PSA: Don’t Buy US Bank Visa Gift Cards from Ralphs / Kroger (GC Numbers Compromised)

Good morning everyone, a few days ago, I was at a local Ralphs (Kroger) grocery store in Huntington Beach, CA and bought a $500 Visa Gift Card (issued by US Bank).  I have bought many Visa gift cards before (including the specific gift card design below) and have not had any problems.  Well, my streak has finally come to an end and it was a big pain in the butt to fix.

Shortly after purchasing the gift card (like 5 minutes later), I took the gift card out of the packaging and called the number on the back of the gift card to set the PIN.  After entering the 16 digit gift card number and the 3 digit security code, the voice on the phone said I was being transferred to a customer service rep.  I hung up and entered the numbers again, thinking that I had miss-typed the numbers.  Again, I was transferred to a customer service rep.

The rep was very friendly and he informed me that my gift card number had been compromised.  He stated that there were attempts to use the gift card (online I presume) before the gift card was activated.  Uh oh, that does not sound good.  He gave me a series of steps to follow to send in the appropriate documentation to US Bank:

US Bank Fax Number: 414-341-7600

Send fax to “Attn: Stolen Replacement Card Request”

Send the following items to the above fax number:

Store gift card receipt along with the front and back of the gift card

Cardholder’s name, mailing address, cell phone number, and email address

16 digit gift card number

Optional items to fax: a different gift card mailing address and the front and back of the gift card packaging

To receive a status update, call the number on the back of the gift card (866-952-5653)

After US Bank receives the documentation, they will investigate the issue and send you a new Visa Gift Card to your mailing address.  That sounds like such a headache but that was the only way to resolve the issue… or so I thought.

Since I was having breakfast close to Ralphs, I went back in the store and spoke with the store manager.  After a few minutes of speaking with the store manager, he immediately knew what to do.  He made a call to Kroger Corporate and sent a fax of my gift card, packaging, and store receipt to the rep on the phone.  At this point, I have been waiting about 20 minutes and my mom is waiting in the car, texting me.  It is Mother’s Day and she would rather be home than waiting in a Ralphs parking lot.

After speaking to the Kroger agent, the store manager called Visa Corporate to file a claim.  He shared with me a similar story where someone bought 3 $500 Visa Gift Cards on Christmas Eve and he was on the phone for an hour and a half to fix the issue.

At this point, the store manager went to grab a few new Visa Gift Cards and see if he could transfer the balance of the compromised gift card to a new Visa Gift Card.  The first Visa Gift Card was compromised as well.  And so were the next 3 Visa Gift Cards.  At this point, the assistant store manager grabbed all the variable load Visa Gift Cards off the gift card rack and put them in a drawer behind the counter.  I could tell the store manager was getting frustrated and I offered up another suggestion.

Could we try transferring the balance from a US Bank Visa Gift Card to a US Bank MasterCard Gift Card?  It sounded plausible (thanks MythBusters) so we gave it a try.  I’m not sure who was on the phone at this point, but after a few minutes, the store manager said that the gift card balance was transferred over to the MasterCard Gift Card.  Before leaving the customer service counter, I checked online and the $500 transfer posted properly.  Success!  Finally!

US Bank Visa MC Gift Cards

While I was standing at the customer service desk, the store manager and I chatted about gift card fraud.  He said that the criminals were running random number generators to discover working combinations of gift card numbers.  If that were the case, then the criminals could theoretically hack any US Bank Visa Gift Card from any store anywhere in the country.  With that said, I will personally never buy another US Bank Visa Gift Card.  The amount of hassle that is required to fix compromised gift cards is just too much.  I will stick with Vanilla Visa Gift Cards and Bancorp Gift Cards from office supply stores and pharmacies for now.  I thanked the store manager and wished him a pleasant Mother’s Day.

