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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 Dec 10, 12, 4:59 pm
  #3946  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by DCBob View Post
A very good question. Why wouldn't the store manager want to see store sales increase due to more prepaid card sales? The only thing I can think of is that during their monthly meetings with management (assuming they have them), the store managers are warned to "watch out" for fraud and money laundering and that they would be held responsible for the use of stolen or cloned credit card sales. And that gift cards and prepaid cards is an area where fraud is "rampant."

One CVS I know has the right balance - they always ask for picture ID and check the signature on the CC (most CVS stores don't do this). But that's not good enough for some paranoid store managers. They play it safe by banning the use of credit and debit cards.

Anybody have a better answer?
Margins are high enough on 3rd party/Visa gift cards to support credit card fees. Margins on prepaid/reloadabe cards are not. (I've seen them first hand)

Last edited by Dangjr213; Dec 10, 12 at 5:04 pm
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Old Dec 10, 12, 5:23 pm
  #3947  
fti
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Originally Posted by deant View Post
Normally loss leaders are items that bring people into a store to buy other things. Normally the loss leaders are a small percentage of what is sold on any transaction. They also tend to be $1 or $2 items in a grocery store. Did the people you brought into CVS with you buy over $500 or $1,000 in other items?

You comment about stores just selling olives or copy paper takes things completely out of context. Olives and copy paper are low cost items. You would need to sell THOUSANDS of them each week to have a few thousand of gross income from selling olives. However, you only need to sell a few $500 GC to get the same dollars in gross income.
I think you are taking things out of context. The relatively few people like FT'ers buying gift cards in $500 increments and VR cards is a drop in the bucket for all these stores. Also, loss leaders can easily be way more than $1 or $2. Ever see electronics sold on Black Friday at unreasonably low prices?

Re: my olive or copy paper comment, TV's are generally money makers for stores, but you would be hard-pressed to find stores that sell only TV's. It just doesn't work that way. Stores constantly try to expand their offerings to bring as many people as possible into their stores (within reason of course - you won't find a Slumberland selling electronics, even though both are profitable).

I stand by my comments.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 5:54 pm
  #3948  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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Angry Nobody at BB Answering the Phones?

NOBODY is picking up the phones at BB/Amex, and in fact, the systems are just pushing people in circles.

I'm locked out of my account and I assume the reason I'm being locked out is because I tried multiple times to load debit card funds onto the card. It kept erroring out and won't let me add funds. My call attempts two weeks ago were because of the error problems. Last week's call attempts were because they've locked my account, presumably because of the activity attempts 7 days ago!

I was on hold for 15 minutes after the prompts last week before I hung up (that was # 1-800-660-2454), and the previous week I tried a few times and got pushed to an automated loop that told me the service was so successful that they've stopped answering phone calls because they're getting so many. It referred me to the website, but the reason I was calling was because the website referred me to the phone number (because it was getting error messages and telling me I needed to talk to someone).

Last week I also tried calling 877-486-5990, got through the prompts (it took me 6 attempts to get it accept my answer to 'enter your birthday in 2 digit form' (06/04/87). It let me through, and then gave me a message saying due to the success of everything, we can't take calls anymore, go to the website - and then it hung up on me.

I just held 9 minutes and then got through to a rep on 1-866-545-7847. He says I MUST talk to the fraud dept at 1-800-660-2454, and no other dept can help me. He even gave me a FAX number in case I want to FAX my issue. I don't think people even tried to have regular communication via FAX in 1980, why would we do that now?

He went so far to say that some people are holding for 2 HOURS before they talk to a rep. I should point out that they're only even "available" M-F 8a-7p ET.

