Where To Buy Pin-Enabled Gift Cards for Manufactured Spend


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pin enabled gift card
Pin-enabled gift card sold at Staples.com

Updated: 1/2/2016

Why Pin-Enabled Cards

Visa and Mastercard gift cards with pin numbers are popular in the manufactured spending world because you can use most of them to load Bluebird/Serve at Walmart and buy money orders at certain stores. This page is a reference covering where you can buy these cards.

Loading Bluebird/Serve

Once you set a pin on these cards, you can load Bluebird/Serve at the Walmart kiosk (how-to) or at a register by using them as a debit card. These are considered “cash loads” and are limited to $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month on both Serve and Bluebird.

See: How to Liquidate Prepaid Visa & Mastercard Gift Cards

Where To Buy Pin Enabled Gift Cards

pin enabled gift card
Staples and Officemax carry $200 cards that come in either the old yellow packaging or the new purple packaging.

Office Supply Stores

Staples & Officemax have both Visa and Mastercard gift cards in fixed denominations up to $200. (Officemax also carries variable load Visa & Mastercards, but they are cash only.) The Visa cards sold by both stores are issued by Metabank and the Mastercard gift cards are issued by U.S. Bank.

  • Costs: $200 cards cost $6.95, $100 cards cost $5.95
  • Verdict: Good to use with a 5x earning card such as the Chase Ink Plus.

Office Depot sells Vanilla branded gift cards. (Variable load Vanilla cards are cash only, while fixed value cards can be purchased with a credit card.) Despite being pin-enabled, these cannot be loaded to Bluebird/Serve at Walmart in denominations over $50 and are not generally recommended. They do work to load Serve at Rite Aid or Family Dollar.

  • Costs: $200 cards cost $6.95, $100 cards cost $5.95
  • Verdict: Staples & Officemax are better options.

Grocery Stores

pin enabled gift card
Variable load Visa & Mastercard gift cards sold at Kroger. Both are issued by U.S. Bank.

Most grocery stores will allow the purchase of Visa/Mastercard gift cards with credit cards. Grocery stores generally sell variable load cards which can be loaded up to $500 for a fee of $5.95. Alternatively, they sell $100 fixed value cards for $5.95. Availability and prices will vary by store and region.

Cards issued by U.S. Bank, Metabank and Sunrise Bank have all been confirmed to work in the past.

  • Costs: Generally $5.95 for a variable load card up to $500 and $5.95 for a $100 fixed value card.
  • Verdict: Good easy way to meet minimum spend. Try to use a card with a category bonus such as the Old Amex Blue.


Walmart sells $500 variable load gift cards for a $4.94 fee. (Some stores carry cards with a slightly higher fee.) Most stores allow you to use a credit card, but you can generally only purchase one card per transaction.

  • Costs: $4.94 per $500 card at most stores.
  • Verdict: Can be convenient since you may already be at Walmart, but most cards will not earn a category bonus.

Drug Stores

Many drug stores have moved to cash only for Visa/Mastercard purchases. Depending on the region, Walgreens, RiteAid and CVS may sell gift cards with a credit card. CVS has a limit of $2,000 per day, but many stores have moved to a cash only policy.

  • Costs: $5-6 for a $500 variable load card. (Most drug stores sell Vanilla gift cards.)
  • Verdict: Look for a card with a category bonus at drug stores such as the Old Amex Blue.

Gas Stations

Some gas stations carry prepaid Visa/Mastercard gift cards as well. Like with grocery stores, availability will vary by region and brand. Many gas stations no longer allow the purchase of Visa/Mastercard gift cards with credit cards.

  • Cost: Varies by region.
  • Verdict: Once again look for category bonuses. A number of cards pay 2x or 3x at gas stations.


pin enabled gift card
Visa card issued by Simon Mall for $3.95 per $500.

Simon & Macerich Malls sell $500 Visa gift cards for a $3.95 fee. These gift cards are issued by Metabank and can be loaded to Bluebird/Serve at Walmart.

  • Cost: $3.95 per $500
  • Verdict: Best for meeting minimum spend since purchases at Simon Mall don’t earn a category bonus on any credit cards.

Other Retailers

Other retailers also sell Visa & Mastercard gift cards. Many of them don’t allow the use of credit cards, but some do. Sears is a good example. In some stores they sell the same $200 Visa cards sold by Staples & Officemax.


pin enabled gift card
Gift Card Mall sells cards in a variety of designs, but they are expensive. Rubber ducky is my favorite!

