How to Use The US Bank Visa Buxx Prepaid Card to Complete Minimum Spending Requirements & Increase Credit Card Spending

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Introduction

Credit card minimum spending requirements are always increasing.  For example, you currently have to spend $10,000 within 3 months to get the full 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus on the Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus.

After Amazon Payments, prepaid debit cards offer some of the best ways to creatively meet credit card minimum spending requirements.  You can also use prepaid debit cards to generate spending to earn extra perks on credit cards.  

The US Bank Visa Buxx Prepaid Card

I wrote an eight part series on the perks of Big Spending on a credit card – from hotel elite status, bonus points, airline elite status to companion passes.  Check it out to see which perk matters the most to you and use that credit card when you fund your prepaid debit card.

However, be careful to avoid using Citi credit cards when buying a prepaid debit card directly from a bank because they usually code purchases from other financial institutions such as banks as cash advances which mean high cash advance fees and interest.

how it works

Certain prepaid debit cards can be funded or loaded with a credit card.  This means that you usually will earn miles or points when you fund or load your prepaid debit card using a credit card.

You can then use your prepaid debit card for regular purchases, but you can also use it to withdraw money at the ATM.  There are usually small fees associated with either loading and/or withdrawing money at the ATM.  But these fees could make sense if you have no other way to hit the minimum spending requirements on credit cards to get the sign-up bonus or if you want to get a perk for spending on your credit card.

Some prepaid debit cards (not all of them) also let you get cash back from the store, so you could buy $10 worth of groceries and get $200 cash back.  Or you could buy money orders from Wal-Mart, grocery stores, or US Post Offices and then deposit those money orders into your bank account.

You may even be able to link certain prepaid debit cards to your Venmo account, and transfer money directly to your checking account for free.

The Risks

I can’t tell you what to do or how far to go with pre-paid cards.  You’ve got to assess the risk for yourself.  As always, do what is comfortable for you.

1.  Cash Advance Fees.   The most obvious risk is that the purchase or funding of prepaid debit cards will be coded as a cash advance and you will pay extremely high cash advance fees and interest.  This is almost always the case with Citi cards so don’t use them to purchase products directly from a financial institution like a bank.

However, purchasing, say, a Visa gift card at a grocery store is okay since that will be coded as a purchase from a grocery store, and banks currently don’t charge cash advance fees for that!

2.   Won’t Earn Points.   You may earn miles and points the 1st time you buy or load a prepaid debit card with a credit card, but may not earn miles the 3rd or 4th time.

That’s because banks could change the coding for the purchase or loading of pre-paid debit cards at any time.  This recently happened with Bank of America and the Wells Fargo pre-paid debit card (review coming soon).

3.   Hard to Keep Track of Fees & Limits.  The different pre-paid debit cards have different fees for loading and withdrawing.  They also have different limits on the amount you can load and withdraw on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Keeping track of all this can be tough, so I suggest using a spreadsheet which lists the various limits and when you fund or withdraw money from the card.

4.   Account Closures.   Your prepaid debit card could get suspended or closed if the issuer suspects fraudulent activity.  In that case, it could take a few weeks (perhaps longer) to get your money back, so don’t fund your pre-paid debit card if you can’t do without the money for a few weeks.

5.   Credit Card Closures.   The most significant risk is that your bank could close your credit card account and not approve you for future applications.  I haven’t heard of this happening to anyone (yet), but it could happen if you push this to the extreme.

US Bank VisaBUXX Card

Link:  US Bank Visa Buxx

Link:  US Bank Visa Buxx terms, conditions & fees

US Bank Visa Buxx Debit Card

The US Bank Visa Buxx card is supposed to be a debit card which parents load with money and then give to their teenagers to use.

However, I applied for a Visa Buxx card and entered Emily’s information in the “Teen Information” field to test the card for the blog.  Emily isn’t a teen, but was approved for a card!

However, the terms (in my interpretation) don’t say that the Visa Buxx card is exclusively for teenagers.  The terms say (bolding mine):

Your Card accesses the Account we have opened for your personal use, and the personal use of your teen child who is authorized to use the Card to access the funds in such Account.

Some will feel uncomfortable with this, so only do what you feel comfortable with.

You have to enter social security number in the application, but I didn’t get a hard credit inquiry for the card.

