No VRC? Try One Vanilla

UPDATE 6/20/14: Do not use OVGCs or VGCs at Walmart.  Use other gift cards from other banks.

No VRC Vanilla Reload Card

No Vanilla Reload Cards?  No Problem!  One Vanilla Gift Cards to the Rescue

I don’t know about you, but my local CVS store(s) are getting a bit low on Valentine’s Day chocolate Vanilla Reload Cards.  Instead of walking out empty handed, take a look at the One Vanilla Gift Cards.

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They have a slightly higher activation fee ($4.95 instead of $3.95), but they are a great Vanilla Reload Card alternative/replacement.

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The great thing about this gift card is you can load it onto your Bluebird Card at Walmart (link) and you DO NOT need to register a PIN before using it.  Yes, you read that correctly, all you do is swipe the gift card and enter any 4 digits you like (I like 1234 or 1127 (for my birthday)), but you may like another set of 4 digit numbers.  It really is as simple as it sounds.  Plus, I’ve seen literally 100 One Vanilla gift cards at every CVS store I have ever been to.  You should be able to buy these cards at CVS or any grocery store, gas station, or other store.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

About Grant

Grant is an expert in frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty points, credit card rewards, and cash back deals. He also has a pretty cool travel blog. Find him on Twitter @travelwithgrant.

951 thoughts on “No VRC? Try One Vanilla

  1. Jonathan

    They are still available, but now take you directly to GCM website, which sucks for those of us getting $500 GC from Simon Mall for $3.95 incl shipping

    Reply
  2. Brad

    Looks like it will now be $4.94 for $497 gift card…I was trying to purchase $500 and kept getting an error saying the order can be more than $500 so it must be including the $2.95 fee into that $500 total.

    On a different note, is there a better way to use GCM? Do certain programs offer you more points? I currently have SWA, United, Freedom and Sapphire Pref.

    Reply
  3. Jerry Mandel

    Never play games such as a “$497” gift card. Always charge $500 + whatever the GC fee is. Example: $504.95 I never heard of anything limiting a charge to $500. I can even charge the gift cards + some groceries or drug supplies.

    Reply
    1. Brad

      They actually told me this is an error and IT is looking into it. Is there anything about GCM I should know about though? Is there a way to earn more points with them?

      Reply
  4. L Amez

    How do you load $1500, at one time, at WM? Lately I take my $500 GC, and ask the WM clerk to load $500 onto BB. So, if I have 3 $500 GC I end up doing three separate loads.

    Reply
      1. L Amez

        I’ve been reading through the comments for the past 45 min; I did not find it. I read about doing $1,500 first, and then wait 10 min… but not exactly how one loads $1,500, in one transaction, if each card holds $500…

        Reply
        1. Grant

          There is a difference between loading at the Kiosk and loading at the Money Center. You can load up to $2,500 per day at the Money Center. At the Kiosk, you can load up to $1,999.99 within a 10 minute window. After that, you need to take a 10 minute break and return back to the machine.

          Reply
      1. L Amez

        So, you can’t ask to load a total of $1,500, and then swipe each card one by one, so that it’s on the same transaction?

        Reply
  5. Jerry Mandel

    It is a bit amusing and sad reading about all the problems and confusion (and whining) with Bluebird, Evolve, Serve, etc. Meanwhile, I am happily going to my bank with my Walmart Moneygram money orders with no problems. Quickly meeting required spending.

    Reply
    1. Hoang

      Hi Jerry,

      My friend have been doing the same like you. However, he is worry about buying too many MO so he tried BB yesterday and he said it was very easy. We usually buy Simon Visa GC. By the way my Simon Mall changes the Visa GC design and issued by MetaBank instead of US Bank. The new one is great same $500 max and $2.95 fees but the new feature I like it is the pin number is the last 4 digit of the card. Now I can go directly from the Mall to Walmart.

      In October we will get couple hotel rooms in Silicon Valley and it is very expensive weekday. Thanks to Carlson club I got 2 nights for 38000 points.

      38000 points = $7600 x 5 points/per $ or buying 18 $500 VGC cost = 18 x $2.95 = $53.10

      $53 for 2 nights at the hotel cost more than $200 per night !!!

      Reply
  6. Jerry Mandel

    Worried about too many MOs? Silly. People come into my bank branch with BIG deposits and tellers don’t even blink at a few MOs such as six MOs.

    Reply
  7. Brad

    Anyone order from other sites now? GCM was doing $2.95 service fee and $1.99 for shipping and as of today it looks like shipping is $3.99 and there’s no reason to order from the site now.

    Any other sites?

    Just to confirm, Vanilla Visa works at Walmart again right?

    Reply
      1. Jonathan W.

        Yes that’s still true. I usually upgrade to the priority mail option. It comes out to $2029.46 for 4 $500 GCs but you get faster shipping and a tracking number.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          Dang, I should do that too. It’s only 60 cents more. USPS Critical Mail says 5-8 days with tracking. I hope that is faster than regular USPS First Class Mail. Thank you Jonathan!

