CVS Changes Its Rules Again: New Gift Card Limits, ID Requirements

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Are you still buying gift cards at CVS to load your Serve account at Family Dollar for paying bills and meeting credit card minimum spending requirements?

Via The Forward Cabin, CVS is changing its policies on buying gift cards.  Until recently, folks have usually been able to buy up to $5,000 in gift cards per day, and didn’t have to show identification for transactions under $1,000.

But now CVS only allows a maximum of $2,000 in gift cards per person, per day.  And for any purchase of $300 or more, you’ll have to show ID.

CVS Changes Its Rules Again New Gift Card Limits ID Requirements

If You’re Still Buying Gift Cards at CVS, the Rules Have Changed (Again!)

What Does This Mean?

The Forward Cabin posted a memo from Cary Chaney (yes, the same Carey Chaney who issued the infamous Vanilla Reload death memo!) describing the changes which took effect October 27, 2014.

CVS Changes Its Rules Again New Gift Card Limits ID Requirements

Memories of Vanilla Reloads – Cary Chaney’s Back at It! (Photo: The Forward Cabin)

If you buy lots of gift cards at CVS, this change will affect you.  Because your ID will be scanned into CVS’s computer system, there’s no way around the $2,000 per person, per day limit, even if you go to a different store.

Most folks buy the $500 variable load gift cards, to minimize the ~$5 purchase fee.  Many of us avoided having our ID scanned by doing separate transactions for each gift card.  But now CVS will always ask for identification, unless you load less than $300.

CVS Changes Its Rules Again New Gift Card Limits ID Requirements

The New Rules Apply to All Prepaid Debit & Gift Cards

And there’s a discussion on FlyerTalk reporting that some CVS stores made the change early.

It sounds like CVS is tightening up its rules to crack down on gift card fraud.  And the memo specifically warns cashiers to look out for folks who try to break up their transactions to avoid these new restrictions.

This practice is called “structuring” and it’s when you break up a large transaction (say $2,000 worth of gift cards) into smaller transactions to avoid having your ID scanned.  Stores like CVS scan identification to protect against fraud and money laundering.

For most of us, this won’t be more than a minor inconvenience.  But if you’re someone who’s been buying thousands of dollars in gift cards per day at CVS, these new policies will definitely slow you down!

You might want to bring an authorized user along on your CVS shopping trips from now on!  😉

Bottom Line

CVS has issued a memo with new rules concerning the purchase of gift cards.  Many folks buy gift cards with a credit card to load to their Serve account at Family Dollar, then pay bills that can’t normally be paid with a credit card.

But now you’re limited to buying a maximum of $2,000 in gift cards per person, per day.  And any purchase over $300 will require you to have your identification scanned.

Until recently, the limits were $5,000 per person, per day, and ID required for purchases of $1,000 or more.

This will only be an issue for folks who buy large amounts of gift cards at CVS.  For most, it will be an inconvenience (having to scan ID).

Will this new policy affect you?   Please let me know in the comments!

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19 responses to “CVS Changes Its Rules Again: New Gift Card Limits, ID Requirements

  1. Damn, this sucks. I was using Starbucks gift cards for money laundering and now I’ll be limited in both dollar amount and caffeine intake.

  2. I bought $500 , 3 times this weekend Nov 1st and 2nd. I laid down my license each time. The clerk looked at it , but did not scan.

  3. I wonder who buys large among of GCs from CVS anymore, a few Ks to meet minimum but thousands and thousands each month ? for what purpose and how do you launder it ? incriminating minds want to know !!!!

  4. I thought you couldn’t load more than $500 at FD at a time anyway? You cannot load these Vanilla gift cards at Walmart anymore so the only point of buying $5,000 or even $2,000 daily is to convert them to money orders. Unless there are other debit gift cards still loadable at WM? Problem is good luck finding places to sell you MO with a gift card, sources are disappearing. Depositing tons of MO into various banks, say over $10k to avoid reporting requirements is really what structuring is about.

  5. So any chance with this new policy that they will start allowing cc purchases of vanilla reload?

  6. I recently was allowed by my favorite employees to listen in on a region wide conference call from CVS corporate. Apparently, cashiers were taking bribes to load cards (with stolen credit cards) over the phone without the customer actually present, and CVS was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in southeastern US. This seems to be an reaction to that problem and other problems with credit card fraud.

  7. I bought a $500 gift card today at CVS. Cashier asked to see I.D just like they always do (it is a $500 purchase with a credit card after all) but did not scan it. Where are you are getting “your ID will be scanned into CVS’s computer system”? It is no where on the memo. You also state that up until this memo people could buy under $1000 in GC without ID. Since when? Every time I have bought a $500 GC I have been asked to show ID and only scanned ID when buying $1000 in GCs, this is nothing new.

  8. My local CVS has a memo hanging right next to the front counter phone, presumably as a reminder – “Absolutely no purchases are to be completed over the phone. Any violations of this rule will result in termination”

  9. I just tried to purchase a $500 Green Dot Moneypak with a credit card at my local CVS (downtown Pittsburgh) and was told I had to pay in cash. Bummer.

  10. I love how u just ignored my comment. Nice. It would do you sum good to acknowledge ur mistakes or at the very least correct them so ur readers get correct information. I guess if you did that then this would have been a shorter post where the only real information is that CVS is lowering the daily purchase to $2000. The rest is made up fluff.

  11. @Raul – His info is correct, may not apply to all markets simultaneously nationwide, but I can confirm for Chicago. Software updates can lag behind policy changes. I have a dozen CVS’s withing striking distance and can attest to that. A given store may not yet be requiring it, but 3 blocks down computers have been updated. “YMMV” is not a cop out, its a fact of life in this game.

  12. @Sebastian- I stand by my comments. Nowhere in the memo does it state that ID would be scanned for anything over $300, it states I’d will be required which it always has been for such a large purchase. Also states I’d scan thresholds will be lowered but it does not state what threshold will be lowered to. My point is he assumed that the threshold will be lowered to $300 and we all know what happens when you make assumptions right? Right. Also states effective date as October 27th my purchase was on November 2nd. Manager at my CVS also confirmed that the ID scan threshold was not lowered to $300.

  13. I think it’s worse then $2k/day. It’s $2k/business day! I bought $2k Sun morning & Mon afternoon their computer wouldn’t let me buy anymore.

  14. Hey, where I live (Puerto Rico) CVS doesn’t allow you to buy gift cards with credit cards, they only take cash or debit. Is there any way to overcome that?

  15. I live in florida and have not been able to buy a visa vanilla at CVS =/

  16. I tried using my Citi Hilton Honors card yesterday at CVS to buy a 490 dollar visa giftcard to load onto my Serve account (no redcard in my state), but CVS declined the transaction. Has this happened to anyone else?

  17. @James, the last three times I’ve bought single $500 Vanilla Visas at CVS, each time my initial swipe was denied. The pharmacist/cashier told me “just wait a few seconds”, then I swiped my credit a second time which was then accepted. Apparently he knew about the glitch: don’t know if this is nationwide. (Tucson, AZ)

  18. It’s clear that this Cary Chaney guy from CVS has no clue about federal structuring regulations. Buying gift cards with a credit card is not structuring, even if the purchaser was breaking up the transactions. Stupid CVS…