You can load up to $2,000 on the card per month, and you pay $2.50 per $500 load.  So you’re spending $10 to generate $2,000 in credit card spending, assuming you have access to a fee free US Bank ATM.

Just like you can have more than 1 teenager, you can have more than 1 US Bank Visa Buxx card!

1.   Fees.   You pay $2.50 per funding load with a non-US Bank credit.  The maximum load is $500 at a time, so you’ll pay ~$50 in fees to fund, say, $10,000 in minimum spending.

You will also pay $15 to sign up for the card unless you buy & fund it from a US Bank Source, in which case the fees are $10.

There is also a 3% foreign transaction fee among other fees.

2.   Funding.  Here’s my experience trying different ways to fund my US Bank VisaBuxx card:

A.   Credit Cards.   You can’t use an American Express card to fund the US Bank Visa Buxx, but you can use a Visa or MasterCard to fund the US Bank VisaBuxx card.

I experimented with a Chase Ink Bold, Bank of Hawaii Hawaiian Airline card, and a Citi Thank You premier and earned miles and points with each of them and wasn’t charged cash advance fees because the transaction posted as a purchase.  Million Mile Secrets reader PatMike used a US Bank Flexperks card, but did NOT receive any points for the funding.

You can fund the US Bank Visa Buxx card online when you log into your account.

However, I was charged a $2.50 load fee for loading the Visa Buxx card with a non-US Bank credit card.

So you’re spending $10 to generate $2,000 in monthly credit card spending, assuming you have access to a fee free US Bank ATM.

I was *shocked* when I wasn’t charged cash advance fees on my Citi Thank You card, because Citi usually codes almost every direct purchase from a financial institution as a cash advance.  However, I would NOT recommend using a Citi card, because they could start charging cash advance fees at ANY time.

B.   Gift Cards.  I was not able to fund the US Bank Visa Buxx card with a Visa or MasterCard gift card.

3.    ATM Withdrawal Limits.   There is a daily limit of 3 ATM withdrawals of up to $200 per withdrawal.  ATM withdrawals at US Bank ATMs are free, so this will be useful to folks who live close to a US Bank ATM.

Here’s a link to see if there is a US Bank ATM near you.

No Fee For Using US Bank ATM

But you will pay $1.50 per ATM withdrawal at a non-US Bank ATM in ADDITION to fees charged by the ATM owner.  This can get expensive quickly, so it likely doesn’t make sense to withdraw money at a non US Bank ATM to regularly earn miles and points, but could make sense to complete minimum spending requirements.

4.   Funding Limits.   The terms say that you can load only $500 per transaction and the maximum value on the card is $2,000.  You are also limited to loading $2,000 per month on the US Bank Visa Buxx card.

So the maximum spending which you can generate with 1 US Bank Visa Buxx card is $24,000 per year in 48 loads of $500 each.  This will cost $120 ($2.50 funding per load X 48 loads).

5.  Money Orders.  The US Bank Visa Buxx has a PIN number, but I wasn’t able to use it to get cash back or to buy money orders.  The PIN only worked for ATM withdrawals.

6.   Multiple Cards.  You can have multiple cards for different teenagers or non teens since you can enter the date of birth for a person who is not a teenager and get approved.

7.   Changing Funding Source.  I was able to change the funding source online 6 times, but never more than twice in 1 day.

8.   Fund Other Cards.   I wasn’t able to use the US Bank Visa Buxx to fund my American Express Bluebird as a debit card load at Wal-Mart.  This would have been useful for folks who don’t have access to Vanilla Reloads cards.

9.   Venmo.  I didn’t check to see if you can use Venmo to transfer money from the US Bank VisaBuxx card directly to your checking account for free.  This would be much easier than making ATM withdrawals.

There is a $2,000 monthly limit on the amount you can transfer using a debit card with a Venmo account for free, which matches perfectly the monthly amount you can load on your US Bank Visa Buxx card!

Venmo recently started accepting debit cards and they do not charge a fee for “Debit cards issued by major banks.”  They do charge a 3% fee for debit cards issued by smaller banks.  However, this page says that using debit cards is always free, so I’m not sure which page is accurate.

Please comment if you’ve successfully used Venmo with the US Bank Visa Buxx card.  Using Venmo makes it much easier, since you can fund your US Bank Visa Buxx card with a credit card from your computer and withdraw money from Venmo to your bank account from your computer as well!

Bottom Line

The US Bank Visa Buxx card is another tool to use to help meet minimum spending requirements even if you don’t have access to a US Bank ATM.

