Folks began reporting that they weren’t able to load any type of Vanilla Visa or OneVanilla gift card to their Bluebird account. When you try to load the card (either at the kiosk or with a cashier), the register declines the transaction and says “alternate tender required.”
I wrote recently about changes to how you load Vanilla Visa gift cards to Bluebird at Walmart. For the past several weeks, the cards would load, but you’d have to be fast with your fingers to change the payment method after swiping the card.
As of yesterday, it seems like that workaround is NOT working anymore. Million Mile Secrets reader Liz reports:
Vanilla gift cards are not longer working to load BB at WM. I plan to try out Metabank and US Bank gift cards and see if they work.
Reader Chaz follows up:
Loaded 2 $500 Vanilla Visa Debit Gift Cards Monday 6/16/14 at WM, using the ‘change payment type’ workaround. Failed today 6/19/14 at 5 different terminals in a different Walmart.
Just recently returned from 3 different Walmarts and all 3 times it failed. I was unaware of “fast finger” but had already been doing that, maybe slow and methodical, not fast. Each time the transaction was cancelled at the end with a receipt print out declaring “debit not approved, call authorizer.” I was using the silver/purple Visa debit gift cards.
I had trouble yesterday and today as well with Vanilla cards.
So it looks like Walmarts all over the US have been affected by this change.
What Do You Do Now?
Change is part of the miles and points game, and I’ve written before that we have to adapt!
So far, it sounds like gift cards issued by other banks (like US Bank Simon Mall Visa Gift cards and Metabank) are NOT affected by this change. These cards are less convenient because you have to set the PIN prior to using them.
Earlier this week, I loaded my Bluebird at a Walmart kiosk with Visa and MasterCard debit gift cards. The Visa is issued by Metabank, but it’s not obvious – it’s in the small print on the back. The initial PIN is the last 4 digits of the card number, although I always set the PIN by calling.
The MasterCard debit gift card comes with a pre-printed PIN inside the packaging. This is a US Bank card, but again it’s not obvious to folks because it’s printed on the back.
It’s still easy to find these cards in many stores. And so far, they still work to load Bluebird at Walmart.
That said, I don’t know how long that will last. So I wouldn’t buy more than a couple at a time.
You don’t want to be left holding thousands of dollars in gift cards which you can’t load to your Bluebird!
If you already have Vanilla Visa or OneVanilla gift cards you need to use, you could try using them to buy money orders at a local grocery store. They do NOT appear to work at Walmart for money orders anymore.
Or you could use them if you need to
send someone money via Amazon Payments. You can only send $1,000 per month, so if you have a lot of cards it might take some time. [Expired]
Worst case, you could use the cards for regular spending. They still work just fine as a debit card for normal purchases.
You can NO LONGER load Vanilla Visa gift cards to your Bluebird account at Walmart.
I suspected this change was coming, since in the past few weeks they’ve made it more difficult (but not impossible) to load the cards. Now, it looks like there’s no longer a workaround.
As with everything in the miles and points hobby, changes happen. And there’ll always be something new to help us meet credit card minimum spending requirements and get Big Travel with Small Money.