On Sunday, I explained a few alternatives to buying Vanilla Reloads from Office Depot because Office Depot no longer sells Vanilla Reloads. I wrote:
“There are many new prepaid cards on the market, and some are very much like Bluebird in that you may be able to load them with a credit card.”
If you were searching for Vanilla Reload card, you couldn’t help but notice the different types of reloadable cards available. Many readers commented and emailed asking about PayPal, Green Dot and other re-loadable cards hanging just next to the Vanilla Reload cards in stores. Frequent Miler wrote about his experiences with some of the reload cards as well, and I’d urge you to pay attention to his cautions.
I suggest using these methods only to help meet a minimum spending requirement and not to go overboard.
1. Green Dot. These reloadable cards are available at almost every grocery store or pharmacy. The premise is similar to Bluebird – load a compatible prepaid card with a Green Dot card and use it to withdraw money from ATMs or as cash-back during regular purchases. You can even use it to pay bills, but there is a $1,000 limit per payment, and you can transfer money to your Pay Pal account.
U Can Fly Free 2 has a great summary on Green Dot prepaid cards.
In my experience, I haven’t been able to buy this at CVS or Walgreen’s with a credit card, even at those CVS and Walgreen’s stores which sell me Vanilla Reload cards with a credit card. Either the cashier freezes up when she sees a Green Dot and barks “cash only” even though I’ve just paid for a Vanilla Reload with a credit card. Or sometimes I sweet talk the cashier into trying to sell it to me and the system doesn’t process a credit card purchase.
I haven’t been able to buy them at Kroger grocery stores either. However, U Can Fly Free 2 reports buying them from Randalls which is owned by Safeway. This will be a wild goose chase for many folks, so do this only if you’re up for experimenting.
2. PayPal. The premise of the PayPal card is simple – load your PayPal account with the PayPal reloadable cards bought with a credit card. You can then transfer money to your PayPal account, pay others, etc.
I’ve read many reports of folks suggesting that their PayPal account was closed because of suspicious activity – including funding their Pay Pal account and then withdrawing money. So I’d caution you from using this in excess. It likely *could* be okay if you use it to meet minimum spending requirements.
But I don’t know personally know anyone whose PayPal account was actually closed and I don’t know what the “limits” are. I’ll offer myself up as the guinea pig and report back on my experiences.
I even got a PayPower prepaid card in anticipation of reloading it with the REloadit cards, but I haven’t even seen a REloadit card, let alone try to buy one with a credit card!
Some of you won’t like this post, just like you don’t like other posts which you feel expose “secrets.” But read on before you leave a comment. I don’t censor comments on the blog. You can leave a comment and it will appear in real-time on the blog. I welcome comments which don’t agree with me, or point out typos or inaccuracies in posts and I post youtube videos which poke fun at me on the blog.
But just because you left a comment on the blog doesn’t mean that I have to agree with you and do what you want me to do!
There has been a great increase in “drama” comments – comments either personally attacking me or others, comments intentionally left to mislead others, or comments where the author feels slighted because I acknowledged his/her comment but don’t change my behavior.
This is a miles and points blog, but here’s an important life lesson. You don’t change anyone (perhaps children up to a certain age) by telling them how incorrect their way of thinking is and how they should see the light and do what you tell them to do.
I’m not going to stop posting ways for folks to have Big Travel with Small Money.
I don’t expect the proliferation of prepaid cards and re-loadable cards to stop, but the ability to buy them with a credit card will be very YMMV (your miles may vary). And be very careful with this since we don’t know the limits and you risk having your account shut down.
But please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments or via email!