Has CVS Stopped The Purchase of Vanilla Reloads With Credit Cards?

Apr 2, 2014

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Over the weekend speculation was rampant as to whether CVS would stop allowing the purchase of Vanilla Reloads with credit cards thanks to a memo someone spotted in their local store to that effect.

While on Sunday and Monday it seemed like business as usual at most CVS stores, @MattEatsWings tweeted me yesterday with the following picture of a memo from his local store:

BkK6vJGCIAEyxnLAs you can see, it says that Vanilla Reload Network cards will no longer be available for purchase using a credit card starting April 4, 2014 – that’s Friday!

That said, Team TPG (so far) hasn’t seen this memo at the cashier at any of their local CVS’s in New York or California, but we’re keeping an eye out and would love for readers to share any intel from around the country.

One reader tweeted me yesterday to say that the memo in his Tri-State Area store said that the new regulation was in effect in New Jersey and New York – and that even when managers try to override the system to allow the credit card purchase, it is being rejected. The same thing happened to TPG’s director of operations, Kate, at her local CVS store last night – so it looks like the change might already be underway.

According to the Star-Ledger, this policy change comes in the wake of a fraud case where two men from Queens, NY, were arrested Saturday at the Borgata casino and hotel in Atlantic City for allegedly trying to charge over $500,000 over the past two years. Prosecutors said that the two culprits used fraudulent Capital One credit cards to Vanilla Reload cards at CVS locations and then deposited them to American Express accounts where they could then access the funds.

While the details of this new policy are unclear, it looks pretty certain that at least stores in New York and New Jersey will see some sort of policy change in the coming days, and that thanks to new point of service cash register technology, this new policy might roll out region by region over the whole CVS chain the coming days and weeks.

This means a couple things. First, CVS raised their daily Vanilla Reload purchase limit to $5,000 back in August, so if your CVS is still stocking them and letting you purchase them with a credit card, you should probably try to stock up. Just remember you can only load up to $5,000 in Vanilla Reloads into your American Express Bluebird debit/checking alternative account per calendar month, so you might get stuck waiting another month to load more funds.

Vanilla Reloads used to be a great way to generate points-earning spend.
Stock up on your Vanilla Reloads while you can!

This is terrible news for many of us who use Vanilla Reloads totally legitimately in conjunction with American Express Bluebird to pay bills, send money and generally earn credit card points and spending on transactions that credit cards are not always eligible for such as mortgage and rent payments, healthcare premiums and more. I also find them useful for meeting minimum spending requirements for credit card sign-up bonuses as well where you can purchase Vanilla Reloads using your new card then use the funds to pay your everyday bills.

All in all, this could be very bad news for many of us legitimate Vanilla Reload users, and if your store is still allowing you to use a credit card to purchase them, I’d say to stock up as much as possible. In the meantime, if any of you have seen similar memos in your CVS stores, please report back in the comments what they have said and where you’re based.

For more information on Vanilla Reloads, see these posts:

Maximizing Prepaid / Reloadable and Reload Cards For Points And Miles – Choosing Which Credit Card To Use
Maximizing Prepaid and Reload Cards For Points and Miles
CVS Raises Daily Vanilla Reload Purchase Limit to $5,000
Maximizing Reload Cards – Vanilla vs. GreenDot vs. ReloadIt
My Permanent Amex Bluebird Card is Active and the Points Are Flying

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.