Fees Waived For Limited Time on Chase Prepaid Visa Debit Cards – Good Way To Pay Taxes

by on April 10, 2013 · 46 comments

in Amex Bluebird, Chase, Taxes

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Note: I am not a tax advisor, so before you make any decisions, you need to consult your personal tax professional.

Update: You can no longer purchase Vanilla Reload cards using a credit card and Vanilla Reloads are no longer available in Office Depot.

Chase is now offering Visa gift cards of denominations up to $500 and waiving the $4.95 shipping fee. Just note, you need to be a Chase customer (meaning you have to use a Chase credit card) to purchase these.

Chase gift cards

What makes this a really great offer, in addition to the fact that you’re basically getting these cards for free, is that per the terms & conditions, they are prepaid Visa debit cards and will be assigned PIN numbers. That’s useful for a couple of reasons.

The $4.95 shipping fee is being waived temporarily.

The $4.95 shipping fee is being waived temporarily.

Since these are debit cards, they can be used to load your Amex Bluebird, though you are restricted to using debit cards to load up to $100 per transaction or per day and $1,000 per month (and each transaction incurs a $2 fee), so it’s a last resort, but if you’re desperate to meet that minimum spend, it’s a possibility. If you load your Bluebird with a debit card at Walmart, you get out of paying the $2 fee and your daily load limit goes up to $1,000 with a debit card with monthly at $5,000.

However, the terms of the card state that “You agree not to use the Card at any automatic teller machines (ATMs), at merchants or financial institutions to obtain cash back,” but by transferring the funds to Bluebird, it’s not exactly going for cash back and people have reported success, so this is a possibility. Note, this is not a cash advance, which I would never recommend doing.

Third, it’s tax season and if you’re considering paying your taxes using a credit or debit card, this could be a good option for you although we are down to the wire and the cards say it make take 5-7 business days, though they could come quicker. That’s because the sites that you can use to pay your taxes with a credit or debit card charge anywhere from 1.88-2.35% for using a credit card, but flat fees of between $2.99-$3.95 for using a debit card. Even though you’ll incur that charge every time you use one of these cards, if you were to use 20 of them to pay a $10,000 bill, you’d be racking up just about $60-$80 in charges (.6-.8 cents per point) as opposed to $189-$235 (1.88-2.35 cents per point) barring any bonuses. Though it’s a bit of extra work, you’re saving a chunk of change, and if you’re using them to meet minimum spending to boot, that’s a great way to double dip and maximize your points while minimizing the fees you incur.

The 5-7 business days that shipping will take, could make it a bit of a tight situation if you are looking to pay your taxes on or by Tax Day next Monday, but the cards could come faster than that, and if you’re already planning on filing for an extension, they’re something to consider, though note that you will pay interest on extensions so this could be a losing value proposition for you. You can also pay quarterly business taxes all year long, even after the April 15 tax deadline, so it might make sense to stock up on these now for future payments.

Hat tip: Milepoint and The Points Traveler.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Luke

    If you’re loading BlueBird at Walmart, are you still limited to 100 dollars per day? I know there is no 2 dollar fee in store but I’m not clear about in-store limits…

  • Rodriguez

    Will this work in WM for MO?

  • Z

    Not exactly clear from your post–do you know whether these purchases will generate Ultimate Reward points?

  • thepointsguy


  • Jane

    I’m confused by your statement “you are restricted to using debit cards to load up to $100 per transaction or per day”. I have used my Delta SunTrust debit card and loaded my Bluebird at WM and it was for more than $100 per day. Hack My Trip is reporting today that he is loading $1000 per day with his GC at WM. Who’s right?????

  • Maury

    Is this treated as a cash advance?

  • thepointsguy


  • thepointsguy

    Typo – it is $1,000 a day but only at Walmart. Fixed it thanks.

  • Travis

    Is there a max on how many I can buy? I want to use this toward my $20K spending on the BA Chase card.

  • Lana

    If I load this debit card to BlueBird (and pay the $2/transaction fee), could I use this to pay rent?

  • avidtraveler

    I just received my AA card for my current churn. WIll Citi treat these purchases as a cash advance? I’d like to meet my min spend criteria by buying 2.5k worth of gift cards in one spend.

  • avidtraveler

    Opps – I just read that it has to be issued by chase.

  • Mason Atkinson

    One big caveat – the chase site says this: This website does not support online sales of Chase Gift Cards to residents of the following states: AR, CT, HI, ME, NH, NJ, RI, VT.

  • Maury

    Can these cards be cashed out through Amazon Payments?

  • daPang

    Question! How do you ‘transfer’ the money out of debit card into bluebird at Walmart?

  • Robert Dwyer

    The FAQ page says the cards *don’t* come with a PIN. Is the thinking that as of April 1, 2013 all debit cards must be PIN-capable so that mention is outdated?

    6. Is the card a credit card? Back to the top
    No, but since there is no PIN with the card, select “credit” rather than the “debit” or “ATM” if you are prompted by a merchant’s terminal .

  • Travis

    The ToC page section 3 says “If you choose debit: Select “Debit” and you must enter your PIN. “PIN”
    means a four (4) digit personal identification number that you can select by
    calling us at 1.866.466.0079.”

  • Robert Dwyer


  • Wandering Aramean

    An extension with the IRS is only an extension to file, not an extension to pay. That’s some VERY bad tax advice you’re giving here.