I highly recommend reading this post about gift card packaging: Gift Card Warning: Check Packaging for Signs of Tampering.  Always double and triple check every gift card you purchase for signs of tampering.  It takes maybe 5-10 seconds and if anything looks out of place, it is better to be safe and find a gift card that looks un-tampered.  I also shared my thoughts on why I do not like to MS when I travel: Poll: Do you Manufacture Spend when you Travel?  To summarize, here are my gift card buying recommendations:

  • Always check the gift card packaging before purchasing any gift card.
  • Always check the balance on your gift card as soon as you purchase any gift card.
  • Always try to liquidate your gift cards as soon as possible.
  • Always save your receipt and gift card packaging until the gift card is liquidated.
  • If problems arise, immediately go back to the store where you purchased the gift card.
  • Follow up with all gift card issues.  You might be out $500-$5,000 for 1-3 months if you do not follow up with the merchant often.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

139 thoughts on “PSA: Don’t Buy US Bank Visa Gift Cards from Ralphs / Kroger (GC Numbers Compromised)

  1. Carlos

    I had 2 gift cards compromised last December, each were for $500, I got 1 card replaced in March and I am still waiting for the other, I have done more than $20k per month for last 12 months with no other issue

    Reply
  2. Sam

    I accidentally bought Amex GCs instead of Visa from the mall. All for 2.5k. What to do? I still have the receipt.

    Reply
  3. choi

    its not just us bank, metabank cards from vons are in the same boat, i got hit 3 months ago from vons

    Reply
  4. Alfred

    All Vanilla Visa Gift Cards and Bancorp Gift Cards use same 16 digit number combination and this situation can happen irrespective of the bank provider.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I wonder if there is a difference in how the criminals can check for working gift card numbers. Don’t Vanilla Visa and Bancorp have some way to block criminals from repeatedly checking to see if the gift cards are valid? Are there any gift cards that are safe to buy anymore?

      Reply
      1. rick b

        If they use random checking, in theory in credit / debit card is vulnerable. Most GCs from the same company have the same first 6-8 digits and last digit is always checksum, so really there could only be 2^7 combinations. The 3-digit security code is supposed to make this exponentially harder, but if USBank only requires the CC # to check the status, they can blaze through them, find out which ones are activated, and then stamp out fake cards and use them in stores where the security code isn’t required.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          You are definitely right. I wonder how the banks are able to protect credit and debit cards from being hacked. It’s a scary world out there.

          Reply
          1. rick b

            They probably sweep through 1k or 10k #s per day. It’s possible they found a way to check them via some weak 3rd party payment method that doesn’t require the 3-digit code.

            We’re probably less vulnerable since we usually clean them out swiftly in one fell swoop, and they’re not going to check the same # every day. It’s the consumers who actually keep a balance that get screwed.

  5. Carl

    I bought around 10k (over a week) of us bank mastercard gift cards at a grocery store in the midwest not affiliated with krogers. On calling to set the pin one was compromised. I purchased it early may (or late april) and the number had been tried early april. I faxed the info in and just last night received my replacement gift card. This has nothing on the front besides the number AND my name!!! No mention of gift card. Interesting.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I am glad you got your replacement gift card. How long from initially faxing in the info to receiving your replacement gift card?

      Reply
      1. Carl

        I believe it was only 7 *!* business days. I had been told it would be 10 before review was complete and then sent out after that. I personalized my fax a bit with complaints of having my 500 tied up that long and asked them to expedite the process.

        Reply
  6. Tyler

    I had a similar situation. Purchased 2k of this exact same card from Safeway in the beginning of April. Waited to drain them, a week after purchase a ~$475 charge was made somewhere in California at a walmart (MO perhaps, ha!). I attempted to drain at Walmart and it wouldn’t go through, I thought it was because it was a different card type (don’t usually buy this variety), but it was due to insufficient funds. Went online and sure enough, it had been fraud. Moral of the story, drain as quickly as possible. The packaging had not been compromised in any way. I’ve since faxed in my info and get to wait for this to be sorted out. I’m actually quite surprised this hasn’t happened to me sooner.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I can also agree that the gift card packaging looked fine to me, so it seems like the criminals have gotten more advanced than just tampering with the GC packaging.

