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Some folks don’t like buying PIN-enabled gift cards to load to their Bluebird account because of the ~$5 to $7 fee on these cards. See this post for more on how to load a gift card with a PIN to your Bluebird.
But did you know you can buy Visa debit gift cards from Simon Malls for only a ~$3 fee?
Why Buy PIN-Enabled Gift Cards?
I’ve written about buying PIN-enabled gift cards with a miles and points earning credit card, then using the gift card to load Bluebird at Walmart. Then, you can use Bluebird to pay bills and expenses you can’t normally pay with a credit card, like mortgages, rent, utilities, and credit card bills.
You can also use gift cards to buy money orders at grocery stores and Walmart, but I would be careful not to do this too much. Buying and depositing a lot of money orders can raise suspicion with the banks!
I usually buy PIN-enabled gift cards at CVS, office supply or grocery stores, but there’s always a ~$5 to ~$7 fee. That’s a lot, especially if you can only find gift cards in $100 or $200 denominations.
But if you have a Simon Mall near you, you can buy Visa gift cards for a fee of only ~$3!
Where Are Simon Malls?
Simon Malls operates 325 malls in North America and Asia. You’ve probably been to a Simon Mall and don’t even know it!
Here’s a list of Simon Mall locations. Or, you can use their search page to enter your zip code and find a mall close to you. However, NOT all Simon Malls sell Visa gift cards. Call in advance to make sure your mall sells them before making a trip.
How Do You Buy a Gift Card?
You can buy Visa gift cards at the mall’s guest services counter, up to a value of $500 per card. It’s best to buy the highest value card you can to offset the fee.
They also sell American Express gift cards. Do NOT buy an American Express gift card. They don’t come with a PIN and you can’t load them to your Bluebird!
You’ll pay a ~$3 fee for each gift card you buy. This is much better than paying ~$5 to $7, especially for lower value cards!
Because it’s a US Bank Visa, you have to call the number on the back of the card to set the PIN before you use it.
Folks on Flyertalk report that you can buy up to $10,000 in gift cards per day. So even if you have to drive some distance to a Simon Mall, it could be worth it if you buy a lot of gift cards!
You can use the Simon Mall debit gift cards to buy money orders from stores such as Wal-Mart or grocery stores, but you can’t use it to buy money orders at post offices. You can also use the Simon Mall debit gift card to pay bills with Evolve Money!
Drawbacks and Limitations
The Simon Mall Visa gift card is NOT available in all areas. This Flyertalk thread reports some malls only selling Visa gift cards to businesses, or not selling them at all. And others say they’ve had to fill out paperwork when purchasing over a certain amount of gift cards.
But I’ve been able to buy them at my local mall.
Some folks earn category bonuses on their credit cards for drugstore, office supply, and grocery store purchases. So depending on which cards you have, it might be a better deal to pay a higher fee but get the category bonus.
This shouldn’t be a problem for most folks (because we’re unloading these cards quickly to our Bluebird accounts), but if your card is inactive for more than 12 months, you’ll get charged a ~$3 per month fee.
I’m experimenting with buying Simon Mall gift cards online, and I’ll report back with the results in another post.
You can buy PIN-enabled Visa gift cards at some Simon Mall locations for a fee of only ~$3. Usually, Visa gift cards cost ~$5 to $7 at drugstores, grocery stores, and office supply stores.
Some areas don’t carry these cards, so it’s best to call the mall 1st before making a trip. And don’t accidentally buy AMEX gift cards, because they won’t work to load Bluebird!
Do you have a Simon Mall nearby? Have you been able to purchase Visa gift cards with a credit card?