Load Gift Cards w/o Walmart

GC Target CVS BB

Load Bluebird with Gift Cards without Walmart

Before you read this post, please read Load Bluebird with Gift Cards at Walmart. The following step-by-step guide is more complex and costlier than the above linked post, but is worth it if you do not have gift cards with PINs or a Walmart Store close by.

To load Bluebird with a Visa, MasterCard, or an AMEX Gift Card, you will need 5 things:
1. Bluebird Card
2. Target Store
3. Target AMEX Card (instructions below)
4. CVS Store (that sells Vanilla Reload Cards)
5. Gift Card(s) (PIN not required, so this will work with all gift cards)

Step 1: Go to your local Target Store and find the Target Prepaid Reloadable AMEX Cards (found on the gift card rack by the checkout counters).  You will need to use a credit card to load the temporary card.  The maximum load for the temporary card is $500.  During the checkout process, you will need to enter your mailing address, phone number, email address, and social security number (this is just a soft pull which will not affect your credit score).  After everything is complete, your temporary card will be activated and you will receive the permanent card in the mail within 1-2 weeks.  In the meantime, you can use the temporary card just like a prepaid gift card.

TargetAmex

Step 2: When you receive your permanent Target Prepaid Reloadable AMEX Card in the mail, activate the card online, and set up an account at www.americanexpress.com/target.  At that point, the balance from your temporary card will automatically be transferred to your permanent card.  The transfer should be instantaneous.  You can view your current balance online.  In a few hours, the temporary card will no longer be activated (because it will no longer have a balance).

Target AMEX Home

Step 3: Go back to your local Target Store with your Target AMEX Card and your Visa, MasterCard, and American Express Gift Cards.  Go to the Customer Service and Returns Department and tell the representative that you want to load your Target AMEX Card.  (They may look at you strangely if they have never loaded a Target AMEX Card before).  Just like your Bluebird Card, your Target AMEX Card has a $1,000 daily reload limit and a $5,000 monthly reload limit.  The monthly reload limit is based on a moving 30 day time period.

Target Returns Department

Step 4: You can reload your Target AMEX Card from $1 to $1,000 with a $3 service charge for your entire reload.  I always reload $1,000 on my Target AMEX Card, so the total amount due is $1,003.  You can use gift cards and credit cards to reload your Target AMEX Card, but I always use my gift cards first.  When you swipe your gift card on the credit card reader, it will ask you if you want to use debit or credit – click credit every time.  The credit card reader is smart and will automatically drain the balance of your gift card down to $0.  Then you repeat with your next gift card.  If you used all your gift cards and still have a balance due, you can use a credit card to pay the remaining balance.  For example, I once used 8 $100 gift cards and charged the remaining balance of $203 to my credit card.

Target Receipt

This is the view online of my Target Reload:

Load 1000 Target

Step 5: Your Target AMEX Card will now have a $1,000 balance (or whatever amount you decided to reload on the card). Drive to your local CVS Store (assuming they sell Vanilla Reload Cards) and get 2 Vanilla Reload Cards. Since each Vanilla Reload Card costs $3.95 to load, subtract $3.95 twice from $1,000, which gets you $992.10. To make your life and the cashier’s life easier, get a $500 Vanilla Reload Card and a $492 Vanilla Reload Card. Your total will be $999.90. Use your Target AMEX Card to pay. They may ask to see your driver’s license also. If they tell you you can’t use a gift card to pay, tell them it is a credit card and the name matches your drivers license (your experience may vary).

2 VR Cards

This is the view online of my CVS Purchase:

Target Amex CVS PurchaseIf you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

25 thoughts on “Load Gift Cards w/o Walmart

  1. Lisa

    Does your credit card treat this as a cash advance? If not, can you tell me which credit cards you’ve tried this with? I’m a little nervous to get the dreaded cash advance fees!

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      If you are talking about buying gift cards with credit cards, no credit cards have ever charged me a cash advance fee. If you are referring to loading gift cards onto Bluebird, there are no cash advance fees either.

      Reply
      1. Lisa

        Thanks for the quick reply Grant! Have you ever used Citi credit cards to buy Vanilla Reload cards or Visa Gift cards (to load on Blue Bird)? Someone suggested that Citi is especially likely to treat that kind of purchase as a cash advance, but I wonder if they had much data to corroborate that claim. The card I most need to meet the spend for happens to be a Citi card! :) Thanks for your awesome site, by the way. I love the level of detail you include and all the pictures!