      Reply
  7. Rick

    On vacation, I bought 6 VGC from 2 different Ralph’s and all of them were compromised. It’s been 5 months, & I’m still waiting for full reimbursement. (They replace the unused portion of the GC within 3 months, but fraudulent charge disputes on the cards take longer since they’re required to give the merchant something like 45 days to respond before they can take more time to investigate/replace that portion.) Meanwhile, I’ve sent copies of the front/back of the GC, receipts, & notarized claim forms. (They also ask for a police report, but the police say the store is the victim, not me, and won’t do a report.) I’ve learned my lesson: NEVER buy a GC at Ralphs. Also, Walmart VGC are also problematic. They’re issued through Greendot (who’s treating me like a criminal), and replacement also takes a minimum of 3 months. I checked the packages before I purchased, but there were no signs of tampering the outside of the package. I’m currently disputing 7 cards that had parts of the GC# scratched off when I opened the packages. Find your GC elsewhere.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Wow, that sounds terrible. I’m sorry you are having such a difficult and lengthy process to get new GCs issued. I have heard other terrible stories about Walmart Greendot GCs so I will never purchase those either. Keep me posted on your GC claims.

      Reply
  8. PainCorp

    If they were using a random number generator, wouldn’t any credit card or debit card anywhere be compromised? Let’s think before we post, granted you’re a blogger, so you just look to push credit cards and ruin MS.

    Reply
  9. Hoang

    Grants,

    In this case the Visa GC issued by Metabank should be the worst one since the last 4 digit numbers is the pin numbers. So far I may just lucky with Visa GC purchased at regional food stoes

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I don’t think the PIN has anything to do with it since most of the time the fraud charges are done online as a credit card.

      Reply
  10. Winston

    You are lucky buddy. I bought 3X$500 gift cards in Ralph’s in Laguna Niguel in March. but when I checked my balance in April, It had less than $20 in each card. I fax my dispute form but operator said there was no time frame for investigation. Probably I would lost $1500.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      That’s terrible. You can file a dispute with your credit card company and see if that is possible. It sucks to be out $1500. Good luck with the claim process.

      Reply
      1. Winston

        Yeah. I talked to banker but he said since the transaction in Ralph’s went thru and it is legit, Chase could not do anything about it.

        Do you know which gift card is safer and would be able to load to Redbird? Do office depot and staples sell same gift card issued by US bank? Thanks

        Reply
        1. Grant

          I think the Vanilla Visa GCs are safer, but there are no 100% safe GCs. I believe Staples and OD sell Metabank GCs, but I’m not 100% sure.

          Reply
          1. Winston

            I see. Thanks for your advice. Can I load redbird with Vanilla GCs? I tried to purchase Vanilla Visa GCs with Credit card in Orange County, but no stores was allowed. Where do you buy VGCs with CC? Thanks

          2. Winston

            Have you ever tried to load redcard with VGCs after May 6th? I think cashier always want me to hand over the card and see the last four number, right? what if they see it is a gift card? Too late to change my name to Gift Recipient.

          3. Grant

            I loaded 4 VGCs yesterday. I have a very friendly cashier who doesn’t ask to see the card. Normally when you enter a PIN, they don’t ask to see the card.

          4. Hoang

            Before we loaded with credit card so they require to see last 4 digit numbers just like some stores when you pay buy credit card. TheGC/Debit card is needed the pin numbers that’s why you are the one who will enter it.

            On the side track, I went to Walmart today and they have credit card to read the embedded chip. I tried to swipe but the cashier told me to insert the card with the chip side go first.

        2. chrisflyer

          If your claim is denied by the card issuer, I would definitely file a claim with the CFPB. It worked great for me!

          Reply
  11. Chris

    When the funds on my US Bank Gift cards from Ralphs in San Diego were drained before I could use them, US Bank refused to play nice and advised me to contact local law enforcement to deal with the problem. I filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/) and suddenly US Bank decided to send me new gift cards with my funds restored.