          Reply
      2. Adam

        Has anyone had problems using an AMEX card to buy GCs at GCM? I have been running into the same wall for 2 nights now, and they will not do it over the phone. This is the error I run into: Payment Authorization failed for Credit card.
        Error Creating order

        Anyone having a similar issue? or another site to use AMEX on?

        And Yes I have the address exactly the same for CC billing and the GC shipping and billing.

        Reply
  8. Robert

    I am trying to follow this thread but I am clueless on what you guys are talking about. What is so special about these gift cards? Can I make money off them? If so please teach me how dummy stile

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Hi Robert, are you unclear why people are buying Visa gift cards or why people are buying these specific gift cards? I’ll do my best to answer your question.

      Reply
  9. orrin

    there is nothing special about these gift cards……except……

    You may buy them in order to obtain airline miles, and then use the gift cards for purchases, gifts, etc. Some pre-paid cards can be ‘loaded’ onto reloadable credit-like cards, such as Bluebird, which is an American Express Company invention, which has an associated checkbook.

    For example: My kids go to college, and I need to constantly writed checks for them….for tuition, for rent, etc. I now get airline miles for those checks, whereas in the past, I only accrued airline miles when I was able to use my credit cards associated with an airline plan.

    There are many who buy the gift cards with credit cards, and immediately cash them (the newly purchased gift cards) out or use them to obtain money orders, and then buy more giftcards……and obtaining more airline miles by purchasing with the credit cards.

    Of course, there are fees and details……

    But in the end, it is very, very, very much worthwhile.

    But as the line goes in “The Music Man”……..”You gotta know the territory.”

    You have to read and learn the details.

    This is all legal and ethical…..it’s the modern day green stamps of the 1960’s….except we aren;t settling for grandma’s new toaster or blender.

    Good Luck!

    odavis

    Reply
  10. BG

    The Simon GC seems like a good deal if you can buy them at the mall and avoid the $4 shipping fee. It looks like the only ones available near me at the malls however are the AMEX version, not the Visas. Can you load a Bluebird account with the AMEX Simon GC?

    Reply
  11. BG

    As I feared. Thanks Grant. With the demise of Amazon Payments I am scrambling to find an alternative for minimum spends and point accrual. When I saw the Amazon notice it sent a chill down my spine.

    Reply
  12. LWT

    Probably a dumb question, but where in the mall do you go to buy the Simon mall gift cards? I have a mall near me, but I don’t know where to request the cards.

    Reply
      1. Daniel

        Jerry, In one of your earlier posts you mentioned that you can buy Money Orders with us bank GC at Krogers is that still the case? I have been buying my US bank GC at Krogers for a while but then going to WM to load to serve card. It would be nice if I could just buy the card at the register, change the pin, then go to customer service and buy MOs. Also I have had some trouble loading my serve at WM recently. Thanks

        Reply
        1. Grant

          The best thing to do is just trial and error. Bring a few different gift cards to Walmart or wherever you buy money orders and try them all out. See which gift cards work and which gift cards don’t. Then figure out a way to liquidate the gift cards that do not work and keep buying and using the gifts cards that do work. Maybe Jerry can add some more info.

          Reply
          1. Shan

            Grant, this is what happened to me last week. I tried using One vanilla card and also tried out simon mall gift card. Both of them are not working at warlmart…. i am stuck here.. let me know your thoughts to unload the gift card pleease

        2. Jerry Mandel

          Daniel-Kroger will no longer let me buy money orders with my mall gift cards with a PIN. I haven’t yet tried it with gift cards bought right at Kroger. Ask a Kroger manager first. Note: You can pay off Citi cards balance or advance by phone using gift cards. No PIN needed. I have 7 monthly autopay bills on my Citi card and get minimum spending back from no monthly payments for a while. I don’t know if Chase, Barclay, AMEX, etc. cards will let you do that.

          Reply
          1. Jerry Mandel

            Daniel-Last time, Walmart, Kroger, and CVS turned down my mall cards for money orders. WM seems to change from week to week.

          2. Jerry Mandel

            Now, Kroger won’t let you buy money orders with loaded VISA and Master Card debit cards even if you buy the cards from them.

  13. Steven

    Have anyone had a problem purchasing money order at USPS using Simon visa gift card? It works at Wally but not at USPS for me.

    Reply
  14. Ram

    Grant,
    I’ve had no luck loading BB with OV. Do metabank cards load BB? If yes I’m thinking to going that route. Thanks

    Reply
  15. Hoang

    Walmart is a mystery place !!!

    For the Walmart near my home,I can load VGC issued by Meta bank and US bank with Kate no problem except Kate is sick more half of the time. The Cashiers were good to me but I don’t want they see me many times.

    For the Walmart near my work, Kate is very healthy but does not not work with VGC and put me in the loop even after I cancel. Went to cashier it did not work either.

    I have another option is buying MO at a grocery cheaper than Walmart and people super friendly and my bank just cross parking lot for 45 cents fees !!!

    Reply
  16. BG

    I tried to buy a One Vanilla with my Citibank card yesterday at CVS. I felt like I was treated like a criminal or something! They asked me for my driver licence and had to swipe it like the cops do when they pull you over. They also record your last 4 numbers of your credit card. Then after all of that the computer said “alternate payment required”. I saw on another blog site that CVS won’t take CC for One Vanilla GCs anymore. Guess they cracked down already.