But it is time consuming to go to a US Bank ATM and the fees at non-US Bank ATMs don’t make it worthwhile to use unless you have a minimum spending requirement or really want to hit a spending target on a credit card.

If you do have access to a US Bank ATM, you could use this not only to meet minimum spending requirements, but also to hit a spending target on a credit card.  Please read “The Risk” section above before using prepaid debit cards to meet minimum spending requirements on credit cards.

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53 responses to “How to Use The US Bank Visa Buxx Prepaid Card to Complete Minimum Spending Requirements & Increase Credit Card Spending

  1. With all the other option out there, this seems low on the list on uses. Seems very complex, I prefer to use a rather Vanilla approach to earning miles.

  2. Thanks, I’m going to experiment on money orders with my Nationwide Buxx. I have trouble getting vanillas and can’t hit my $10K spending requirement without a little help.

  3. @Becky- can you please elaborate, what kind of [email protected] vanillas or Amex blue bird?

  4. Can you go, CC –> US Bank BUXX –> Blue ?
    Since the load is $2.50 / $500, it’s cheaper than Vanilla.
    This might be viable if one does NOT have 5x chase cards at OD and/or if vanilla is readily not available.

  5. Thanks Darious, My Office Depot is out of Vanilla Reload cards, they say there has been a huge demand! Since I need to meet minimum spending requirements this should be great. Enjoy your blog every day, Gail

  6. – Serve also allows you to fund via debit card (you could use the prepaid VISA Buxx) to send $1,000 per month for free to your siblings/spouses/friends you can trust and withdraw the money to your bank account. This is a good way to get the money out from Visa Buxx without having to go to the ATM. This should work in theory, but someone needs to do an experiment.

  7. @Gail – If you don’t care about the 5X from Ink Bold/Ink Plus and just want to meet minimum spend, you could use American Express Prepiad card for Target and load $1,000 using any credit card at Target for a fee of $3 which is basically a 0.30% fee.

  8. It seems like every source of spending to meet “requirement” is with MC or Visa, do you have a source for Amex cards. I also cant find third party bill pay including mortgage that takes Amex cards. Do you know any ?

    Thanks Darius

  9. Problem with Venmo is they limit # of cards you can register with them over the life of your account, so if you have been using them in past you are likely tapped out and cannot add VB as a new debit card.

  10. @ Choi – As mentioned above, you could try the Amex Prepaid card for Taget which allows you to load with any credit card, including Amex for a fee of $3 for up to $1,000

    • @Becky @ New Girl in the Air – You can buy Money Orders with the Nationwide Visa Buxx card.

      @John K – Not with this card, but you can with other prepaid debit cards.

      @Gail – Thanks for reading!

      @MileHunter – Too bad I closed my Serve account to get Bluebird, otherwise I would have tried!

      @Choi – See Frequent Miler for a prepaid AMEX card which lets you complete spending on an AMEX card.

      @greek2me
      – Exactly why I can’t test it out!

  11. Can you use the Target Amex prepaid card anywhere or just Target?

    Has anyone tried purchasing a Paypal or Vanilla Visa card using the same method? I tried the Vanilla Reload at an Office Depot in Northern California and waas told cash or debt cards only.

  12. Warning- You do not want to deposit money orders in your personal bank account, a business account is ok, but not a personal bank account, your bank monitors and reports to IRS – all money order and cash deposits to personal bank accounts . You are buying trouble if you do this.!!! Not worth it.

  13. Hi Darius. I’m glad you wrote about this little gem. I wrote about it on FT & MP about two years ago (handle: TennisPro), but for some reason, it never became popular.

    I’ve had 10 of these cards for about two years now, for $240K a year in extra spend. Up until a few months ago, you could use visa gift cards to load them. Now you get some error when you try to enter a gift card as a funding source. So, in the past, you could load these with visa gift cards you bought at 5x (or 10x through other promotions), to earn well over 1 million miles a year, for about $1,200.

    The pain in the butt part, is making 30 x $200 ATM withdrawals at a time, four times a month. To streamline the process, I load all 10 cards with $2,000 at the start of each month, then make four trips to the ATM over the next four days. The fourth trip, I only have to withdrawal $200 per card, instead of $600, to drain the full $2,000 on each card. I try to go to the ATM at off-hours, so that nobody has to wait in line behind me while I make 30 seperate withdrawals.

