Warning: Simon Malls Now Coding as a Cash Advance for Some People


simon malls cash advance fee

One of the most popular places to purchase pin-enabled Visa gift cards is Simon Malls. They sell variable load $500 cards for $3.95 each. Unfortunately it seems that some people have been charged cash advance fees for purchasing these cards lately. It is possible that Simon has changed the way they code these transactions.

Two different readers have written in reporting that they have been charged cash advance fees for purchases at Simon Malls. Both readers specifically mentioned being charged fees after using a Barclaycard Arrival Plus. It isn’t clear at this time if all banks are charging these fees or if the problem is only with Barclaycard. There was a situation about a year ago where only some banks charged fees at Simon. That eventually cleared itself up.

How to Prevent an Issue

If you are going to purchase Visa gift cards from Simon Malls, then it is probably wise to lower your cash advance limit to $0. Doing this will prevent any purchase from going through if it is coded as a cash advance. I think this is generally a good practice anyway, especially if you regularly purchase cash equivalents.

Have you received cash advance fees after purchasing gift cards at Simon Malls? If so, which card did you use? Feel free to share your data points in the comments.

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[…] Simon Mall, where I loaded up on $15,000 worth gift cards. I was worried when reports surfaced that Barclays was coding Simon Mall purchases as a cash advance in some regions, but thankfully that wasn’t the case for me. On one occasion, I brought my […]


Most of the MS options are going away. Kind of expected since businesses are here to make $$ (few folks that are doing $10K+ MS are causing Banks to close these options) even if there are some MS that costs them (part of doing business – Statistics-wise).


@jon — so you used the Simon gift card to buy money order at your Walmart after changing the PIN?


Just finished purchasing 7k with Barclay’s Arrival coded as purchase


Call the number on the back of the simon card and change the pin to a custom pin. The cards will work at Walmart after the pin change. Just confirmed.


Bought $20,000 between Spark and Discover without issue. Posted as purchase to both.


I will go try this weekend and keep everyone posted.


Four with AMEX at a Simon mall in Santa Clara, CA and ten with Chase at a Macerich mall in Phoenix, AZ within last three weeks – all coded as purchases.


How do you set up a cash advance fee to $0? If we could have our CC’s with a $0 CA fee, then we could just go to every ATM machine take out cash, deposit, pay, repeat. No need for gift cards. Am I missing something here?


You can’t reduce the fee to $0. You should try to reduce the CA limit to $0.

dave d



I purchased $2,000 of VGC at Simon Mall with CSP and it was coded as purchase.


Edit: on 2/13


recently got the venture, requesting CA to be lowered, but Cap 1 CSRs (via both online chat & phone) said that the CA is 1/2 of the CL; therefore, can’t be reduced to 0. anyone has recent knowledge or experience on Cap 1 CCs rules? TIA


Now that many malls have moved the gift card sales into the main mall office, people should test a small gc purchase using their preferred cc before trying to buy larger amounts. Due to the move into the offices that area of the mall may be coded differently. Cc issuers, including Barclay, have placed blame on the way the retailer is set up for their particular POS location. Small tests are the best way to really know if it will show up as a purchase or ca. Personally, I’ve used Arrival recently for a Simon purchase and it showed up as purchase, but that’s just one location experience for me. Also many have reported that Barclays won’t lower CA limit to 0 for Arrrival.


Also, this random and rare CA problem has been reported ever since many malls removed the customer service counter and moved GC sales into the mall office. It was partly a money saving move due to less hours needed to man the counter. They made the change after the Serve/BB news broke that many were shutdown. They believed the demand for vgc would diminish thus seeing the counter out in the mall not as needed as in the past.


Yeah!!! Lets keep talking about it in open forums. We all know that FM needs those affiliate clicks so no matter if it kills off MS or not. We still gotsta talk about it. Wonder when it will finally hit these two dopes that you have to stop talking about it in the open? I for one will be happy the day their deal killing blogs go dark. Dont kid yourselves. Its coming. Learn to fish for yourself instead of having it crammed in your lazy faces.


@NetSpender I agree and disagree. How do we get the info out? I’ve been doing this a year and attending the conferences and have not been invited to a private forum. Can you direct me to a private forum? Then I will agree with you.


I dont do groups. MS is area specific. Hunt in your area for what works and what doesnt. And for the love of baby Jesus stop talking about it in public forums.


Why not whine about this in another post that encourages MS. This particular one, if anything, would warn people of risks of doing it.

I don’t want any of these “deals” to be killed off, but for people to think that they’re entitled to them is just ludicrous. Get a job or invent something – don’t bitch at people who tell others about an arbitrage opportunity that shouldn’t exist in the first place but for an imperfect system.


Yes MS is area specific, and Simon Mall’s everywhere. It totally make sense to discuss it here IMO.

Deals die. Get it while you can.


No need to unleash. All major techniques are dead now. They will not reappear. So why not to discuss whatever is left? If you are believing that something of the scale of vanilla reload or bluebird will ever appear in the future, than you are naive. What’s left are transactions in hundreds and thousands of dollars and these will fly low. Of course, doing money orders that is a very special niche for some I do not include here. We will observe where obsessive money order behavior leads within short future when the stories break out. There is also only a limited number of credit cards and new rules and days of funding bank account with tens of $$$ are over as well. These new niche markets will not longer be interesting to the banks. They always win. So do yourselves a favor and buy some financial etf before they fully recover. This maybe the smartest move.