    If I buy a gift card now, I open the packaging before I pay to look for signs of tampering. So far no cashier has gotten mad at me for doing that.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Do you open the GC packaging in the checkout lane? As long as you don’t rip the barcode, you should be fine. It seems like Ralphs in SoCal have problems with VGCs.

      Reply
      1. Chris

        Yep, I open the card while I’m in the checkout line. For the gift cards I buy at Ralph’s, the barcode is on the plastic card, not on the package. Normally, the cashier removes the tab on the back packaging to scan them. But if you already removed the tab (or even more of the packaging) that hasn’t been a problem for me.

        Reply
          1. chris

            I haven’t found any tampered cards since I started opening them. But before I did this, I did have two cards that had weird glue on them. Those cards were tampered and the funds were drained before I used the card. Had I opened the packaging before buying I could have noticed the weird glue. I’ve seen other reports on flyertalk of the weird glue being on some of the tampered cards.

          2. Grant

            I’ve personally never seen any tampered cards, just a few suspicious looking packaging. I didn’t want to take a chance on those.

  12. Bill

    This thread is obviously making me a little hesitant to continue buying these GCs from my local Kroger. But, if they are getting numbers through a generator, what is the point of checking for physical tampering? Just due diligence?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Checking for tampering is the first line of defense, but there is really no way to protect yourself from a number generator. It might make sense to buy different GCs from different merchants, thereby reducing your risk. I’m thinking of buying VGCs on GCM to avoid GC problems.

      Reply
  13. star

    Sorry to hear you had such a crazy experience (especially for your mother!). :( Hope it gets resolved soon!! I’m always paranoid about VGCs being tampered with too. Interesting how it’s usually at grocery stores? People don’t tamper with office supply store VGCs as much?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      You would think the same tampering would happen at office supply stores as much as grocery stores, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I was lucky that my experience only took about an hour to resolve, rather than days/weeks/months.

      Reply
  14. Ed

    Bloggers frequently get criticized for self promotion. Your post today completely disproves those assertions. You have done a tremendous public service. I checked all of my VISA, MC and AMEX gift card purchases. All were fine, and I owe my sense of relief to you. Personally, I am now done using these for MS purposes. It just isn’t worth the headache. And those that continue to use this method clearly do so at their own peril.

    Reply
    1. Hoang

      Hi Ed,

      I agree with you 100%. In addition, when we had a good time such as Redcard loaded with credit card or Vanilla load with BB everyone happy and then when we have issues out of our control like fraud, people starts using “blaming games”. I wish I know Grant earlier.

      Reply
    2. Grant

      Thank you Ed, I always hear negative comments from the “vocal minority” but I’ve learned to take them with a grain of salt. Everything I write about is stuff that I would want to read.

      Reply
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  16. xfortunex

    Um, why are you calling to set the pin? The pin is in the package, under a paper flap behind the card (at least they have been where I am for the last year plus). I have done several hundred thousand worth of these and yet to have a negative experience with the cards -store managers/csr’s are another story ;)

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I like to change the pin on the GCs instead of using the preassigned pin on the inside of the packaging. You have been quite lucky to not run into any GC issues.

      Reply
      1. alex

        I learned the tip from grant’s blog like a year ago to change the pin to one of my own so I know what the pin is for sure when I unload at bluebird. otherwise you have to remember what is written on the card box for each individual card (i dont have that good of memory!)

        Reply
    2. Carl

      Actually, there are many packages that do not have the pin in them. I have bought the US Bank MasterCard ones that have been in them. But, my current location that I get them at, all of them have no pins present and I have to call and set all of them

      Reply
    1. Grant

      Good question. I thought the same thing. Apparently the activation system and the fraud monitoring systems do not communicate with each other. Too bad for the consumers.

