Gift of College gift cards available in Fluz app with no purchase fee

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If you’re saving for – or currently paying for – your child(ren)’s college education, Gift of College gift cards can be a great way to do that. There’s now a new source for these gift cards – Fluz.

Gift of College gift cards graduation student
Live look at parents celebrating an additional opportunity to be rewarded when buying Gift of College gift cards

Greg first started writing about using Gift of College gift cards back in 2016 as a way to indirectly pay for student loans and 529 savings plans using credit cards. You can find all the posts we’ve written about them since then here, but here’s a smattering of the highlights:

We’ve also covered some of the recent new sources of Gift of College gift cards which includes Cumberland Farms gas stations and Kroger’s online gift card portal. This new option to buy the gift cards from Fluz is an interesting development with several things to note.

Payment Methods

The first is that unlike most other gift card brands sold by Fluz, you can’t buy Gift of College gift cards with a credit card directly. You might therefore be wondering why we’re writing about this, but bear with me. The three ways that you can buy the cards through Fluz are:

  • Cash Balance – earn 1.5% cashback
  • ACH/Checking – earn 1.5% cashback
  • Debit Card – earn 0.5% cashback

While the debit card option earns you 1% less cashback, if you have a debit card that itself earns cashback (e.g. the PayPal Business Debit Mastercard), you could earn a total of 1.5% cashback or more.

If you have access to Fluz’s Power Portal, you can prefund your account and then redeem that Cash Balance to earn the 1.5% cashback rate which could be worth it for some.

No Purchase Fees

One of the key differences with the Gift of College gift cards sold by Fluz is that there are no purchase fees. When bought through other retailers, there’s usually a $5.95 purchase fee. That’s not terrible if you’re able to buy $500 cards and pay with a card that’s earning a category bonus at that retailer, but that fee appears to be waived with Fluz.

Denominations

Different retailers sell different maximum denominations of Gift of College gift cards. Walmart.com limits you to $100 per card, other retailers have a limit of $200, while others let you load up to $500.

With Fluz you’re capped at buying $200 at a time. However, seeing as there are no purchase fees that’s not really an issue other than that it adds a little extra hassle if redeeming thousands of dollars worth of cards in $200 denominations.

The minimum purchase when buying through Fluz is $25, but you can buy any amount from $25-$200 including random amounts like $147.92 if you wanted/needed to do that for some reason.

Quick Thoughts

Some people will prefer buying Gift of College gift cards from a gas station and paying with a Wyndham Rewards Earner Business credit card. Although that will incur an effective 1.19% fee on $500 denominations, that can be worth it seeing as that card earns 8x points per dollar at gas stations.

For others though, this new Fluz option will have some appeal seeing as there’s no purchase fee and you can earn up to 1.5% cashback directly through the app or potentially more overall depending on how rewarding your debit card is or if you have access to the Power Portal.

If You’re New To Fluz

If you’re new to Fluz, new users also get three vouchers that can be used to save up to 35% on 17 different gift card brands including Chipotle, Uber Eats, Starbucks, CVS, Netflix and more. Each voucher offers a maximum cashback of $3.50, so it means signing up for the app can save you up to $10.50 on gift cards for services, stores or restaurants you’d might be spending money at anyway. If you’re new to Fluz, here are our referral links. As mentioned above, you’ll received 3 vouchers when joining, while we’ll earn $5 after you make your first purchase.
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Amol

Unfortunately Gift of College is now “offline” at Fluz.

I don’t have a desire to go travel to find these GCs. The other main option I have is buying the $200 cards online for $5.95 and applying those to loans or to a 529. At 3%, it makes sense if you need to finish up fee-free 5x or a big signup bonus if the loan doesn’t take CC and Plastiq isn’t an option.

Kaza

Fluz has lowered the GoC cashback rate to 1% with a bank.

veethrifty

Overall, I would be careful with the velocity of purchases via Fluz. I attempted to make three $200 GoC GC purchases in one day and my account got locked into a security review called ‘Tier 1 Limited Status’, where I am limited to only making $200 of purchases via bank transfer over an undefined length of time. If I could do it over, I would probably space out these purchases over days to weeks.

jackZZZ

Can you folks redeem the gift of college gift card? fluz only gives me code and pin, but on the gift of college website, they are requiring 4 digits of pin, and expiration date as well

Greg The Frequent Miler

The expiration month is the month of purchase, the expiration day is the last day of the month of purchase and expiration year is 9 years from purchase.

