Bluebird swipe reloads via ATM

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Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend

Now that it is possible to set PINs on Visa gift cards, my interest in reloading Bluebird at Walmart has been rekindled.  Until now, I’ve found it to easier and more rewarding to load my Bluebird account with Vanilla Reload cards.  Now that giftcards have PINs, though, Walmart swipe reloads have become a fantastic way to turn gift card balances into cash (see “Gift card PINs“).

On Monday, with four gift-cards and two Bluebird cards in-hand, I headed to Walmart.  I wasn’t looking forward to the idea of trying to explain to a cashier what I wanted to do, so I looked for an automated solution.  I decided to try out Walmart’s “MoneyCenter Express” ATM (see photo below).

2013-04-15 13.33.26

I couldn’t find an option to reload Bluebird cards, but I remembered that Bluebird was essentially an upgrade to Walmart’s older MoneyCard solution.  So, under the heading “Card Services”, I selected “Walmart MoneyCard”:

image

The machine prompted me to swipe my MoneyCard.  I swiped my Bluebird card instead.  I then followed the prompts to reload my card.  I selected to pay by debit card and then swiped my gift card and entered my PIN.  The payment was accepted and a receipt printed out showing the old and new balance on my Bluebird account.  Success!  As expected, no fee was charged for the swipe reload.  I then repeated the process with 3 more gift cards across two Bluebird cards (mine and my wife’s).

Keep in mind that swipe reloads are limited to $1000 per day and $5000 per month (across both Vanilla Reloads and swipe reloads).

While I still don’t enjoy driving out of my way to Walmart, the ability to reload Bluebird via Walmart’s special ATMs makes the process quick and easy.

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[…] if you have large payments to make?  More importantly, consider the alternatives: Do you have an easy way to cash out the gift cards without a fee or with a smaller fee?  If so, paying taxes with Visa or MasterCard gift cards is not a good […]

Jay

Was just looking at the bluebird site, and the limit for debit deposits appears to be $200/day, $1000/month. Is this effectively dead? ( not driving to walmart for $200 at a time..). Thanks.

Ray

The Walmart Money Center Express ATMs have all disappeared from Northern California stores. Has anyone had luck finding one in the region?

he who knows

sacramento still haves kiosk in most of there stores

Mystiqz

Does anybody happen to know what is the process and code to tell the walmart register ppl to do to add the money into the BB account? Thanks.

FrequentMiler

gargoyle999: Great!
.
Mel: Hmm, I wonder if you’d get 5% cash back buying $500 Visa cards from giftcardmall.com? It should work. Alternatively, use Amazon Payments which also counts as an online purchase.

Mel

Discover card has 5% cashback in online shopping from October thru Decemeber. Any good place to buy prepaid debit cards taking advantage of this cashback category?

FrequentMiler

Mel: Tell the cashier that you want to reload your Bluebird card and that you’ll pay with a debit card.
.
gargoyle999: That’s great. It’s about time that they added the Bluebird button!

gargoyle999

I did another load yesterday and the kiosk was working again. Used the Bluebird button without a problem!

gargoyle999

I did a reload on Sunday. I noticed an actual Bluebird button to select right under the Walmart Money Card button. I’ve previously used the Money Card button as shown above. I tried to use it but the kiosk was acting up and was very slow so I gave up and went to the counter.

Mel

What are the steps to do this over the counter?
Do you ask to reload you walmart money card but then give them the bluebird card instead? (then just pay for the reload using a prepaid debit card)

Paymon

Can I reload my bluebird card at the walmart atm using CASH intead of giftcards

FrequentMiler

Paymon: Yes, I think so, but I’ve never tried it.

[…] come up with yet more innovative and sick (see above) ways to push yet more affiliate links. “Bluebird swipe reloads via ATM“. And “The hunt for perfect gift cards, part 1“.  This is just getting […]

Slop

I do not understand this .