    I used to deposit the $6,000 in cash I pulled out each trip, right back into the same ATM, but that much cash is too thick for one envelope, so now I deposit it at my bank next door, which has an automatic cash counter in the ATM.

    And if you use any US Bank card to buy your VisaBuxx cards, and enter the promo code “Buxx10” in the promo field, it works out to be free to purchase each card, because the $10 initial purchase price, is offset by a bonus $10 initial load with the promo code.

  14. @Chris – the Buxx10 promo doesn’t work. It appears to have expired in 2010.

    Unreal you can push that much cash thru your ATM/load 10 CCs and not have your accounts flagged…

  15. …just a thought but isn’t time that the About Me section become About us and include your “teenager”

  16. @ Chris M. Nice work, thats really taking the ball and running with it. Impressive that it stayed quiet and impressive you’ve had such a healthy run with these babies.

  17. Has anyone tried to load these US Bank Visa Buxx with the Citi AA card and the transaction were not listed as cash advance?

  18. @Ron – I keep waiting to get shut down, or for a letter from a friendly government agency, but so far so good.

    @MileageUpdate – Thanks! I can’t believe it’s still going!

  19. I tried to add my Buxx card to Venmo and it says it isn’t free to use.

    • @Kevin – You can use the Target Prepaid card anywhere.

      @Lucy – A good reminder to be cautious when depositing money orders.

      @Chris M. – Thanks for sharing. 10 cards is a lot to manage, but looks like you earned lots of miles and points with them! Did you use Citi cards to fund them and was your experience the same as mine – you weren’t charged cash advance fees?

      @John – We do have a soon-to-be teenage cat!

      @Heels05 – Thanks for that update!

  20. No US ATMs w/i 100 miles!
    so approx $40 for the first 2K!
    That is 2%!
    not bad but i’m doing the Visa cards through Staples at the UR Mall
    I get x2 + x5 = x7
    with a 7% fee
    then I send them to my bank via Amazon Payments
    A royal pain in the A##!
    But this is not much simpler!

  21. @Million Mile Secrets – I’ve never tried funding VisaBuxx with a Citi card, so I don’t know. I like UR. I already maxed the 5x office supply category on two I*k cards (2 x $50K), almost all in January & February 2012, before all the warnings to take it slow. Luckily, I didn’t get shut down. But, I’m long & solid with Ch*se and JPM, so I got lucky. I’ll take it slower when my category spend resets again this January.

    @Mimi K. – I did the same thing, back in January, when Staples was at 10x for the month through the UR Mall!! I had to unload most through VisaBuxx, though. I’ve been waiting patiently ever since for 10x from Staples again, but the most I’ve seen from them since then is 5x, plus the 5x office supply category bonus from an I*k card. Still excellent. At just 2x for Staples through UR Mall, though, I wait. Staples was at 4x just two months ago, and I’m hoping they’ll bump up again for the holiday shopping season. Royal pain = yes, though.

  22. Hoe does one get onto the UR shopping mall?

  23. Oops, HOW does one get on?

  24. Thanks, I hadn’t figured that out .

  25. @Mimi K. and @Chris M.: Staples at the UR Mall T&C: Not eligible on gift cards, gift certificates or any other similar cash equivalents. Doesn’t this apply for Visa gift card?
    Also what if I load VisaBuxx with US Bank Visa credit card? Is it cash advance?

  26. @Tatyana – Earlier this year, I was getting UR points for Visa giftcard purchases through Staples. This may have changed recently, though. I don’t buy them anymore, because you can no longer use Visa giftcards to load VisaBuxx, and it’s not worth it to me anymore, with Staples at only 4x, and no way to pull out large amounts of cash from the Visa giftcards at an economical price.

    When I tested loading VisaBuxx with my US Bank Visa credit card, and it was not coded as a cash advance. It was coded as a purchase. This was the same for [email protected] credit cards.

    • @Tatyana @Chris M. – A reader didn’t earn any points when she used the US Bank Flexperks card last month to fund the US Bank Visa Buxx cards. However, the transaction was coded as a purchase, not cash advance.

  27. Are ATM withdrawals the only way to get money out of a US Bank VISA Buxx card? Or, is there a bill pay option like the one available through Bluebird?

