Update: This post covers the key announcement information. For more detail on the full registration and ordering process / experience, see this newer post: Simon Visa Gift Card online bulk ordering. Everything you need to know.
Simon Mall has gone live with a program to sell $1K Visa Gift Cards online and these cards can be customized with your name. Customers can register now for this new bulk customer program. This post will outline the key information to get started — I’ll follow up with a second post on how the entire process works afterwards. Note that the process to get approved to buy online requires some manual verification and is not instant (and has some quirks worth noting as you’ll see below), so be patient as Simon is working with limited staffing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve personally already registered and completed the entire ordering process and received my cards, so we have some insight into how this works and I’ll be happy to answer questions about my experience. While the timing is rough in that liquidation will obviously be an obstacle at this point, the news is great for MSers, though there are processing and shipping fees that won’t make this an equal alternative to buying on-mall.
For clarity’s sake, I’m going to post the entire text of the document they sent to us today, but then I’ll follow that with a little info on my personal experience with the process with a more detailed post about that to follow. Here is the entirety of today’s announcement. I recommend reading it through:
In response to Covid-19, we are going to open a new website EARLY for Bulk Consumer customers, giving you the ability to register and purchase Simon Visa Giftcards online.
Please be aware that due to COVID 19 we currently have very limited staff. The registration approval process may take several days, depending on demand.
Questions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org – please do NOT call our customer service line as no one is in the office – ONLY EMAIL US.
PLEASE READ EVERYTHING CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU REGISTER
- PLEASE ENTER ACCURATE INFORMATION WHEN YOU REGISTER – we WILL validate your SSN and other info. If not, you will get declined and we cannot make exceptions.
- After you register. we have to verify your information before we can approve you. You will receive several e-mails from Simon once approved.
- You will be allowed to purchase $1,000 Simon Visa Giftcards (max order value of $25,000 including fees) and have them shipped directly to you.
- YOU CAN HAVE YOUR NAME PRINTED ON THE CARDS.
- Once you place your order, you will get several different system-generated emails, so please just know you will get them.
- There is a $10 Processing Fee per order online – even though you don’t pay this at the mall (this cost is on all online orders – including our online Volume Site for Corporate customers) + Shipping (price will vary based on your location and the shipping method you select). These cannot be waived, so if you’re not willing to pay these, please do NOT register.
- Orders generally ship the business day after the order was placed, as long as the order is in before 7:30pm EST. For example, orders placed on Monday before 7:30pm EST ship out Tuesday evening, etc.
- You will receive an e-mail with the tracking # after your order ships. The shipping notification typically posts the following morning – so in the example above, you would receive an e-mail Wednesday morning with tracking info.
- You MUST activate the order once you receive it (even though the carrier they are attached to indicates the cards are active). Simply open your order by clicking on the arrow to the right of your order in Order History, click on Activate Cards and follow the prompts. Your order will be active in 30-45 minutes.
- All order information is maintained in your Account History – including card information, tracking data, etc.
- We can’t take split tenders, so you can only use one credit card per transaction – you can place multiple smaller orders in the same day as long as the total does not exceed $25K, but you would pay a $10 Processing Fee per order.
- You can add credit cards to your registration but every time you add a card, it will kick your account back into Pending and we have to review and approve additional cards that are added. There is no limit to the number of credit cards you can add.
Visit https://www.simon.com/volume/Register.aspx?reg_type=lpg to begin the process.
If you try to register and get an error “Your email address is already registered. Please choose another one”, send us an email to Giftcardscs@simon.com and tell us you want to buy online and provide the email address you used to try and register. This simply means that your home mall entered your data online and shredded your personal information at the property. We will then move your account over to the online site and proceed with reviewing your account.
Key notes to get started
I recently helped as the test case for this process for Simon, so I’ve been through the entire process. The first thing I want to emphasize by repeating it is that approval is manual. A human being is required to review your information, so be patient as it will likely take a day or two to get approved and start ordering.
That said, you get a bunch of emails along the way updating you on the progress of everything, so the process is as transparent as possible.
Here are the key things worth repeating / expanding upon from the announcement and the process:
- You’ll need to provide a form of ID like a driver’s license number.
- Simon will verify your name / address / SSN / phone number, so you’ll want to be sure that everything you provide will match public records. Note that SSN info is encrypted. This is basically the same requirements for buying in-store as you need to provide this info for large amounts.
- You must provide a payment method during registration. This will be set as your default payment method. You will be able to add additional payment methods after registration, however…
- When you add a new payment method, your account will loop back to require manual verification again. If you want to add an additional payment method, note that it may take a few days for your account to be re-approved.
- You can not split tender online but can place multiple orders as long as you don’t exceed $25K per day
- Activation is still $3.95 per card, but there is an additional $10 processing fee per order whether you buy one card or 25.
- There is an additional shipping and handling fee. Simon is passing along the cost to ship the cards to you. My cards shipped via UPS Ground and arrived in just a couple of days. I believe the cost will vary based on location. For me, it’s $10 whether I buy 1 card or 24 cards. This is in addition to the $10 processing fee. Greg’s shipping was a couple dollars more.
- The cards do not ship activated. The activation process is relatively easy and only requires you to type in card information from a single card to activate the entire order, but note that it does take a day or two from entering your info for the cards to be activated.
- Keep in mid that Amex cards will not earn points for Simon purchases. Don’t use an Amex.
One nice thing is that Simon has some new card designs (as seen at the top). Some of these emphasize the word gift a bit less as seen at the top of this post. The ability to customize with your name is also great for people whose stores want to check that the name on the card matches your ID.
It’s worth noting that a few of the steps are different than what you may be accustomed to with other sites — the manual registration that takes a few days, the cards being shipped un-activated, etc. Each of those minor inconveniences are (in my opinion) far outweighed by the convenience of being able to click and order from the couch. If you live near a Simon Mall, I imagine that you’ll rather avoid the $10 processing fee and enjoy the convenience of paying via split tender by going to the mall to purchase. But for those of us who do not live near a mall and/or who want to buy cards right now (when most businesses are closed) in order to meet a bonus of some sort, this could be huge.
Keep in mind that you’ll pay $10 in processing fees and also shipping (in my case another $10). I wouldn’t recommend buying $24K in a single order unless you have been making purchases of that size on your card for a while. I imagine most of us will be starting with smaller order sizes. On an order of just 3 or 4 cards, my shipping and processing fees would add a cost of $5-7 per card. If I order 10 cards, I’m only adding $2 per card. You’ll have to do the math to be sure it makes sense for you.
Let me be clear: I’m not encouraging anyone to run out and make extra trips to the store to liquidate gift cards in a time when we all need to stay at home as much as possible. If buying now would require you to make extra trips that put the health of your family or others in danger, please just register now and stand ready to order when things begin to resemble business as usual. On the other hand, we’re likely all making a trip to the grocery store every now and then, in which case you may already be going where money orders are sold and may therefore be able to liquidate some quantity without an extra trip to the store. Again, we’re reporting this because it is new and huge for those engaged in MS, but MS isn’t worth putting anyone’s health in danger, so stay safe out there.
Stay tuned for more info.