Please explain.
So I get a BB card. I buy these gift cards with my airline credit card. Then I load these on my BB card.
Now what ? Use my BB to pay my airline card ???

What about the fees that come with the gift cards?

FrequentMiler

Slop: Yes, you have the idea right. If you buy the right gift cards or Vanilla Reload cards (which are a lot easier) your cost per mile will be about 1 cent or less. Depending on how much you value your miles, this can be a great deal.

Frequent Miler

mike: I’ve had the exact same thing happen as well (also with two different Bluebird cards). I like SteveW’s solution better, but if this does happen again to you I found that once the store employee logs in, they can press “continue” and then the swipe reload will work. Otherwise, as you said, going to the counter works too.

mike

in every instance, i can only load 3x $500 GCs of any type at ATM machine, then the msg that an ‘associate must come’ & something about compliance limit reached. Appears that you can load 3 times and that’s it. Anyone else? Had this happen at 2 diff stores- and this is even when switching from one bluebird to a second one (1k load on one, then 500 on second, then msg and can’t load a second 500 on second card). Seems stupid but hard coded- so can’t simply load 1k on each of 2 birds. But then if u take second bird to register, it loads fine. So it’s on the ATM machine itself. Who else is experiencing this? How much are you able to load at one time at the ATM machine?

SteveW

@Mike: I had the same problem, with the same amounts as you. Try taking a walk around the store to break up your reloads. It worked fine for me doing 2 loads at a time.

Mark

Yes, chase gift cards loaded to bb worked for me at the money center and register. Just not the walmart kiosk/atm.

INeedaDr

Thanks Mark!

INeedaDr

Anyone get the chase $500 gc to work with BB reload at WM?

weevinweaver

Wow it seems that they are finally cracking down. Not good. I have not faced these problems yet.
At Wal Mart I smile at everyone and say hello. I mean I see them almost everyday! Haha. They are like we have never seen anyone use the atm more than you. Haha.
What I am worried about is the office supply stores. They always look at me like I am crazy to buy $1000 worth of visa gc almost everyday! Haha.
The only problem I face is that I cant buy money orders at the Wal Mart kiosk. Everywhere else that I go (gas stations, and grocery stores) say cash only. So I withdraw $300 cash almost everyday from the Wal Mart kiosk atm. No problems yet!

Mark

Big headache today trying to load giftcards to my Bluebird at a Walmart MoneyCenter Express ATM. I’ve had no problems loading at the register or money center so maybe I will go back to that. I tried a Chase $500 gift card and a GiftcardMall $500 gift card at the ATM/Kiosk. Both times after entering my PIN it took the $500 off the gift card then reversed it back onto the gift cards and did not load to Bluebird. Now it appears both my giftcards are blocked. I called Chase and have to fax my purchase receipt to them now – seriously, who using faxes anymore?

Greg

Similar problem in New Mexico – there don’t seem to be any Kiosks in the entire state!

K P Simpson

Kiosks don’t exist at NW Illinois WMs, and the ones in eastern Iowa have been recently removed. In Dubuque, manager says they weren’t being used, and WM didn’t want them in this area. Strange!!

Jamie

@Mr H – for me it’s because Jewel is running a deal where you can buy a $100 gc and get $10 off your next grocery purchase. So, it’s a $4 money making way of manufacturing spend… If I can load it onto my bb

MR. H

Why are so many people loading multiple smaller value cards vs. $500 cards – I have only ever played with the max values per card and wondered if something I am missing. Thanks

Jamie

I just tried to load my BB today with $100 MC cards. I successfully loaded two, then the third kept failing with the message debit not permitted.
Any idea what the problem is?

MichaelP

I tried cash back at wm money pass atm during reload and was denied.

Jonathan

By the way, I checked out a couple money pass atm’s today (using the moneypass atm locator) to see if any close to me had a load option (WM is more of a drive). Unfortunately, only the WM money pass atms had the load option of the 3 I checked.