  28. I’m seconding Norm’s question. The only USBank ATM in my area is a 1 hr r/t drive through the city at a cost of $7- in gas…about the same as the $1.50/$1.50 (x6) withdrawl fees at my local WalMart Money Pass ATM. So I save $3- by driving to the ATM, but lose an hour of my time. It gets to be a bit pricey, but I HAVE to make that minimum spend by the years’ end. The crunch is on.

    BTW, is the minimum spend what is spent by the end of the year, or what is paid for by year’s end? My bill period runs through the 28th, so my final bill-where I hope to make the minimum spend–ends on December 28.

    • @Norm @Kimmie – I wouldn’t drive out of your way for a US bank ATM, just use any ATM to help meet minimum spending requirements. Minimum spending requirements usually start from the period when you are approved for the card. Which card’s minimum spending requirements are you trying to meet?

  29. @Chris M – How did you get 10 cards? Did you have to get names and socials for 10 people or did you use the same people multiple times? Or can you also sign up your dog with a fake social?

  30. Locating a US Bank ATM isn’t the problem for me. THere’s one about five blocks from my office and I can easily make a withdrawal of funds there. What I’m wondering if there are other easy ways to get funds out of the card, such as a bill pay option.

  31. Hi MMS,

    I am thinking of getting an US Buxx card since we have a lot of US bank branch here. so ATM is not a problem. I like to mix ATM widhdraw with the store purchase with cash back. so my question is : can I use US bank Buxx card to get cash back from grocery stores. Thanks a lot!

  32. @Chris M – very impressive, but you did forget to mention the fees for buying the Visa Gift Cards. Each $500 card costs $4.95 I believe.

    $240,000 spend in 1 year would require 480 gift cards = $2376 in fees plus $1200 load fees = $3576 in total

    This is still very very good value for 1.2 million UR points (UA miles) – well done

  33. @Million Mile Secrets – Have you tried using your Citi card again? I just got two AA cards and need to spend $5,500. Any recommendations on how to meet spending on Citi cards?

    Thanks

    • @Sam Emara – I wasn’t charged cash advance fees with my Citi Thank You Premier, but always do a test purchase since it could change anytime. You can use Amazon payments and Vanilla Reloads from CVS along with Bluebird to help meet the spending requirements.

  34. I used AAdvantage Citi cards, both personal and business, and they went through as a purchase without a problem!

  35. Has anyone used BOA Hawaiian card and not charged with cash advance??
    I just opened a US bank account and got a $50 GC. . .

  36. Confirmed no points when using US Bank Cash+.

    Has anyone used Citi Hilton Reserve? If so, any cash advance fee?

    • @Ed – Thanks for the update! I used a Citi Thank You card last year and was shocked that there was no cash advance fee. I haven’t tried recently so I don’t have any personal experience, but you could do a small test transaction.

  37. @MMS: Yep, I saw the earlier post about the Citi Thank You card. Was wondering if you’d used the AA card (or the Hilton Reserve for that matter). I’ll give them a run as time allows and report back. It’s a shame having to “test” small with the same load fee, but probably worth avoiding the draconian cash advance fees.

  38. … then again, the cash advance fee is the greater of $10 or 5%, so I guess a $200 load is the break-even point. Meh, here goes nuthin’.

  39. Did anybody have trouble getting a a funding source blocked? I used my chase united card to fund two buxx cards ($2000) each and now can’t use the united card anymore, the funding doesn’t go through because it is blocked by us bank, it doesn’t even show at chase side

  40. @Sam – yes – having repeated problems loading cards now. Getting the red error message when loading. Some cards will work for a few loads, then seem to be blocked. Can’t figure it out.

  41. Pingback: US Bank Visa Buxx | Chasing The Points

  42. Thanks for this blog. As a follow up… I was able to load BB with the Usb Buxx yesterday and also was able to use it for bill pay at Walmart. So that’s another good way to liquidate these.

    The NW Buxx worked for both too.

    I earned Club Carlson points by loading the NW Buxx card (not US Bank Buxx) with that Club Carlson

  43. @Sam – I also received the red error message on two of my cards but realized I was trying to load an amount that pushed me over the $2k maximum. When I reduced the amount it went through.

    @David – I was able to load BB with USB Buxx once. When I went back a few days later to do another load, the deposit went in and then went out. Both BB and Buxx show the in and the out as transactions. Not sure what the deal is with that.

  44. Pingback: US Bank Visa Buxx – Chasing The Points