      Reply
  17. alex

    Grant, I had sent you that picture from the original “tampering” post …. it took me maybe about 6 weeks to get the card replaced. I agree that it was a hassle. Also, I feel like office supply stores DEFINITELY do not have the same issue. seems to keep happening at grocery stores (maybe b/c theyre busier on the whole?)

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Thank you for the original pic :)

      Since you can load $500 to VGCs at grocery stores, but only $200 to VGCs at office supply stores, the criminals go where the big money is.

      Reply
      1. BV

        I had 14 U.S. Bank $200 Master Cards compromised this month. They all had random charges (Amazon, Fandango, Lids.com). Seems like they’ve been hitting the $200’s as well.

        Reply
  18. Paul

    Nothing new at all with your story. My fraud happened on 3 US Bank MCs from Safeway in mid February. One card was locked already (like your Visa) and the other two had charges on them within hours in physical stores in Compton and online at Orbitz. They issued me replacement cards for all 3 that took about 3 weeks. But since there had been fraudulent charges on several cards, they had to go thru the dispute process with the merchants – Orbitz immediately agreed to refund me, but the other store (Micheals) disputed it at first, but eventually gave up. Just got my money a week ago for the last $200 – about 3 months after I started the dispute process.

    FWIW, you can predict the card number on US Bank MC vgcs without ever opening the package. The security on MCs are WORSE than Visas…

    Also, recently I grabbed a Visa vgc from SW and someone had demagnitized the card and removed the 3 digit pin – I presume to lengthen the time the potential victim couldn’t use the card after it had been activated and allow the fraudster more time to unload (presumably they had cloned the card and knew the 3 digit pin). The pin had been removed carefully, with what I presume was a Dremel tool. But you could feel the roughness where the pin had been ground off.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Wow, thank you for sharing. You’ve had some bad luck with gift cards. I’ve never actually seen or purchased a tampered GC. These criminals are out of control.

      Reply
      1. Hoang

        Why don’t you buy the GC from the Simon Mall? I think it may be safer since they bundle them together it is very hard to scan.

        Reply
  19. Yeshu

    Grant, how is this possible? I am still trying to understand. Since all prepaid products need to be activated the register, these criminals are generating these numbers, but they are not activated yet. I am sure they have some system which tells them when a particular “card”/”set of numbers” gets activated (aka gets loaded with money) and they immediately drain it. I still don’t know they can drain it so quickly.

    Is my analysis correct?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      I think there are systems that continually try to find valid number combinations then a different system that continually tries to make a charge to the card. I’m not 100% sure how it works.

      Reply
  20. michelle

    Oh my! I’m tired of the hassle of buying gift cards at the grocery store but it was good to know it was available. Thank you so much for this post!

    Reply
  21. KP

    I had a problem with Mastercard of US Bank bought from Kroger. But my experience with their CSRs was great. I had to fax exactly the way you mentioned here and in 7 days I got personalized gift cards. Even my call with CSR lasted less than 10 min only. Not a bad experience I guess.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      The call to the CSR was very easy, I agree. I wonder how many calls they get per day for gift card fraud. Glad you got your replacement gift card in only a week.

      Reply
  22. Jack

    I had same issue with Kroger purchased VGC and I faxed them everything. They said it will take them 60 days to resolve issue . I am still waiting for 20 days now.

    Really frustated.

    Reply
  23. Charles

    Hey Grant, I just purchased my first VGC ($500) from Kroger, issued by US Bank. I called the number on the back of the card and set my pin #. When I tried to load it onto Serve via a debit load thru a customer service rep at Walmart, their register gave me an error. A few weeks ago I succesfully loaded a VGC issued by Metabank at this same Walmart. Do you know why the US Bank debit card did not go through? I tried loading $500 and also $200 but both times it failed.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Hi Charles, confirm that there is $500 loaded to your VGC. Then see if you can set the pin over the phone for your VGC. Assuming you haven’t maxed out the $5,000 monthly reload limit, there should not be any problems loading the VGC to your Serve Card.