Jonathan

Greg, have you attempted doing cash back as part of the loading bluebird transaction at the kiosk? I thought of it too late today (my first successful debit/gift to BB load), but next time I go I want to try doing multiple “cash back” along with the loads (load 20 dollars at a time, and take out the max amount of cash back possible on each transaction). Do you know if the system stops you from doing more then 1 cash back in this way? If not, you could in theory do cash back 50 times in a row (20*50=$1k) and probably unload a couple cards while you are at it.

FrequentMiler

Jonathan: yes, I’ve tried to get cash out, but it didn’t work.

dario

I had a similar problem over the weekend. I tried to purchase the walmart visa gift card with my CC. They said that I could only purchase with cash or debit. Up until this weekend I have had no problems at walmart purchasing gift cards

FrequentMiler

SteveW: Wow, that’s crazy. I just used the Walmart ATM near me today without trouble. I hope your situation is due to just one overzealous manager.

SteveW

The Walmart cashiers started telling me that gift cards are not allowed & I can only use a bank debit card. They refuse to do the transaction when I give them the cards from giftcardmall.com or when i give them a Paypal debit card! up until 2 weeks ago there were no problems with Paypal.

When they see me doing it at the ATM they also come yelling about it not being allowed even though the ATM processes the reload without a problem. One associate even tried to cancel the transaction in the ATM after it had already gone through. (She couldn’t)

dario

as a quick side note, you don’t have to have the money pass atm’s to upload to your blue bird card. Yesterday I went directly to a walmart cashier, gave him my blue bird card, told him how much i wanted to upload, confirmed the amount on the keypad, swiped my walmart visa gift card and the transaction completed successfully.

dario

here is how you find the money pass atm’s at walmart:
http://www.moneypass.com/atm-locator.aspx

MichaelP

I hit the max $1500 max before the message to get employee assistance pop up too. $500×2 on one BB and $500 on 2nd BB then message pop up on the next $500 on 2nd BB.

Karen

Does anyone know how we can find whether one Walmart has this machine? I went to two Walmart, and didn’t see the machine at all.

[…] now come with a PIN, so you can use them to load your Bluebird at Walmart stores. You can read this post by Frequent Miler for […]

[…] interesting since they can now be loaded to Bluebird (see “Gift card PINs” and “Bluebird swipe reloads via ATM” and “Better than free manufactured […]

Suzy S.

Ordered 4 $500 Visa cards from the Chase site offering the no fee and free shipping deal. Received them a week later and went to Walmart with 2 BB (mine & husband). Used machine to load $1000 on each BB. All went well till the final $500 when a message popped up saying I needed to get an employee over to assist. Luckily the customer service line just became empty and the employee came over, used her key and put in her password and the transaction went thru. Wish the machine didn’t speak so loudly as everyone nearby can hear it. All in all, an easy transaction. Wish I wasn’t leaving for vacation this week to Canada for 5 months as I would certainly have ordered $10,000 of gift cards from Chase. Wasn’t sure the first batch would arrive in time. Thanks FM!

FrequentMiler

Jeff: Online debit loads are limited as you said, but in-store “swipe reloads” are free and are limited only to $1K per day and $5K per month.
Jack: No, I don’t believe that outside of Walmart there is any way to use a MoneyPass ATM to load Bluebird

Jack

Do you think I can load Bluebird at a MoneyPass ATM not located at Walmart? My local bank is listed as having a MoneyPass ATM too. Anyone tried this yet?

Jeff

I just received my Bluebird card yesterday. When I went to the FAQ section of the Bluebird website under fees and limits it stated that the max deposit from a debit card was $100 per day and $1,000 per month. Did they change their policy? Everyone here seems to be able to load up to $1,000 per day and $5,000 per month. Before I start ordering $1’000 gift cards from Gift Card Mall I’d like to understand better as a newbie. Can anyone clarify, please?

