17,500 UR points is essentially buying miles at 0.4 cents per mile + your time and effort going to OD and CVS...if you don't think this is a good rate, don't bother with it.

also i wouldn't really take a Chase "banker" seriously, especially with the CC game. bet they probably can't even name the 3 credit bureaus or how to call for recon. but the fact that you're uncomfortable charging $3500 for essentially cash equivalents IMO means you probably shouldn't do it unless you have additional spend to back it up.

Last edited by psychoandy; Nov 20, 12 at 11:50 pm
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Old Nov 21, 12, 12:15 am
  #2931  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,689
Originally Posted by greek2me View Post
Or you could just believe me and save yourself the trouble


Wasn't really trying to question you, it's just that your answer was very short.

I thought I had read some had reported being able to use the target card for reload on the Bird. However, apparently not.

So, as I stated before, I have no experience and will take your word for it. Thanks for the info., it will probably save others time as well.
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Old Nov 21, 12, 12:29 am
  #2932  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 300
In my case, Vanilla loading error 180 was because of over 5K monthly loading limit on BB side.

I also experienced a lot of trouble with both BB and Vanilla CSR before finally figuring out the problem, Vanilla CSR were useless, the 2-3 I talked to claim Vanilla reload cards couldn't be use to load into BB. It was terrible experience talking to them.

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 21, 12, 12:46 am
  #2933  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: ATL/LAX
Posts: 4,869
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.
Ssshhh, you're giving away my secret to finding them

They say "other side of the train tracks..." In LA, you have to go on the other side of the freeway!
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Old Nov 21, 12, 1:09 am
  #2934  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 93
turns out I had walked out of WG with the wrong card :-|
Paid for and activated a card and walked out with another. Asst Mgr was super helpful and offered to let me scratch all cards they had in stock to find the one I HAD activated.

I declined for now and he is holding all cards in store until they can figure out which one is mine
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Old Nov 21, 12, 6:04 am
  #2935  
Formerly known as cagalindo
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
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^ hahahahaha... well that is a good idea to keep all VRs in stock.
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Old Nov 21, 12, 6:53 am
  #2936  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Dallas, TX
Programs: AA EXP, SPG Plat, Marriott Plat, Hertz 5*
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Originally Posted by stalker View Post
turns out I had walked out of WG with the wrong card :-|
Paid for and activated a card and walked out with another. Asst Mgr was super helpful and offered to let me scratch all cards they had in stock to find the one I HAD activated.

I declined for now and he is holding all cards in store until they can figure out which one is mine
The last several digits of the actual card number -- not the pin that's hidden under the scratch off -- is printed on the receipt. So no need to "destroy" all the cards in stock just to it out...
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Old Nov 21, 12, 7:36 am
  #2937  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Programs: UA Gold, AA Gold, Hyatt Plat, SPG Gold, Marriott Plat, Hilton Gold, Hertz Pres Circle, etc etc
Posts: 380
Originally Posted by wlciii View Post
So no need to "destroy" all the cards in stock just to it out...
Just the thought of destroying all those wonderful VRs makes me want to cry....my precious....
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Old Nov 21, 12, 7:40 am
  #2938  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 350
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.
Please disregard my previous post. I am an idiot. I was looking at the first page of transactions on my Bluebird account, which totaled $3,500 in bean loads, and missed the previous page of earlier transactions this month in which I had loaded $1,500. I'm typically very good at recording and tracking such things, but in this case I screwed up. Enjoy your ice cream!
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Old Nov 21, 12, 7:56 am
  #2939  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 577
Quick data point for using Billpay to Wells Fargo Home Mortgages:

If you input the wrong loan number, the payment will still go through Bluebird's system but Wells Fargo won't process it. I had to call in to Bluebird to file a dispute and according to them, I will get an answer within 2 business days. Luckily Wells Fargo was patient with me about the mixed up payments and waived any late fees for this month. I went ahead and used their online system to make the payment via my checking account. No extra CC spend this month for me but could be worse.
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Old Nov 21, 12, 8:05 am
  #2940  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Houston
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Posts: 295
Originally Posted by psychoandy View Post

Originally Posted by gardengir
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...
you're thinking about it the wrong way. spending 70 bucks in fees to get 17,500 UR points is essentially buying miles at 0.4 cents per mile + your time and effort going to OD and CVS...if you don't think this is a good rate, don't bother with it.

also i wouldn't really take a Chase "banker" seriously, especially with the CC game. bet they probably can't even name the 3 credit bureaus or how to call for recon. but the fact that you're uncomfortable charging $3500 for essentially cash equivalents IMO means you probably shouldn't do it unless you have additional spend to back it up.
Other problem is if he can use those Visa gc to get those VR... still haven't found any place that would accept these VGC, MGC, etc for VR. all the store in my area req ID and CC to match
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