My Adventures with Prepaid Cards

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.

Bluebird Limit Chart.

Bluebird Limit Chart.

Bluebird Limits

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!

REloadit Cards

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 The Manager came over and told me I’d need to get a new reload card since the first one is no longer valid.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!

Green Dot Coupon!

Green Dot Coupon!



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  1. Thanks for sharing your first-hand experience. Seems like it’s really coming down to individual stores and cashiers whether you can get away with buying prepaid cards with credit cards.

    By the way, the new design is slick! Great work. The header image is very cool with the world landmarks. What’s the second building from the left? I know I’ve seen it before, but can’t remember. My guess is it’s a mosque in Turkey, but I could be wrong.

    • Travel Summary says:

      Yes, it’s definitely hit or miss depending on your store or the people working there. Kind of annoying but it can work to your benefit.

      You’re right on with the header landmark – it’s commonly referred to as the blue mosque in Turkey (it’s official name escapes me).

  2. Come on. Where have you been for the last two months? FT has beaten these data points to death. Even MMS has posted this info (with pics and arrows) months ago. You seem to be the last guy in the game to have figured this stuff out…

    Next you’ll tell us your (belated) experiments with CVS/WG/RiteAid…

    You don’t want to bother with GreenDot – it is bad news. Any usage sufficient to interest churners is quickly shut down, with weeks to get any cash you might have locked up there.


    • Travel Summary says:

      There are quite a few people that don’t read FT, and people that usually read this blog are not the biggest experts on the matter. If this post or similar ones are not useful to you, you can simply choose to not read it.

      I also happen to know that Green Dot MoneyPak reload cards are quite valuable, even more so if I can get $4.95 off. And my account is in good standing despite the churning I do with it. Perhaps you should read the FT threads a bit more if you don’t know how.

  3. No there are no bloggers who don’t read FT. They and their team read it on a daily basis or graduated from FT at a minimum. They are making a business out of something that FTers built over the years and are acting selfishly. It is not like the veterans of FT didn’t know about blogging either, they just chose not to profit from a site like FT. But there are obviously people in this world with no self respect who will steal info and act like pricks who don’t care.

  4. is it a calendar month or 30 days meaning can do 5k on the 30/31st & then 5k starts again on the 1st?

  5. That’s too bad. But since you’re in Orange County, you’ve got options. I hear there are lots of CVS stores in LA and San Diego that let you buy them with a credit card.

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