FrequentMiler

Scott & dario: Yes, search for MoneyPass ATMs inside of Walmart stores

dario

I am also curious, Is there an easy way to tell which Wal-Marts have money center ATMs? I haven’t been able to find them in walmarts around austin, tx

Elenor

Success! Went to Staples and used my Ink Bold to buy two $200 Visa prepaid cards and one $100 card (Staples: so, MetaBank cards). (Also a $50 Amazon card and a $200 AMEX prepaid card — which I tried to put on my Costco Cash Card about 20 minutes later, but it was too quickly after purchase (apparently) and it wouldn’t go through. The Amazon card, of course, loaded easily onto Amazon.)

Several hours later, I went to my local (North GA) Super WalMart’s ATM and picked WalMart Money Card and Reload. Did a $200 card, then the second $200 card, then the $100 card — as three separate transactions. On the first card, when it asked for a PIN, I tried making one up, which didn’t work, so I canceled the whole transaction. Then, remembering reading somewhere — maybe here? — that the last four digits may be the PIN, I tried that and it worked. No fee, of course.

I just got home, and there were three emails waiting for me from Bluebird, saying my “bluebird POS Reload was Successful” with complete records (amount, confirm. no. and so on).

After each transaction, the machine spit out a “debit load” receipt for each card. Oh – and the machine DOES say a lot out loud, but it didn’t say anything about amounts or anything – just stuff like: “Do you want cash back?” and “Please choose your method of reload.” (No, I didn’t want cash back – I’m loading for my mortgage payment!)

Scott

Is there an easy way to tell which Wal-Marts have money center ATMs?

[…] a daily limit of $1000 and a monthly limit of $5000 and no additional fees (FrequentMiler discusses his experience here). You can also use a debit card to fund your Bluebird account online, though the limits are quite […]

Andrew

Thanks for this tip! Tried it today and it worked great.

AP

from Office Depot I meant

AP

So am I correct in assuming that the HI card from Home Depot cannot be used until they allow pins for Discover Cards?

[…] Bluebird swipe reloads via ATM […]

[…] Miler wrote about his experience re-loading Bluebird.  Mine was similar except that my gift card was declined the first time I swiped it.  But it went […]

chris

I think I’ll stop reading the comments now. It never ceases to amaze me how much of an ordeal some can make of such simple operations such as this. I have to stop reading a lot of FT threads for that same reason.

Jack L

@eric and @david,
The limit for loading online is $100 per day, $1000 per month, with a $2 fee. If you go to WM and load in person with your debit card, it is called a Swipe Reload. The limit for that is $1000 per day, $5000 per month, and no fee.

eric

thanks Jack

David

Would also like to know how to load more than $100/day online via debit card. Is this possible?

eric

It says in the FAQ at bluebird.com (https://bluebird.com/faqs?linknav=us-Prepaid-Bluebird-Home-Faqs#fees-and-limits) that the limit for debit card is $100 a day and the transaction cost $2 – how did you manage to avoid that?
Also, with a $200 GC which cost 6.95 and a $2 charge at walmart, it starts becoming expensive (assuming I am correct about the $2 charge)

BH
nomad

@jason: I drive to Walmart in my EV and while getting my BB biz done, also get a full FREE load of juice from their awesome quick-charger in about 15 minutes. In my area driving to any Walmart is quite fun this way!

Travel Bear

Welcome back FM! 🙂

MrWho

@Mike, you can do that already. It’s just not free online. $2/load.

MichaelP

Great tip!
My experience:
2 Walmart did not have Money Center ATM.
1 Walmart did but after entering the amount to load it got stuck at ‘Processing…’, had to go over to customer service register to load.

Miles Momma

Thanks FM for this post! Traveling abroad right now. Can’t wait to get home and start playing around with the new pin gift card game. Looks to be lots of fun for everyone!

jason

Very interesting and thanks for the research. But lately the issue has been buying xcards with CREDIT. Most outlets do not let you buy gift cards/VR with credit. In addition, people forget that driving to Walmart consumes gas and on average you may end up spending a gallon back and forth, so the online option maybe more appealing if you just load one card.