Giftcards.com sells $500 Visa gift cards online. Since shipping and purchase costs are high, this generally isn’t the most cost effective way to purchase cards, but sometimes they run promotions.

  • Cost: $6-8 per $500 without a promotion.
  • Verdict: Not really good unless you want to put forth minimal effort to manufacture spend.

Staples sells $300 Visa gift cards on their website for a $8.95 fee or $200 cards for a $6.95 fee. The cards are issued by Metabank and can be loaded to Bluebird/Serve at Walmart. (How to activate these cards.)

  • Cost: $200 card for $6.95 fee or $300 cards for $8.95 fee.
  • Verdict: Use with 5x earning card such as the Chase Ink or Amex SimplyCash.

Buying Money Orders

Walmart and some grocery chains will allow you to purchase money orders by using the pin on these cards. I highly caution against this unless you know exactly what you are doing. In the past people have had their bank accounts shutdown for depositing too many money orders.


Pin-enabled Visa/Mastercard gift cards are still widely available to be purchased with credit cards. The key is finding the right store and the right category bonus to outstretch your value. Try to avoid Vanilla branded cards since they will not work at Walmart.

Did I miss any gift card opportunities? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. “Office Depot sells Vanilla branded gift cards.” is that still true? if so do they still allow CC for these purchases? That would be the most optimal way to earn 5x and cashout to redbird. I just doubt this still exists.

    • Let me clarify. They sell both variable load Vanilla gift cards and fixed value Vanilla gift cards.

      Variable loads are cash only. (All variable load cards at OD are cash only.)

      Fixed value cards can be purchased with a credit card (Like Staples & OM), but they are still Vanilla branded and do not work with Bluebird/Serve as far as I know.

      • alright, that’s what I assumed. Only have one OD within miles of me and it is not a good data point at that (constant cashier issues with using CC for GCs)
        wonder what will comes with the staples OD merger. hopefully they stay competitive with GC deals

        • Thanks for bringing it up. I added clarification to the post as well.

          I’m not sure what the merger will bring, but Staples has been decent with deals.

          I don’t think we will see many more of those fantastic Officemax instant rebate deals though.

      • Vanillas load onto BB/Serve at WM. You just have to do under $50 loads. I’ve already unloaded almost 6K worth this way on KATE after the Easter weekend OD no-fee bonanza!

      • as of 2 weeks ago when the $200 vanilla GCs rang up no fee at OM and OD, I bought some and were able to drain some of them to Serve via Kate at $49.99 each transaction. They won’t go through for more than that amount but for $49.99 and less, they still work. That was back in March so I can’t guarantee if it’s still working today.

        • Really hard to tell how long it will last, but I think all of the “hobbyists” have probably loaded it to their cards, so if I had to guess I would say it will probably still be there. Of course, that is just a guess.

  2. Drug stores and gas stations generally sell Vanilla branded cards (which can’t be used at Walmart)…

  3. Shawn, do the Visa GC bought at chain grocery stores qualify for the category bonus’ on Am Ex Blue or Everyday cards?

    • In my experience they do. I have had success as Kroger and Safeway branded stores along with Albertson’s. They count just like normal purchases.

  4. I’m curious, Can I use the manufactured spending techniques to load up an Amex Serve card and then use that serve card to pay the mortgage’s on my rental homes? What is the best strategy to handle this? This would move about 4K into my spend category every month.

  5. Good post…
    My question is, can I use the pin enabled giftcards to load to Serve online or do I have to go to a Walmart? I just applied for a Serve card and I do not physically have it as of yet.

    Manufactured spending in NYC area is becoming extremely difficult to pull off…

    • Unfortunately pin-enabled gift cards to do not work to load Serve online. They will ask you to verify the card is in your name and it just won’t work. They can only be loaded in-store.

  6. I have amex Everyday, Chase Freedom, chase Sapphire preffered and Americard. Which of these cards should I use to earn the most points when I purchase gift cards. Sorry I’m new to this, I may be asking a redudant question. Response is greatly appreciated.

    • It really depends on where you are buying gift cards. The best strategy is to buy gift cards at a store that you get a category bonus in. For example, your Amex Everyday gets 2X at supermarkets, so they may be a good option with that card. Freedom also gets 5X this quarter at supermarkets.

      It takes a little work, but you want to match up the right card with the right category to make sure it is profitable.

  7. Any Visa Gift Card rebates/deals out there? The Office Depot $10 rebate on 2 x $50 VGC expired last week. Thanks.

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