Vanilla Visa Credit Card
The Vanilla Visa gift card is a prepaid, stored-value card that can be purchased at a variety of stores such as CVS, Rite Aid pharmacies and your local 7-Eleven. You can purchase this gift card in denominations of $25, $50 or $100. Activating the card takes no additional effort on your part. Once the card is purchased, it is activated by the cashier and ready for immediate use at restaurants, retail stores and for online purchases.
Aside from being safer to carry than cash, there are a few other benefits to having a Vanilla Visa gift card. (Features and pricing are current as of November 2009)
- There are no monthly fees for the first six months.
- Zero liability fraud protection – If you find that there are fraudulent charges on your card, all you have to do is contact Vanilla Visa immediately and they will reissue you a new card. The new card will carry the same balance as your old card before the fraudulent charges occurred.
- Balance checks can be done anytime by phone or online at no cost.
- You are only spending the amount of money you have stored on the card so there is no need to worry about over-the-limit or overdraft fees.
- Nationwide acceptance – Since this card carries the Visa logo, it is accepted by millions of merchants nationwide.
Fees and Limitations
The Vanilla Visa does come with a few small fees and limitations.
- An activation fee of $4.95 to $6.95 will be charged, depending on the value of the card.
- Low fees after the first six months – If, after six months, you are still carrying a balance on your card, the monthly fee is $2.50.
- If your card becomes lost or stolen – Vanilla Visa will charge you a $5.95 shipping fee to send you a new card.
- This card is not reloadable – Once the balance on the card is spent, you cannot reload more funds on to the card and you will have to purchase a new one.
- The Vanilla Visa is not returnable – You cannot return this card to the merchant or Vanilla Visa for a refund.
- Using your Vanilla Visa at restaurants – When you use this gift card at a restaurant or bar that automatically adds a gratuity, your card may be declined. Here’s an example of how this works: You have a $50 balance on your gift card and your meal was $50. The restaurant automatically adds a gratuity of 20 percent tip of $10, making your total bill $60. Since your total bill (after the 20 percent tip) is $60, your card will be declined. All you have to do is tell the server that you are paying for the tip separately and have him or her charge only the amount of the meal to your Vanilla Visa.
- You cannot use the “Pay-at-the-Pump” feature at gas stations – You will have to go in and pay the cashier. This applies to all prepaid Visa gift cards.
- This card cannot be used at an ATM – The Vanilla Visa does not come with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) and therefore, cannot be used at ATMs.
- The Vanilla Visa cannot be used outside the United States.
- Card balances are only transferable on expired cards – A $5.95 shipping fee will be charged.