BlueBird by American Express is one my favorite ways to manufacture spend. Earlier this year, CVS allowed customers to use credit cards to buy Vanilla Reload cards and then deposit them to our BlueBird accounts online. In my opinion, this was one of the easiest ways to manufacture spend because the fees were low, $3.95 per card, and I could deposit the money via my home computer. CVS eventually switched to cash only, which caused many of to start buying Visa gift card and depositing them at our nearby Walmart. The process is still easy, but it just requires a bit more time.
American Express sent me an e-mail this afternoon. Starting on April 1, 2015, they will no longer allow Vanilla Reloads to be applied to your BlueBird account.
Here’s the e-mail notice:
We are writing to inform you of some changes to the terms and conditions of your Bluebird® Account. Please review the change below:
InComm Vanilla Reload PIN Package is one of the many ways to add money to your Bluebird account. Starting April 1, 2015, the Incomm Vanilla Reload PIN Package will no longer be available for purchase. Any previously purchased Vanilla Reload can still be added to any Bluebird account.
You can still add money to your account in many free, convenient ways including Direct Deposit, adding cash at virtually any Walmart® checkout register, and more. Click here to learn more.
Does this really affect my manufactured spending abilities?
At this point no. Even though I’m currently not buying Vanilla Reloads to manufacture spend, I have seen them sold at local gas stations. My co-worker has confirmed that he’s been able to buy the Vanilla Reloads with a credit card depending on which cashier is working.
Any time there’s a manufactured spending opportunity taken away, it’s a blow to the community. Just because Vanilla Reloads aren’t popular now, doesn’t mean a store in the future won’t allow them to be purchased with credit cards. This is just another future opportunity that will never happen.
Let me know in the comments below if this change is going to affect the way you manufacture spend!