FrequentMiler

jason: It’s very easy to buy Visa gift cards with a credit card. For example, go through TopCashBack to GiftCardMall and buy one for $1000 and a small fee. I’ve also had no problem at grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations, but YMMV
AP: I know one person who tried the HI card as debit at Lowes, but it didn’t work. It might be worth trying again.

Rachel

Yesterday I loaded Bluebird at WM Customer Service, and when the employee saw that I was using a gift card as my debit card, she told me it was against policy, even though the transaction would go through. I don’t know if this is new policy or if she was misinformed. Either way, now I won’t have to bother with a human!

dan

ANy reason I shouldnt load 1000 on BB with 5 gift cards at once?

PW

How did you still have $2,000 in available Bluebird load on the 15th day of the month?? Looking forward to trying this in May in lieu of scouring CVS’s.

FrequentMiler

PW: LOL. Remember last month was Million Mile Madness? I took a break from earning points for almost two weeks!

[…] using your Bluebird account (plus the $8 in fees). Frequent Miler wrote how you can do this through Walmart’s ATM machines so you won’t even have to talk to anyone if you’re feeling […]

Mike

This is a great news. I will try today. I am sure very soon BB will allow to load from debit card online:)

dan

Why did you only do 3 at once per bb card? Is there any reason not to do 4 guft cards per transaction?

FrequentMiler

dan:I loaded two gift cards to my bb and two to my wife’s (some were $500 gift cards). Details will be in tomorrow’s post. I was only able to do one gift card with each transaction.

FrugalTravelLawyer

Worked perfectly as you posted. Thank you!

Jivepicnic

Just unloaded 3*$200 Visa gift cards that I had from a previous Staples promotion onto my Bluebird at the Walmart MoneyCenter kiosk. No problems at all. Thanks for the tip, FM!

John

Nick:

I had the same problem today. The machine was not working, and at customer service attempting the reload generated a “debit no available” error.

Nick @ PFDigest

Does anybody ever receive a “debit not available” message when they try to load? I was just rejected at both the machine and the customer service counter. Not sure if this is a random glitch, a problem with my card and/or account, or something else.

Shauna

Wow, this is a great tip! Just this morning my husband was asking me how on earth we will get enough points for a trip to Europe in September, this solution will help us get there. 🙂 I LOVE your blog. <3 Thanks for your help!

[…] Visa gift cards can now be used to reload Bluebird cards with a pin. This is useful if you can’t find Vanilla Reloads or are getting 5X points/miles […]

JakePB

FM – any suggestions about acquiring $500 visa GCs for 5x? Is there a way to get $500 visa GCs using the Home Improvement gift cards, for example?

FrequentMiler

JakePB: I don’t know of any good options for using the HI card, but yes there are various 5X options available. Look through the Best Category Bonuses page and you’ll see lots of 5X options for merchants that sell gift cards.

Nick @ PFDigest: No, that hasn’t happened to me yet.

Fred Willey

The one main problem with using MoneyCenter Express ATMs is finding one that works & then finding one that works on a regular basis.

[…] know if you all saw this yet: http://boardingarea.com/freque…loads-via-atm/ I almost tried this the other day…and will be trying it this afternoon when I head over to the […]

BH

Great news. I was at a WM this weekend and was trying the kiosk. I didn’t see a BB option so I tried to do a MO and it said that MO were not available at this time and to go to the counter. Since there was no line I just went and did a BB load at the counter. Had there been a line, I might have figured this out on my own!

Couple questions: When using the kiosk, I assume you are doing multiple loads for each GC amount. At the counter they could process it as one load and break it up for each card (not sure if there is a maximum # you can spread it between).

Also – has anyone had luck liquidating from BB via billpay or check directly to yourself? Danger in this?

BeachMiles

Excellent Discovery!!!

gomike

Question is what bank issued the giftcards and did you earn 5x points on the purchase.