Purchased some Simon VGC on 2/13 and charged on Chase UA and Citi AA cards. Both posted as purchases.


I also did a couple of charges at Simon Malls on 2/13 on my Arrival+ and Hawaiian cards. Barclays posted both as charges. Hopefully hasn’t changed since!


Another data point: used CitiBusiness Plat Select to buy GCs at Simon on 2/13 and they posted as purchase.

Very good to know, as Arrival + is now at the top of my wallet to burn through. Will proceed w caution.


I purchased 5,500 on Barclay Arrival plus from a Simon Mall on 2/13. It posted as a purchase. I also purchased some on Amex card, and a Citi card, all posted as purchases.


I purchased SM VGCs on Saturday 2/13 with AMEX SPG and BBVA NBA and it posted as a purchase. (Off topic but no idea if the small BBVA portion will get 5x.)


BBVA 5% posted on my $35k from Simon. Already redeemed the points!


Interesting. I tried to use some Simon Mall gift cards tonight at WM to buy a MO. The first card worked. All others were declined. The cashier told me a guy was in a little while before me with the same cards and had the same issue. Not sure what is going on with Simon cards but I will have to call them tomorrow to inquire why my cards were declined while they had the full $500 balance.


Same problem tonight at WM with a grocery store purchased Visa GC. Used “regular” Visa debit card for the remainder of the transaction and everything went through ok.


Same problem as previous 2 comments for me today at WM. I tried loading 4 Simon Mall Visa GCs to purchase MOs. No go… Tried at least 3 different times. The cards definitely have the money on them. Wondering if WM may be updating (messing with) their POS to reject GCs specifically…? I sure hope not. Still have $3K left to unload… ugh.


I just went to a USPS location but am unable to unload my Simon Mall Visa gift cards. I then went to the Great Mall (Simon Mall owned) to confirm that my cards are loaded, valid, and that the pin codes (which were the right ones that I entered) were correct. Once everything was confirmed, I went to a different USPS location but was unable to unload them.

We (including the USPS employee) tried it several times and even lowered the amount to $400, just to see if it will go though but it didn’t, for both USPS locations.

Does anyone know if there is a new USPS policy regarding the use of gift cards for the purchase of MOs?


All Giftcards have been unable to buy money order in USPS since Aug.


Yes, USPS changed their system not to accept GC about 2 months ago. This may be regional, but I’ve found it the case on both coasts.


All giftcards have been not working in USPS for MO for few months. It’s the nationwide issue.


No Simon malls here but this is still bad.


Bought one $500 Visa gift card at a Simon Mall with a Barclays Wyndham on Feb 10 and it went through as a merchandise and not a cash advance.


Hopefully it is only Barclay cards.


I got hit with a CA at Simon on a Bank of America business card about a month ago.


can you elaborate which business card you have used?
what was the CA limit you had on that card? what was your purchase amount?


Alaska Airlinesbusiness card from BoA. I got hit with a cash advance fee on a $2,500 purchase. The cash advance limit on that account is over $3000.


Are you sure this didn’t go back to a purchase? I have been using a B of A Virgin Atlantic card and get no CA fees.


I plan on visiting Simon Friday and Saturday. Need to get about $30k in cards. I will set up cash advance to zero and see what happens


How are you unloading so many cards?


good question — is this even a serious post or a snark? Do Simon malls even permit such large transactions? (for 60 cards!?) Say “Carlos,” let us know how many forms you had to fill out?


Simon mall has no issue in selling $10k per day per customers, I have received confirmation from their corporate that this is 100% acceptable, Friday to Sunday = $30,000


Do what you want but this is how MS gets shut down. I am pretty sure any where you go this will raise some red flags.


I honestly don’t think Simon mall raise red flag to $10K gift card purchases.

I’ve been to my local Simon’s numerous times for 5-10K, and simply needed to fill out a form which the lady is very accustomed to.

I see many other filled form behind the counter as well.


Another /r/churner said they were charged $500 CA fee on Arrival+ for funding $10k to a bank account EVEN THOUGH their CA limit was $6k. Barclay’s excuse? “We authorized it for a loyal customer.” Their terms and conditions explicitly state that at their discretion they may authorize transactions in excess of limits. So why the F**K can we even set a limit in the first place?

Not sure if other banks reserve this power. Check it out so you’re prepared.


That was his own fault. Barclays is a flexible spend. Same with the CA. If he had lowered it to $0, I highly doubt it would flex to $10k.

Brad C

That’s ridiculous. Barclays won’t let me go $1 over for purchases on their flexible spend cards despite being a longtime “loyal” customer.

Very dishonest of them if the CA limit is flexible while the purchase limit isn’t.


if i change cash advance limit to $0 and transactions IS indeed a cash advance transaction, will it be declined? i have never lower it to $0 before so i just want to know what i should expect.
thank you.


My Macerich Mall raised their fee to $4.95 so just use CVS and I still have nostalgic Vanilla reload love stored away. So much more convenient than dealing with the mall ladies and if they show up for work.

[…] Warning: In February, 2016 some readers reported that they were charged a cash advance fee after purchasing Visa gift cards from Simon Malls. It is probably a good idea to lower your cash advance limit to $0 if you plan to purchase these cards. For more info, see: Warning: Simon Malls Now Coding as a Cash Advance for Some People […]