      Reply
      1. Charles

        Thanks for the reply Grant
        I confirmed that $500 is on the card and set a new pin by calling the 800# after the card would not load the first time. I’m glad to hear that this isn’t a Walmart or USbank problem(I hope not). Will try at another Walmart location and see how it goes. Thanks man.

        Reply
  24. Hubert

    This card is worst ever. I will personally never buy another US Bank Visa/Mastercard Gift Card.I got this gift card as prize from my university. After that while using Gift Card, It was blocked. To recover, They are asking for receipt. How can I bring receipt? That was given as prize and I cannot provide them receipt. Don’t but this card Never Ever in your life,

    Reply
  25. Kim

    I just had the same thing happen to me this weekend. I had a US bank Visa card in the amount of $150 purchased from a local Kroger store. (same purple/silver packaging) When I tried to use it for the first time, someone had already drained the card. I am in the process of disputing the charge so hopefully I can get a replacement card.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      Good luck Kim, I think all the Purple/Silver VGCs issued by US Bank are compromised. I will never buy another one from a grocery store.

      Reply
  26. Michael

    BEWARE of INACTIVITY FEES ON THESE GIFT CARDS. I strongly discourage anybody from purchasing these Debit Gift Cards. They seem so convenient, you can pick one up at the check-out stand, they seem good for Graduation or Birthday gifts. If they put it in their desk (or in my case I left it in my travel bag) and do not use the card, one year from the purchase date they deduct $2 every 30 days. For example, someone purchased a $25 Card Dec. 20 for your Xmas gift, you left it in the drawer 1 year later on Dec. 20, Jan. 20, Feb. 20, etc $2 deducted. On April 21 (16 months after purchase) you find the card, take it to the store, it is only worth $15, because US bank deducted $10. When you call them, will not do anything for you. When you call them a 2nd time, they will waive only $2 back onto the card. There is no one else you can call and they are strict about their penalty fees, which are not printed clearly on the package, but in very tiny microscopic print on back of the card that’s inside the package.

    CONSIDER giving cash, a check, savings bond instead.

    Reply
  27. lifeinforeignland

    Thank you for this post. I should have read this post before buying a Visa Gift Card from Ralphs in San Clemente as a HS graduation present to my Godchild. She just tried to use it today and didn’t work out. She checked the balance on line and it is showing a zero balance with somebody’s name (Robin Smith) on the account. We also noticed that the card# in the Activation Status Receipt has different last 2 digits compared to the actual card that was given to me when I purchased it. I’m wondering it the cashier switched the card or the barcode in the card is different from the face of the card? How did you guys get your money back?

    Reply
    1. Grant

      It’s a pain in the butt to get a new gift card. You have to call the number on the back of the gift card and speak with a customer service rep. The rep will give you instructions for faxing documents to them so they can process a replacement. Good luck with the process and I am sorry your gift did not go as intended.

      Reply
  28. Benjamin A. Brin

    My story starts the same…. Hacked Visa Giftcard from Ralphs, but unfortunately does not end the same. It has been over a month and no one is truly taking responsibility or action. For example, it took about 15 calls over a month just to get them to send me a claim form. No one ever gives their name, ID#, or physical address. No one has ever even once done what they said they were going to do. It literally took me an hour on the phone yesterday just to get them to admit that they had received the claim form that I faxed in. I have an attorney and we are preparing a class action case. If you have a similar story, let us know. Go to TheClassActionNews.com.

    Reply
    1. Hoang

      Why can’t we call our credit card company to dispute the transaction since it is a defect product we don’t have to pay for?

      Reply
    2. Grant

      I’m sorry to hear about your VGC struggles. It seems like the GC companies are not in any hurry to get your money back to you. Keep me posted on how the class action lawsuit goes.

      Reply
  29. JA

    I bought 4x $500 US Bank MasterCards. Set the PINs & NONE will work either at the grocery store for a money order or at WM to load BB. Any suggestions? I have reset the PINs a few times and still no luck. The automated system states the cards have the proper $500 balance. Thanks.

