Reload Cards with Free Bill Pay

Signing up for credit cards can be a great way to earn points, miles, and cash back.  However, meeting the minimum spend requirements for those offers can be tough.  One way to increase credit card spend is to use prepaid reloadable cards that offer bill pay services, as follows:

  1. Use a credit card to buy Visa or MasterCard debit gift cards (find best options here)
  2. Use those gift cards as debit cards, in-store, to reload a prepaid reloadable card.
    Note: many stores accept cash only for reloads. The trick is finding the local store that allows loads to be paid by debit card.
  3. Use the prepaid card’s bill pay feature to pay bills that can’t usually be paid by credit card: mortgage, rent, or even your credit card bill.

For advice regarding using these cards to increase credit card spend, please see: Best practices for prepaid card manufactured spend.

The following table lists prepaid reloadable cards that offer free bill pay services.  Unless otherwise noted, stores typically charge $3.95 or $4.95 for each reload.

Issuer Card Monthly Fee * Free in-store reload option? Reload Network
Amex Bluebird Free Walmart Walmart only
Amex One VIP Serve $1 Waivable Yes Vanilla Network, REloadit
Amex Serve (Blue) $1 Waivable No Vanilla Network, REloadit
Amex Serve FREE Reloads (Green) $4.95 Yes Vanilla Network, REloadit
Amex Serve Cash Back $5.95 No Vanilla Network, REloadit
Bancorp Chime Free No ? (documentation mentions “cash load partners”)
Bancorp Kaiku $3 Waivable No Visa ReadyLink
Bancorp T-Mobile Visa Prepaid $5 Waivable No REloadit, Visa ReadyLink
Green Dot GoBank $8.95 Waivable Walmart Greendot
Green Dot Green Dot Prepaid $5.95 Waivable No Greendot
Green Dot Walmart MoneyCard** $3 No Walmart, Green Dot
MetaBank AccountNow Gold $9.95 No Greendot, REloadit, Western Union, Visa ReadyLink, Moneygram
MetaBank AccountNow Classic Free No Greendot, REloadit, Western Union, Visa ReadyLink, Moneygram
MetaBank RushCard Unlimited Plan $5.95-$7.95 No Greendot, Western Union, Moneygram
MetaBank RushCard Pay as You Go Free No Greendot, Western Union, Moneygram
MetaBank PayPower $5.95 No Visa ReadyLink, REloadit

* Waivable: Many prepaid cards waive monthly fees when you have a set amount of money deposited to the account each month.  Please see each card’s cardmember agreement for details.

** Walmart MoneyCard: Several versions of the MoneyCard are available in-store, including one with free reloads at Walmart.

Reload Network Links

Follow these links to find stores in your area that support each reload network.  Not all stores will accept debit card payments for reloads — many are cash-only.

Prepaid cards that offer bill pay for a fee

  • H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard
  • Netspend (Related cards: PayPal Prepaid, Brink’s, Pink NetSpend, BlueNetSpend)

Prepaid cards that do not offer bill pay

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Comments

  1. The T-Mobile card looks interesting but the fine print says checks, including money orders, can take 10 days to clear. TEN DAYS!!!!!!

  2. I’ve been using the T-Mobile for a little over a year, mainly as a supplement to my recently-shuttered Serves. Here in the Midwest we have Meijer which allows debit card loads, and the $3 load fees are reimbursed for $300+ loads. However, recently my Meijer store has started cracking down on loading over $2,000 per day (they have probably seen an influx of loaders due to the Serve shutdowns). So I recently tried loading at Walmart ($3.74 fee instead of $3) – no problem, except the fee was not reimbursed, despite the account agreement stating that all value loads of $300 or more will be reimbursed. I called (typical low-end CSRs), and they simply said loads at some stores get the fee reimbursed and others don’t and by the way there is no list, but so sorry we can’t do anything. They did mention Giant Eagle loads qualify for fee reimbursement, but Walmart does not. So if you are OK with the load fee, Walmart works. But be careful loading anywhere other than Meijer and Giant Eagle if you are expecting the load fee to be reimbursed.

    I’ve been keeping my billpays around $1,000 or less per day (making multiple payments over several days if I want to pay more than $1,000 to the same payee). I’m sure I’ll still be shut down eventually, but so far so good.

    • Mike, WM is in the Visa Readylink network and according to the fee schedule those are not reimbursed. “Retail” loads are reimbursed– but like you say there doesn’t seem to be a list of those locations.

    • Mike – I assume the loads at Meijer are only at the customer service desk? Or can cashiers do these? Any issues with Meijer people rejecting the use of gift cards as debit cards?

      Thanks!

      • Customer service only. Never had a problem using a gift card to load. Sometimes they ask to see the T-Mobile card to confirm its personalized – but they have never asked about payment source. Vanillas (both mastercard and visa), Sunnies and Bancorp cards (giftcards.com) work great. The only issue I’ve had are with the Metabanks (the type sold by OfficeMax, and coincidentally Meijer) – for some reason their system defaults to credit for those, and there is no red/yellow arrows like at walmart to change it to debit. There is a workaround on the store’s side – if the CSR hits the “payments” button, they can then select debit, before you swipe.
        Also, they are very easy to work with on split payments

    • Hi Mike,
      I am also looking for an alternative since lost all my Serves. What is the monthly limit on T-Mobile loads? I also have Meijer not too far in Niles, IL is that the one you are suing by any chance?

  3. thanks for this, great list. it would be great to have a column saying where/if you can load with a debit card – that’s kind of the whole point right? or are all of them possible by debit if you can find a place (not hardcoded or willing cashier)? obviously all of the official rules/sites for these cards say DD or cash only.

  4. My local (SF Bay Area) T-Mobile store told me the card is being discontinued, I believe the guy said by the end of February.

  5. I got the RushCard and do not recommend anyone else bother. I haven’t been shutdown or anything, it’s just the most worthless POS website to use. Hopefully AccountNow or Kaiku will be less flaky.

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