I’ve written a couple of times about my “experiments” with prepaid cards. It’s well established that some stores allow certain purchases and others don’t, so sometimes it’s just a matter of what you can “get away with.” Other things, however, are actual rules that I simply didn’t pay attention to previously.
One thing I didn’t know until recently was regarding the limit chart. It’s well documented that Vanilla Reloads are the best way to reload your Bluebird account, so I knew the monthly limit for that was $5K. I also knew that the total monthly load limit is $10K. I thought to myself “great, I’ll load the final $5K using a debit card at Walmart.” Note that I can earn points for debit card purchases so it would be worth it for me to do this.
What I didn’t know was that the $5K monthly load limit for Vanilla Reloads also applies to debit card reloads at Walmart. In other words, the limit for Vanilla Reloads and debit card swipe reloads at Walmart is a combined $5K. Shame on me for not reading the above limit chart thoroughly enough before getting all my transactions rejected at Walmart. But now I know!
With the realization that I couldn’t load money from my debit card to my Bluebird card, I decided to go to my local grocery store to buy a REloadit card. If you didn’t read my last couple of posts on this subject, the gist of the REloadit portion of those posts is that I couldn’t buy them with credit cards (either I simply wasn’t allowed to make the purchase or the machine froze). I figured this shouldn’t be an issue with a debit card purchase since it’s considered cash.
As I’ve become accustomed to, my actual experience was much different than what I thought it would be. I grabbed the $950 reload card and some groceries and headed to checkout. I asked for “950 on the reload card” and the cashier entered $9.50. I told her I meant $950 and she said “well now I need a Manager to cancel the transaction.” The Manager came over and told me I’d need to get a new reload card since the first one is no longer valid. This seemed strange, but I didn’t mind. I grabbed the new reload card, came back, and the Manager asked me the dreaded question, “how are you paying for this?” I knew it was over at this point. I said I was paying with a debit card, and she said it was cash only. I politely asked why it’s any different that I pay with a debit card, and she just reiterated that it was cash only. She suggested (with a bit of attitude) that I walk over to the ATM machine to get cash if I wanted to buy the reload. I told her the ATM has an $800 daily withdrawal limit (said with a little attitude back) and declined, and went home with just my groceries.
It seems like no matter what I do, I can’t get my hands on a REloadit card here in Orange County. That being said, I’ll probably try buying a REloadit card again with debit just to see if it goes through. Hopefully next time a Manager won’t be required!
There was kind of a silver lining to the above failures. Apparently scanning the REloadit card at my grocery store triggered a related coupon being printed out (see below). Now, the only issue is whether they’ll let me pay the way I want to pay!