  • thepointsguy

    I never said paying your taxes late is a good idea or comes without penalties- I simply said if you file an extension to file and end up owing more you could use these to pay- albeit with the 4% interest that comes along with it.

  • Shon

    1) can you get cash back at a grocery store
    2) Is the loading of BB with GCs in addition to VRs or do they all count towards the 5000 limit

  • Joshua

    Wow this opens open a world of possibilities for minimum spend with no fee at all for chase cards.

  • Chops

    So essentially it’s possible to rack up thousands of points for free? kind of like the US $1 coin trick a few years back?

  • yeah buddy

    Is there anyway to pay your mortgage or auto payments using these prepaid debit cards? Also is there a limit to amount I can buy? I need to spend $3,000 on my Hyatt Card to generate a bonus 5000 gold passport points for the 2nd qtr. I’m thinking this would be an easy way to hit the $3000 especially if I can pay mortgage/auto pmts

  • VD

    Why do they ask for your social security when you are buying this card? Do you think this is a way for them to track users who are buying these to load bluebird or buy money orders?

  • thepointsguy

    No I think it’s a requirement of the patriot act so they can track terrorist/money laundering. If they want to track bluebird loading they can simply see who uses them to load bluebird but it sounds like people haven’t had an issues

  • thepointsguy

    If you use them to load into your bluebird account you can cut checks there for free to pay mortgage/car etc

  • Joshua

    The SSN might be a deal breaker for me. I don’t like that…

  • JW

    Yes. Take gift card, add a PIN (see other comments for phone number), then take to WalMart. You can load $1000 per day up to $5000 for calendar month

  • Justin Hoertling

    So can you load this on bluebird at a Walmart 100% for free (excluding any costs to buy a bluebird card?). That’s the one thing i’m not clear on…

  • SR

    If you have a large tax bill, this is quite risky given the uncertainty around whether a PIN will be available, and if it is, whether it will work in practice (I’ve read elsewhere, possibly MMS, that a PIN can be setup but using it for debit doesn’t work everywhere). Can anyone confirm the use of debit for these cards? I suppose worst case scenario is that you pay the higher fee to pay taxes with these cards if the debit option fails.

  • Peter E

    Are you positive it will post as a purchase and not a cash advance? That would be my concern.

  • WG

    Limitations of Purchase of Gift cards- per the customer service rep at the gift card line, each individual Chase credit card can only be used for up to 2600$/30 day period.

    All of the transaction pages on this gift card purchase site look very familiar in relation to the similar appearance of the pages of the US Bank Buxx Visa pages.

    This Fidelity National services MUST somehow is also associated with the visa gift cards as well as BUXX Visa. Likely the 30 day limits(2600$) per chase credit card is additive to the amount you would also use in the Buxx program.

  • Zila

    Hello TPG…in the fine print it says that he gift card has a 2.50 monthly fee for inactivity… So what do you do? Cancel it right after you load it? Any ideas?

  • LHNH

    Do you put your own name as the recipient when buying the gift card? Would Chase notice and shut down your accounts?

  • harold

    You must get tired of spoon feeding this to people and then having them repeat the same questions over and over without reading no?

  • Richard

    A hat tip to the actual blogger who posted this on their blog and then milepoint would be appropriate rather than giving the credit to MilePoint! :)

  • disqust101

    $1K per day at Walmart w/no fees.

  • Ford

    $1,000/day that restarts at 12 a.m. EST from what MMS said, for those of us on the west coast, just hit them up at 8:59 and then again at 9:01 for a $2k/trip load, get a trusted spouse/sig o. involved for $4k/trip.

  • Cowmoolester

    Just wanted to let everyone know that purchasing these with a Chase card, Chase classifies these as a regular sale. Although you are limited to purchasing 5 at a time, but ALSO, the website wouldn’t let me use the same card to purchase another 5…

  • Bjp

    This post lacks instructions.
    Get card Call # on card. Use the Automated selection as the CS rep cannot give a pin. You imput your card numbers you will get prompts to follow.
    one being a pin they give. You can change it if desired.
    I keeped their assigned pin and went to wal mart deposited the entire $500. No fee. No problem..

  • Bjp

    P S. Deposit made in my Blue Bird acctj

  • KittyCat

    Can they be used to purchase money orders?

  • Jon

    I ordered these and they arrived very quickly. Called to activate and the PIN number was already assigned. Had no problem putting them on Bluebird at Walmart.

    Chase did cut me off after $5,000 of gift cards stating I has used the same credit card to purchase these too many times. Although I suspect it’s linked not to credit card but to SSN in which case using a different card wouldn’t solve the problem.

    As of yesterday, the fee is still waived.

  • Cat

    Hi. I used my Chase gift card (with PIN) to purchase a money order at Wal-Mart. There were no issues. From what I understand, some people have had trouble purchasing money orders through the USPS, but Wal-Mart codes the transaction as a purchase, so there isn’t any problem.

  • Frank

    This is in the T&C of Amex Rewards:-

    “The following transactions
    aren’t eligible purchases and you won’t earn points for them:

    Cash Advances

    Balance Transfers

    ….. etc, etc

    Purchases and loads of reloadable prepaid cards”

    I jumped on this band wagon late, I know… bought 2 vanilla reloads on Tuesday at CVS and am now waiting to see if the points appear (or not). Not sure how long it usually takes to be honest… but it’s been 3days and no joy

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