Any suggestions? Any success stories? I'm pissed. They have my money and they aren't letting me use it nor talk to them to resolve the issues they have.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 6:05 pm
  #3949  
 
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Originally Posted by fti View Post
I think you are taking things out of context. The relatively few people like FT'ers buying gift cards in $500 increments and VR cards is a drop in the bucket for all these stores.
Funny you mention this. I highly doubt this is a "drop in the bucket", even moreso at CVS compared to OD. At OD at least they sell things that are over a couple hundred bucks like tablets and laptops and stuff; but after bluebird took off and everyone started clearing out beans, I think some managers payed attention when stores were posting huge revenue increases. My theory is that once bob in office depot accounting saw that some stores had huge boosts in sales, they narrowed it down to VRs, realized that they were losing money due to CC transaction fees, and shut it down. Sure, they may have negotiated lower rates with CC companies, but why would they shut something down if they're making money?

At CVS I feel like this will be amplified; while rx drugs can be hundreds of dollars, they do distinguish between pharmacy versus retail sales. And I'm pretty sure CVS hasn't started to sell cameras and ipads and things over $200. So once managers or DMs start to see that they're clearing out VRs and have a 10k+ increase in monthly store revenue, they'll start paying more attention...and we will have another tragedy of the commons.

edit: i feel like so much of this thread has devolved into squabbling over beans and bluebird customer service, so i will try and add some actual content.

Has anyone tried sending checks/using billpay to a brokerage account, and then cashing out that way? so like BB billpay to brokerage, then ach from brokerage to regular bank acct? Seems slightly convoluted but i'd rather do that than try and find free ATMs and whatnot.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 6:09 pm
  #3950  
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Originally Posted by psychoandy View Post
Funny you mention this. I highly doubt this is a "drop in the bucket", even moreso at CVS compared to OD. At OD at least they sell things that are over a couple hundred bucks like tablets and laptops and stuff; but after bluebird took off and everyone started clearing out beans, I think some managers payed attention when stores were posting huge revenue increases. My theory is that once bob in office depot accounting saw that some stores had huge boosts in sales, they narrowed it down to VRs, realized that they were losing money due to CC transaction fees, and shut it down. Sure, they may have negotiated lower rates with CC companies, but why would they shut something down if they're making money?

At CVS I feel like this will be amplified; while rx drugs can be hundreds of dollars, they do distinguish between pharmacy versus retail sales. And I'm pretty sure CVS hasn't started to sell cameras and ipads and things over $200. So once managers or DMs start to see that they're clearing out VRs and have a 10k+ increase in monthly store revenue, they'll start paying more attention...and we will have another tragedy of the commons.
Thank you for reinforcing my concept of gettin while the gettin is good
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Old Dec 10, 12, 6:36 pm
  #3951  
 
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I truly think the key to this whole "scheme" is moderation. I cringe every time I read people purchasing 4+ cards at once. I personally purchase a single reload per week. Haven't had any issues with any of my attempts so far.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 6:41 pm
  #3952  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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I don't recommend Bluebird (or any other billpay system) to make Anthem Blue Cross premium payments. Both BoA and Bluebird billpay to Anthem were a pain to actually get credited. I'm gonna stick to mailing a check or using Anthem's own online bill pay for that in the future.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 7:06 pm
  #3953  
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Originally Posted by psychoandy View Post
Has anyone tried sending checks/using billpay to a brokerage account, and then cashing out that way? so like BB billpay to brokerage, then ach from brokerage to regular bank acct? Seems slightly convoluted but i'd rather do that than try and find free ATMs and whatnot.
Why can't you simply link a regular bank account to the BB account? You can do it on either end. As long as it can use the 2 deposits verification method the account can be linked. Why you need to go thru this trouble? The only mainline discount broker account does not work with BB is Fido's because stupid Fido does not use 2 deposit verification method. Schwab works just fine.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 7:17 pm
  #3954  
 
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Originally Posted by s4popo View Post
I truly think the key to this whole "scheme" is moderation. I cringe every time I read people purchasing 4+ cards at once. I personally purchase a single reload per week. Haven't had any issues with any of my attempts so far.
I think the way it plays out is that even if everyone purchased in moderation you eventually reach a critical mass of purchases due to the growing number of folks playing the game. Then you begin to have shortages and if a person drives to several stores looking for cards and finds empty racks it's easy to begin to think "dadgummit the next time I find a rack with some cards I'm buying a fistful, I need to get my reloads in this month." Sales accelerate, and volume grows to the point where it gets attention at the home office.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 7:18 pm
  #3955  
 
