No More Vanilla Reloads With a Credit Card at CVS From March 31, 2014

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Update:  You can no longer load a Vanilla Visa to your Bluebird.

Via Points Miles and Martinis, you might not be able to buy Vanilla Reloads with a credit card at CVS after March 31, 2014.

Some CVS stores don’t accept credit cards for Vanilla Reloads, but this looks like a new policy which is applicable at ALL CVS stores.  We all knew that this day was coming!


Is This the End of Our Romantic Shopping Trips to CVS?

Why Is This Bad?

I’ve written about Vanilla Reloads and how you can use them to load your Bluebird account and pay for expenses (mortgages, rent, credit card bills etc.)  you wouldn’t otherwise be able to pay with a credit card.

Many CVS stores let you buy Vanilla Reloads with a credit card.  But this news might mean you can’t buy Vanilla Reloads with a credit card anymore!


Image via @Ringsthecaddy on Twitter

Cary Chaney who wrote the above memo is the category manager for prepaid cards at CVS, so this looks like it is the real deal.  Most shops don’t let you buy reloadable cards with a credit cards, so it was only time before CVS changed their policy.

What Should We Do?

We won’t know for sure if this is real (or an early April Fool’s joke!).  But in case it’s not, it could be worth maxing out your Vanilla Reload spending on March 30, 2014 (today) just in case.

I’m not in the US, so I can’t head to a CVS to personally verify the change.  So apologies if this is a false alarm for some folks!   But it sounds like CVS might be tightening their rules.

That said, you can still buy $500 Visa gift cards (with a PIN) and go to Wal-Mart to load your Bluebird.  So Bluebird is not dead…yet!  But it certainly is more inconvenient to go to Wal-Mart than it is to load your Bluebird online.

Bottom Line

You might not be able to buy Vanilla Reloads with a credit card at CVS from tomorrow.  I’m not sure if this is regional or applicable at all CVS stores.

If you’re near a CVS tomorrow, you could stock-up on Vanilla Reloads.  Hopefully, this is a false alarm.  But if not, this will change the way lots of folks meet minimum spending on their credit cards.  But check out these other ways to help with the minimum spending requirements on credit cards.

I have my fingers crossed!

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124 responses to “No More Vanilla Reloads With a Credit Card at CVS From March 31, 2014

  1. Just picked up another 5K at another CVS in Philly subs after getting 4K this afternoon. So, store limit is for each location.

  2. Same NYC store, picked up $500.

    Cashier said it was cash only so I asked if there had been a change – she then changed her mind saying I could pay with debit too. I ran CC, pocked credit, handed card to cashier when prompted and had no issues.

    Suspect however come 4th April it may be the end!

  3. @AT: How did you show the cashier a different card when the last 4 numbers are verified?

  4. Purchased 2500 around 1030pm. No issues.

  5. Confirmed we can’t buy VR w/ CC in Charlottesville either. Thanks for the headsup.

    And so….. needing to try the Visa Gift card approach. At my CVS, they had a LOT of the “OneVanilla” Visa prepaid debit cards. Yet I’m very unclear on just how to take these cards to Walmart and load to Bluebird. The bluebird web site (under faq) seems to indicate I have to register the card first, then log on to my bluebird account, then provide debit card info, verify address, etc. — and that I can only link one debit card to the bb account.

    Soooo…. do I do this before going to Wally World? Or at Walmart?

  6. I purchased one for $500.00 at CVS yesterday with no problem in South Louisiana. I went to purchase a second one, swiped my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card a second time, and the screen said that I needed another form of payment. I asked the cashier if I could try swiping again, and she said okay. Second time, it worked. She did not seem to know anything about a memo or change.

  7. I have an off topic question..

    I am still learning the ropes and what not of the game, I wanted to understand why when paying a mortgage Bill for example with Bluebird instead of using a check one would not just call the Lender and pay using his/her Bluebird debit card…

    Thank you for your responses!!

  8. Pingback: CVS Vanilla Reload Update: ALL Stores Going Cash Only By April 4, 2014 | Million Mile Secrets

  9. Just purchased $4k between two different CVS locations in downtown Indianapolis. I had trouble at the second one, but only because I was trying to go over the limit on my new Citi Executive / AAdvantage Card. By the time I had called Citi to confirm that is all the trouble was, the staff helpfully told me about the switch to require cash. They said it would be in place by Friday, but then they said Thursday. In any case, they seemed to think it was a stupid change and were trying to help me plan my next move accordingly.

    As frustrated as I am by CVS corporate regarding this change, the staff has always been super awesome at my local CVS stores.

  10. Nothing doing in NE Ohio, manager said they got the memo today. Can still buy Paypal cards though.

  11. It is over !!! I just stopped by CVS this morning in Lansdale suburban of Philadelphia and the clerk showed the message from terminal after I swiped the credit card “not valid tendency” or something like that.

    I just wonder why Vanilla can sell directly to consumer and may charge a little more. Should we ask them?

  12. I forgot to mention that on Tuesday 4/1 I was able to buy Vanilla reload card.

  13. I take full responsibility. I have been putting off for years getting a rewards credit card. Finally, bit the bullet in mid-March, got my Barclay Arrival on March 24, got a $500 VR in Southaven, MS to test it out, no problems. Then, voilà, an announcement is made that it is over. I was able to get two last cards April 1st afternoon. Thankfully, getting to my bonus spend should be no problem now.

  14. Anybody having an issue loading vanilla reloads to their bluebird? I’m getting error 29 saying it is not being allowed because of my prepaid debit card.

  15. @Bryan I talked to Bluebird rep about the same issue. He checked my account and said that there is no issue with account, but they experiencing issues with VR connectivity and it should be fixed within 4 hours or so.

  16. Today is the last day for credit card payment for Vanilla Reloads in the Kansas City area…I may or may not have gone to four CVS stores this evening…

  17. Hi Darius,

    Would you kindly write down the steps to load bluebird via PIN enabled gift card at walmart?

    Thanks much,

  18. @Stella – bad news – Walmarts are adopting a policy of no longer accepting pin enabled credit cards. The register wasn’t blocked, but the manager said the policy just changed.

    If you have some to load up your Bluebird account, better do it quickly.

  19. @Tom Are you saying they will block the use of Pin-enabled DEBIT cards? Or you actually mean CREDIT card? If DEBIT cards then it simply means every way is a dead end, hopefully that’s not the case : (

  20. Should I cancel my bluebird account before monthly fee kicks in?

  21. Hi Daraius,
    is it posible to add funds to a Bluebird card using a gift card?

  22. I’ve always used case to reload my prepaid AMEX with Vanilla but it the past weeks in the Phila area all of their reload cards were removed from the shelves of CVS, Dollar General & Walmart. Until today I was able to purchase and load them ta a local 7-11 but they are all gone as well.

    Does this mean that Vanilla is not going to offer a reload card at all anymore?

  23. Pingback: Credit Cards – Four New Cards and 265,000 Miles/Points: My Q2 Round of Credit Card Applications

  24. Bad news – looks like pin enabled gift cards to Bluebird are officially dead at Walmart. Register hard-stop