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Metabank vs Vanilla & My Personal Experience
As many of you know, there is a fantastic deal going on at Office Depot and Officemax stores. Currently they are offering $20 off with the purchase of $300 or more in Visa gift cards.
The main difference between Officemax and Office Depot is the type of Visa that they sell. Officemax sells the amazingly versatile Metabank Visa which can be loaded very easily at Walmart. Office Depot sells Vanilla branded Visas (issued by Bancorp) which don’t work well at Walmart.
Hitting the Town Yesterday
When I was out and about yesterday, I noticed that none of my local Officemax stores had $200 Visas available. The only ones I could find were $100 Visas. On the flip side, the Office Depot stores I visited had a ton of $200 Vanilla Visas. What to do?
Before I go any further, there are many ways to liquidate Vanilla Visas outside of Walmart and Free-quent Flyer actually covered many of them in this post. With that said, I know a lot of you are really comfortable at Walmart, so there is a Vanilla solution.
While a lot of people don’t know this, Vanilla branded Visas work to load Bluebird/Serve at Walmart in denominations of $49.99 or less. So theoretically you could load a $200 card four times and dispose of it. Yes this is tedious, but it may work for some.
Breaking Down My Situation
So now lets go back to my situation. Lets assume I want to liquidate these Visas at Walmart. I can either buy 3 x $200 Visas at Office Depot or 6 x $100 Visas at Officemax. Here are the considerations for each offer:
- 6 x $100 Metabank = 6 loads & $4.30 in profit plus 2,979 points with Ink.
- 3 x $200 Vanilla = 12 loads & $19.15 in profit plus 2,904 points with Ink.
Note: You can purchase all of the cards in one transaction and both discounts ($40 total) will be taken off. There is no need to split the two discounts onto separate transactions.
What isn’t shown in those calculations is just how tedious loading Bluebird/Serve can be, especially when you are using a MoneyCenter kiosk. For that reason, if I was exclusively going to liquidate these cards at Walmart, I would have purchased $100 cards from Officemax.
Fortunately I have other tricks up my sleeve and did end up purchasing a few Vanilla branded Visa cards yesterday. I’ll use the Walmart $49.99 option in a pinch, but it definitely won’t be my strategy. Just because it doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t be good for you.
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