    Reply
    1. Jonathan W.

      I’ve honestly just reached the point where I avoid store employees altogether. I order all my GCs online via GCM and upload via Kate at WM. It takes a bit more planning, but I get tired of dealing with store employees.

      Reply
    2. Grant

      Yes, CVS has a new policy where they require scanning/swiping your drivers license before you make a large purchase. My local CVS where I often go told me that the system won’t allow them to go any further without scanning the drivers license. As for your credit card being declined, I would guess that it is due to Citi. They often block large purchases from pharmacies or grocery stores. If you call them right after the purchase is declined, they will unblock the card and allow you to make the purchase. As far as I know, you should still be able to buy OVGCs with a credit card.

      Reply
  17. BG

    Amex gift cards are supposed to issue you a check if you call the 800 number and ask for one. Has anyone tried that route? If so is there any extra fees for that?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I’ve never tried to ask for a check, but it sounds like it would be a one time exception since they probably don’t like issuing checks to customers.

      Reply
  18. BG

    I tried to use my Chase SP card also and got the same message of alternate payment required. Maybe its just the CVS I went to that has issues.

    Reply
  19. BG

    On the GCM issue, I put $5000 worth of Metabank Visa GC in my cart and the fees come out to about 1.4% or $69.30 exactly. 50,000 miles on Citibank AA would be a round trip to Europe in the off season so I guess it’s still worth it for $693. I wish they did not have that added $2 “security handling” fee for cards over $250 though. I think that is just a shipping charge in disguise.

    Reply
  20. Roman

    I just bought a One Vanilla at my local CVS with a CC. How do I unload it to my Serve card? Can’t seem to find an answer

    Reply
      1. bmau09

        I personally don’t want anyone to try to use an OV to load Serve. If you try multiple times and it fails, then it would annoy the cashier, and cause the Walmart store to possibly be more hesitant to let people use Visa gift cards that still work. It would be better to liquidate the OV by buying a money order elsewhere. Serve seems to be more useful for Visa gift cards other than Vanilla. I hope people like Roman do their part to help keep these deals alive.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          That’s good advice. There are lots of gift cards out there that still work, so stay away from OVGCs if you goal is to load your Serve Card.

          Reply
  21. joseph.a.costigan@gmail.com

    The GCM MBs can be loaded onto BB, is that correct? My understanding is BB has a 5k limit per month though?

    Any ideas on the best CC to use for GCM? Or just point preference?

    Reply
    1. Jonathan W.

      Jerry – I guess Bluebird and Serve are the way to go now that MO’s are harder to come by, huh? ( I currently do $24,000 a month across 4 BB accounts by ordering via GCM and uploading via Kate – never having to interact with a single salesperson. Easy peesy).

      Reply
          1. Hoang

            How much does it cost you per $500 GC? By the way, the Christmas is coming, you can order Costco Cash Card (GC) for your relatives and your friend using credit if you are memeber. Your relatives or your friends can use Costco cash card to get in Costco without being member .

  22. Jerry Mandel

    Buying through portals for a few extra miles/points. I can buy everything much cheaper locally and savings are worth more than the few miles/points.

    Reply
    1. Hoang

      Jerry,

      I believe it depends what you need. For example if I use Carlson Visa card and spend 8K on GC, it would cost me $48 but I will get 40K points which is enough for 2 night stay at Radisson hotel. Actually I just stayed 2 nights at Silicon Valley on weekday and each night cost more than $200. I don;t think you can save that much. If I use it for 2 night in Paris, I would save much more.

      Reply
  23. Adam

    Anyone ever run into a “This order cannot be placed. message: We’re sorry, but our system identified some irregularities with the information in your order. For security purposes this transaction has been canceled.”

    I got this from giftcards.com and I have used their site many times before… I even get this message when I am not logged into my profile and I try to make a purchase. It seems like I and my wife have been flagged by this site. I called and they are absolutely no help, they even say it. They have to enter a ticket for someone higher to look at it and call me in what is now going on 5 days…

    I am 100% positive that my CCs have the same billing address as the information I am entering, I have no idea where the “irregularities” could be coming from.

    Any feedback would be nice, thanks!

    Reply
    1. Brad

      I Would call your bank and just have them make sure they’re not canceling it. It’s happened to me before on GCM even after placing orders on the site

      Reply
      1. Adam

        I sent a message to them to ask about it and they took over a month to get back to me… they gave me some bogus answer and then asked me for more information. I told them I will not be using them anymore because they took over a month to get back to me. And don’t even think about calling… they are helpless on the phone. I have switched to giftcardmall for all my online gc buys. It is a shame too, because giftcards.com is way cheaper and faster for $500 visa gcs. Good luck.

        Reply
  24. Adam

    I did that and my bank has no record of anything, nothing is pending or canceled. The transaction is being blocked by giftcards.com before being made.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      That policy might be on an individual store basis. Each store makes its own rules regarding which gift cards can be bought with credit cards. It doesn’t make any sense, but that is what’s going on.

      Reply

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