Chris Voth

I just tried to use a Discover Debit (card gives 1% back up to $3k per month), but Fluz only offered 0.5% on the debit transaction. This is essentially be the same as the 1.5% offered on ACH.

ArielManning

I see you can fund fluz via Apple Pay. I assume you can use your Altitude Reserve Card and get the 3% back they charge you. Then theoretically redeem 1.5% later using RTR and then also get 1.5% back through Fluz?

Jim

Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but why can’t you fund a 529 and then immediately make a non-qualified withdrawal? The 529 income tax + 10% penalty is only on earnings, which should be minimal (a few days of interest).

Last edited 8 months ago by Jim
Lochquel

One can. The risk may be doing it to a dollar amount that your 529 plan or Gift of College would close accounts. Have heard some dps to that effect.

Last edited 8 months ago by Lochquel
ryry

What are the details of the DPs? Huge $ amounts?

George

Luckily there are many 529 sites, and how would goc know?

Al C

I’m getting this error message when I attempt to redeem the gift card on the GoC website – “There was a issue redeeming your gift card, please try again”. Anyone else? Suggestions? Thanks.

Gaijin

Same 🙁

Lochquel

Try a expiration 9 years out. As of today that would 09/2032; This would probably change shortly to 10/2032 in Oct.

This information is provided for in the phone app, but not the power portal website.

Last edited 8 months ago by Lochquel
Dan

And it’s gone… thanks Greg!

Tim Steinke

I still see it there and am able to purchase $25-$200 cards.

Al C

I think he’s being sarcastic; upset that it will disappear soon because you all are shining a light on it.

[…] Hat tip to FM […]

Johnny

Another thing is that the ability to buy an exact denomination is very useful. GOC GCs can only be redeemed in full. If you have multiple loans, then you can only redeem an entire GOC card for one loan at a time, meaning they are primarily useful for extra payments on top of what is already due. Being able to make GOC cards value exact means you can buy one for each loan, and pay the exact amount due.

Jonathan

Could one theoretically use visa gift cards as a debit card on this, so to get whatever % points for purchasing the debit card on top of the .5% cash back?

Noah

I’m very interested to know the answer to this, if anyone has a data point please share!!

NiceSharky

I’ve been unable to add either Simon or Staples Visa cards to my account. I get error “Expanded BIN access required” when it checks the address. Both cards are registered for online usage.

George

Contact fluz to get extended bin access. I’m not sure who they’ll give it to but I got it

Noah

George any chance you recall how you requested expanded bin access / what you said? I tried just a screenshot of the error and saying that it appeared I needed to contact customer support and if they could please enable expanded bin access for me to add my debit card, but got a reply back just saying unfortunately they don’t accept open loop prepaid cards and to please try again with a different credit / debit etc card…

NiceSharky

Me too! they denied my request for extended bin access and directed me to connect an “accepted payment method” instead.

George

Maybe it only works for some cards or do you have power portal? I hadn’t used it for these. They gave me extended bin to redeposit the mcgcs they were selling when Citi stopped accepting them.

Amol

Can I pay Mohela with this? Might try out with a small card, if not, can try to fund my son’s 529.

Johnny

Yes

jeph36

Right now I am funneling $1k/month into 529s split across 4 kids. If nothing else, I should probably switch over to this to get the 1.5% on ACH. It may be a bit of a hassle, but I am guessing if I offer to pay one of them $15/mo to purchase 8 $125 cards and then apply them to the 529s that someone would take me up on the offer.

Amol

Back in the day I used to indirectly use this to pay tuition via 529 account funding, when I could get 3x Flexperks (6% toward travel) … $30 toward travel for a $5 per $500 toward tuition. But over the course of a year, I guess $180 isn’t bad.

Johnny

So, through Fluz, you can now pay your student loans / fund 529 for 1.5%-2% less than sticker price. I belive this means that the opportunity cost of buying GoC cards from anywhere else just rose by at least 1.5%, right? Now on the $500 gift cards, one would effectively be paying 1.19% to activate the GC, and missing out on the 1.5% they could be earning with Fluz, for a total effective cost of 2.69% for the $500 gift cards. If you have a debit card earning 1.5%, then the true cost is 3.19%. Correct me if I’m wrong…

Amol

I have trouble finding $500 GCs