    Reply
  30. JA

    I just went back to the grocery store this morning to purchase a money order & again it does not work. Cards still showing $500 balances. I showed the receipt to the cashier and asked for a refund but she said since I left the store, I cannot get a refund. Now I reset the PIN yet again, this time, with a landline phone. The CSR who works on behalf of US Bank told me simply to use the card as credit. Um. no thanks.

    Reply
    1. Burned

      Yes, I’ve had the same problem with some of Ralph’s GC — specifically with the replacement cards they (eventually) issue when the originals have been compromised. I, too, will never buy GC from any Ralph’s again. (On a separate note, getting a refund for compromised GC from WM/GreenDot is even more of a pain than Ralph’s/US Bank Card Services.) However, you can use the Ralph’s GC (which act like cc) by making micro loans via kiva.org.

      Reply
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      1. jeremy

        Assuming I get a US Bank VGC from Ralphs and it’s fine, will there be any issues going to Walmart Money Center and getting an MO with it? I’ve heard mixed results on this – some people say they’re able to buy MOs with the US Bank branded VGCs while others say they weren’t able to.

        Reply
          1. Grant

            I don’t know, I haven’t used a Kate in at least a year, so I’m not sure if they work with most VGCs or MCGCs.

  32. fred hall

    Got my $250.00 Visa gift card from a Kroger”s in Toledo Ohio. I used half of it and a week later the other half was hacked. Called the number on the back three different times and get three different brain dead girls who were hard to understand each time. Each one told me something different. They wanted me to write a book and fax them all this information. The scammers at US Bank were no better. I will file a complaint like Chris did and see what happens.

    Reply
  33. Gianne Taylor

    Never use the U.S Bank Visa Gift cards. After 2 small purchases on a 50.00 dollar gift card it stopped working. The customer call service center was rude and unprofessional. I talked to 3 so called supervisors and was transferred around to many times to count each time I gave my card number to a new call center employee I could hear laughing and snickering in the background. I was hung up on twice transferred to deadend calls and told wrong information each time. So they say they are going to send me a new card in 7 to 10 business days haha. I asked for the corporate phone number and was told they don’t have one but they gave me a PO box address to send my complaints to. When I asked Where the call service center was located at they couldn’t tell me for security reasons. So even if you do complain no one has to take responsibility. DON’T BUY THESE CARDS. THEY LOCK YOU OUT FOR NO REASON.

    Reply
  34. Chris

    I just had the same issue with two of these USBank prepaid Visa cards (one of them with the exact “gift wrap” packaging you have pictured). Each was for $500. They were Christmas gifts for my mom and brother. When they received them, they each had about $4 available. Turns out the first one was compromised the VERY DAY I PURCHASED IT with a charge of $496 at a Walmart, the other was compromised over the course of a few days with charges to Family Dollar and McDonalds. Neither of the cards left my possession until they were express mailed to my family. Upon opening them and trying to use them, my family members discovered they were worthless. (Nice Christmas gift, 4 days before Christmas!) I spent 3 hours at the Studio City Ralphs (where they were purchased) only to be asked, repeatedly, to engage with idiotic (and barely literate) reps at USBank. They refused to give me information on one of the 2 cards, saying that I was not the “cardholder.” (Because when my sister-in-law called to get information on the card, the rep asked her her name. She told the rep, and the rep “registered” the card to her, thus giving USBank a convenient excuse to not have to speak to me, the original purchaser.) I have spent HOURS trying to resolve this. Supposedly someone at Kroger Corporate (Ralphs parent company) is going to issue me a refund–we’ll see if that happens. USBank’s practices are despicable. They are deliberately obfuscating any attempts by their customers to recover their lost funds, and they have deliberately created an obscure and counter-intuitive system for customers to follow, involving such archaic requests as having something FAXED. (Because we all still have fax machines in 2016. Ridiculous. And another obvious inconvenient exercise to dissuade customers from following through.) My opinion? There should be a class action suit against US Bank, there should be a federal investigation into their fraud practices, and Kroger should remove every single piece of USBank-branded plastic from every shelf in every one of their thousands of supermarkets across the country. If this was tainted meat, or salmonella-tainted sprouts, or listeria-tainted cheese, there would be an outcry and a national recall. Instead, they are putting their customers at risk of theft and other complications of financial loss by letting a bank sell easily-compromised plastic that they don’t stand behind in any meaningful or timely manner. It’s inexcusable. The fact that I have googled this issue and come across this website — WITH THE SAME CREDIT CARD COMPANY AND SUPERMARKET CHAIN — is rather obvious proof that these are not isolated incidents.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Chris, I am very sorry that you are going through this. The timing is terrible due to Christmas and it requires a lot of follow up and persistence to get the refund. You may need to use the CFPB to speed things along. I agree that these gift cards should be removed from Ralph’s until they can protect the gift cards from fraud. Please keep me posted regarding the refund process. Good luck!