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Originally Posted by member7777 View Post
Did you ever think you would be stalking walgreens when you were in high school?
All of this visiting drugstores to find the right ones that will sell to us brings back so many memories of high school beer runs. I can remember hoping to get the cool looking cashier that wouldn't ask for id or ask how old I was much as today when I am looking to see who will ring me up and hoping it won't be the manager.
Also, I can remember that when my buddies and I would find that holy grail of a gas station or c store that would sell us booze on a Friday night, that invariably we would go back 2-3 times a night until the clerk would get wise and ask "Are you really 21?" Kind of like today when I find a store that works and I keep thinking that they will start recognizing me and ask "So why exactly are you buying thousands of dollars worth of these cards?"
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Old Dec 10, 12, 7:28 pm
  #3956  
 
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Originally Posted by s4popo View Post
I truly think the key to this whole "scheme" is moderation. I cringe every time I read people purchasing 4+ cards at once. I personally purchase a single reload per week. Haven't had any issues with any of my attempts so far.
I agree, I normally get 2 and also alternate between different stores. But I am also with member7777 - who knows how long this is going to last, so getting as much as possible without being too visible is the key.

I am also afraid that after the holidays activities like this will be a bit more visible.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 8:05 pm
  #3957  
 
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Originally Posted by member7777 View Post
Thank you for reinforcing my concept of gettin while the gettin is good
Originally Posted by s4popo View Post
I truly think the key to this whole "scheme" is moderation. I cringe every time I read people purchasing 4+ cards at once. I personally purchase a single reload per week. Haven't had any issues with any of my attempts so far.
4? Haha. I went to a store today that I haven't been in in quite some time, but in which I know the manager. Bought my $1k (their limit) and she commented how a guy came in a few days ago and tried to buy 11. I'm grateful for their limit because there were only 3 on the rack today. 2 other stores in my area are also cleaned out & I *thought* I was pretty well insulated.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 8:25 pm
  #3958  
 
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Question

Originally Posted by TTnC4me View Post
4? Haha. I went to a store today that I haven't been in in quite some time, but in which I know the manager. Bought my $1k (their limit) and she commented how a guy came in a few days ago and tried to buy 11. I'm grateful for their limit because there were only 3 on the rack today. 2 other stores in my area are also cleaned out & I *thought* I was pretty well insulated.
After supplies dwindled (but didn't totally run out), I've seen a recent restocking across a few of my local spots. I wonder why the variation from store to store.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 8:31 pm
  #3959  
 
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Originally Posted by TTnC4me View Post
4? Haha. I went to a store today that I haven't been in in quite some time, but in which I know the manager. Bought my $1k (their limit) and she commented how a guy came in a few days ago and tried to buy 11. I'm grateful for their limit because there were only 3 on the rack today. 2 other stores in my area are also cleaned out & I *thought* I was pretty well insulated.
+1. I'm with you. CVS actually should limit these purchases to two a day. They definitely are losing a small amount of money on every $500 reload purchased. I know that to be a fact. You can't load more than two a day to one account anyway. I realize someone will break the rules by making three visits a day at different times when different cashiers are on duty to buy more than two.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 8:36 pm
  #3960  
 
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Originally Posted by lovenola View Post
All of this visiting drugstores to find the right ones that will sell to us brings back so many memories of high school beer runs. I can remember hoping to get the cool looking cashier that wouldn't ask for id or ask how old I was much as today when I am looking to see who will ring me up and hoping it won't be the manager.
Also, I can remember that when my buddies and I would find that holy grail of a gas station or c store that would sell us booze on a Friday night, that invariably we would go back 2-3 times a night until the clerk would get wise and ask "Are you really 21?" Kind of like today when I find a store that works and I keep thinking that they will start recognizing me and ask "So why exactly are you buying thousands of dollars worth of these cards?"
This is the best analogy I have read. This is exactly how I feel approaching a register at a new CVS hoping they let me use my CC to buy beans.
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