FrequentMiler

gomike: Answers to your question will be in tomorrow’s post 🙂
BH: Separate transaction for each gift card. I couldn’t figure out a way to do multiple. As to liquidating BB, I simply transfer funds to my bank account from BB (but always leave a balance). Never had any trouble.

Mike

Unfortunately, none of my Walmarts have a MCX machine. 🙁

TheDapperChurner

It makes sense to use the VR and Pin strategy to spread spending around many cards, as well as take advantage of some good earning potential on grocery store cards.

Karen

Great! Don’t need to deal with cashier to reload BB, I will definitely try it.

Curtis

Now we just need to figure out how to increase monthly $5k limit, or get a product that doesn’t count towards that limit ;).

FrequentMiler

Curtis: One easy answer to get around the $5K limit (sort of) is to load VR to a different card besides Bluebird. Another possibility is to try reloading other prepaid cards at the Walmart ATM…

Lawrence

Are people using a debit card to get points? Which one? If not, why bother?

Jack

How many debit cards can be used for one transaction? I have many $100 do I have to do multiple transactions ?

FrequentMiler

I was only able to use one gift card per transaction. I tried to do a $1000 load with two $500 gift cards, but I received an error. So, I did every gift card as a separate transaction.

Johnny

This method of reloading GCs with pin on the bluebird at a self-service kiosk is a great alternative option when VR is not available even though it suck to drive to a nearby Wal-Mart (min. 20 miles for me) to complete the transaction.

Carlos

@MileageUpdate

If you can find GC for 2x,3x,4x,5x they might be worth more than the VRs even with the added fee.

Sam

@MileageUpdate, because not everyone has access to CVS or VR’s.

Duc

So you can have more than 1 Blue Bird?

MileageUpdate

Why bother going all the way to Walmart when you can load a VR from home. Especially w such low limits on BB at 5k a mo.

FrequentMiler

MileageUpdate: VR is certainly easier, but with gift cards there are more options to earn bonus points, store rewards, and even cash back.
Duc: Yes, If you have a spouse, then you can have more than 1 Bluebird card 🙂

PhatMiles

………….aaaand he is back.
Awesome once again.

MrWho

Loading MoneyCenter Express ATM @ WMs is useless for me since WMs near me (2 of them) always have problems and not working.

pointsguy

Mason says:

April 17, 2013 at 5:32 am

I was able to load my bluebird card at the kiosk by choosing the greendot option.

May you give more details? thanks

Mason

There’s an option for managing Green Dot cards on the main screen of the Walmart Money Center kiosk. You can choose that option and proceed to reload your Bluebird card. I didn’t take any photos of the process, but if you visit a kiosk you will see what I’m talking about. It’s fairly self explanatory. I would note that the first time I tried it the ATM crashed. I tried it at another machine in another Walmart and it worked without a hitch. I live in central Arkansas, so I have no shortage of Walmarts to try.

Nick @ PFDigest

Very helpful, thanks! I spent about ten minutes with a cashier last time I tried to load my Bluebird.

mrredskin

Robert he literally stated the answer to your question in the next to last paragraph

Sil

Isn’t the VR at CVS the easier and cheaper route than the GC with PIN from the Office store for 5x points?

Robert

So, not exactly clear about your statement, is the 5K reload max a combined total for VR and gift card, or separate 5K limits for each method? Thanks

FrequentMiler

Robert: The $5K monthly limit is combined. For example, you can load $2K VR and $3K swipe reloads (gift cards), but you can’t do $5K of each
Mason: Interesting! I guess the machine knows how to deal with bluebird cards regardless of which button you press!
Carlos: See “Best Category Bonuses

Corky

Wow.

Mason

I was able to load my bluebird card at the kiosk by choosing the greendot option.

Carlos

Where to find these GC for 2x,3x,4x,5x?!!! Blahhhh!!

Askia

Which gift cards did you use? Where did you buy them? Were their fees attached? For example, did you load $499 out of a $500 card to cover the fees charged by the card issuer?