      Reply
    2. Martin

      Very similar experience with a VCG purchased at Ralph’s. Two separate transactions, one second apart listed on their website at apparently two different McDonald’s depleted the funds. I agree that these retailers need to pull these from their stores. I am writing a letter with my experience to U.S. Bank corporate and Ralph’s corporate and also tagging them in social media. They cannot be unaware of these issues with as many complaints have been reported on this page.

      Reply
      1. Grant Post author

        Hi Martin, I hope you can get your funds back. I think it is a long shot to get Ralphs and US Bank to do anything, but I hope I am wrong.

        Reply
  35. Judi

    Oh the hassle of gift cards! I have a older (?) style Visa gift card with the purple package on the front. The card expires 06/24. Unfortunately, there is no dollar amount on the front. I called c.s. because the automated service wouldn’t work. Because I don’t know what the original amount of the card was, let alone where/when it was purchased or by whom, I was refused any further information. It’s my card. I moved and came across it with my other papers.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Oh Judi, that sounds like a nightmare. Are you sure there are no funds on the card? If there were, I would tell you to try to use the card and the merchant should be able to drain the balance down to $0.

      Reply
  36. Randy

    I didn’t read the string of comments – but here we are on April 21, 2017 and this chit is still happening. Does anyone know of a class action suit being filed?

    Reply
  37. Anne

    Looks like it is nonstop. I received a GC for $100, I tried to use it yesterday but it didn’t go through. Called customer services to find out, and now they asked me to do the same process like you said. Grrrrr!

    Reply
  38. 02nz

    Ugh, wish I had seen this earlier. Purchased a $100 gift card at Ralphs in SoCal, and two weeks later the money was drained. I only found out when I tried to register the card on their site. U.S. Bank has the greatest process for this – you have to fax all the documentation in. What is this, 1997? The rep’s explanation was priceless – “We insist on fax because email is insecure.” Well, maybe not perfectly secure, but email is hell of a lot more secure than your bank’s gift cards, apparently! Hopefully my $100 will be replaced, if not I’m definitely going to dispute the charge with my credit card issuer.

    Reply
  39. Ben Dover

    That’s fine, but it looks to me that you might make some money on this, since you have sponsors on your page!
    Ima little suspicious, since you only single our US bank, when this actually happens with EVERY bank! I feel that US
    bank is the least known to the hackers!! Maybe you right, but I’m also a little suspicious about your hidden
    agenda!! If I’m wrong, sorry!!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I do make money from advertising sponsors. I only reported on US Bank GCs because I had first hand experience with that type of gift card. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  40. Cristina

    I reveived US Bank debit gift card and couldn’t usr it even thougb i had a receiot that it was paid for. This happened on more than one occasion and I kniw I will never buy one of these gift cards for someone. I feel sorry for all the consumers who were bilked out of their money by these scams. My advice – never purchase “prepaid” cards….whether giving as a gift or just wanting a prepaid card.

    Reply

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