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          I recommend that everyone call their credit card company and have them lower your cash advance limit to $0. If you are buying gift cards in grocery stores or pharmacies, you should be fine. Are you working on a AA card or a Citi HH card?

          I personally use my Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card at CVS a lot and have never had any problems.

          Reply
  2. Lisa

    I have the Citi AA card. I did call twice to try to lower the cash advance to $0. They insisted there is no way to do this. They got managers to make overrides and got it down to $750, but could not go any lower than that. I tried to push the issue but got worried that I might be drawing unnecessary attention. They assured me that you can’t make cash advances unless you set up a pin to enable it (though I wonder if this is true).

    I had similar problems getting Chase cards to set cash advances to $0. They insisted that the CA line is directly linked to the credit line, and that the only way to lower one is to lower the other. I didn’t really want to have them lower my credit limit, so I left the cash advance limit alone.

    Is there some particular way you get them to do it? Have you tried recently? Maybe these are new rules…

    I did buy a visa gift card with my Citi AA card at CVS this afternoon to test it out. I’ll let you know if it processed okay. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get the card to upload to my BB account though. :(

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I haven’t gotten any new credit cards in a while so I can’t confirm if they changed the rules on lowering the cash advance limit on your card. For Chase, you might be able to send them a secure message and ask for a lower cash advance limit.

      Reply
  3. DRK

    Hey Grant, great post. You’ve been helping me refine the craft. Is it possible to use the AmEx Target Prepaid card to load Bluebird? I know AmEx marketing does not call it a debit card. I don’t have access to VRs, and Target reload is cheaper than Visa/MC GCs. Looking for a way to thus liquidate Target Prepaid.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I have tried and others have tried but the Amex Target Card cannot be loaded onto the Bluebird Card. I use it to buy VRC at CVS, but that sounds like it isn’t an option for you. You can do Amazon Payments or use an ATM to withdraw money from the card.

      Reply
  4. Charley

    Why not skip steps 1-4 and just buy the Vanilla Reloads with a credit card at CVS directly? You would then not incur the fees when you buy typical gift cards. I must be missing something?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      You are right. This option is for people without CVS stores or for CVS stores that don’t allow credit cards for Vanilla Reload Cards.

      Reply
      1. Charley

        Perhaps that’s the part I’m missing: is the Amex for Target card a debit card then (not a credit card), so that you can use it to buy Vanilla Reloads at any CVS (or other stores that accept debit cards for VR)?

        Reply
  5. Alex

    Hi Grant,
    I had a long~~~day today.
    I bought my 2x 500 Visa GC from Ralph and went to Walmart to reload to my Bluebirdd but it didn`t work, 2 employees were trying to help me out but couldn`t make it work.. so I went to cvs and bought 2x VRC using the gift card and finally I transfered the money to my Bluebird!!!

    I think we can avoid Target Amex, what do you think?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Good morning Alex, did you add PINs to the gift cards before trying to load your Bluebird card? I usually wait a few hours after adding a PIN before going to Walmart.

      Reply
      1. Terri

        I tried loading a MC GC for $100 onto my BB tonight, but maybe I do need to wait a few hours after setting up a PIN on the MC GC? I tried 2 Walmarts, neither one had a functioning ATM so I tried it through the PIN pad at the registers. Glad I started small with just $100 and didn’t buy a whole mortgage’ worth to begin with! ;-)

        Reply
        1. Grant Post author

          Did you call the phone number on the back of the Visa/MC gift card? You can add a PIN on the phone. I usually wait a few hours before going to Walmart to transfer the balance of the gift card to my Bluebird Card.

          Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I think Costco has cheap ATMs, credit unions possibly, but other than that, I prefer going to Chase ATMs since they have given me so much over the years.

      Reply
  6. Victor

    Hey Grant… Have you ever tried loading the Target Amex with Target store GC? I have some that I’d like to drain. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Unfortunately that won’t work. Every time I load the Target AMEX card, the cashier says you’re not allowed to use Target gift cards. If you have a lot of Target gift cards, you can sell them online for 90% face value or so.

      Reply
  7. 405#Club

    There’s a 7-11 by my house that will sell VRCs only with a debit card. I wonder if I can use the Target Prepaid card to buy it? I tried with a Vanilla Visa GC and that didn’t work.

    Reply

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