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When we last spoke, I waxed poetic about the ins and outs of purchasing Visa gift cards to manufacture spending.

We talked about the psychological and practical barriers to purchasing the gift cards, and important factors to consider when choosing your weapons.

Today we will talk about a corollary to the pursuit of Visa gift cards: the pursuit of reload cards.


(Still stuck on letter “A”)

The issues are very much the same, hardwired registers, suspicious cashiers, social isolation, but the products are meaningfully different.

Simply put reload cards are far superior to Visa gift cards.

So what is a reload card?

A reload card is another cash equivalent product that is used to transfer cash from a credit card onto a prepaid card.

The difference is that with a reload card you can load the cash directly on to your prepaid card without actually visiting a store. Goodbye Walmart, hello smart phone.


What not going to Walmart feels like to me…

So instead of the possibility of two suspicious cashiers (One where you bought you visa gift cards, and one where you loaded it onto your prepaid card), with these, there is only the possibility of one suspicious cashier.

More importantly, instead of spewing hydrocarbons, making your way to a megastore in boxy-big-box-land, you can stroll around your neighborhood sipping home brewed coffee and stretching your legs*.

What reload cards are out there (that I have personally used?)

1. Vanilla Reloads.

This used to be the best reload card around before office supply stores, and then 7-Eleven’s, and then drugstores, stop selling them with credit cards.

For more on this product of the past: see here. (It’s worth being aware of this product in case you can find a place to purchase these with a credit card near your locale.)

2. Greendot Moneypaks.


Cost to purchase: $4.95.

Maximum load: $500.

The good: easy to find in most drug stores and supermarkets.

The bad: hard to purchase with credit cards, terrible Greendot customer service** (expect to have your Moneypaks frozen periodically.)

Where I have had luck purchasing them: Rite Aid.

What I use them for: reloading my Isis (Softcard) Serve card.

3. Reloadit cards:


Cost to purchase: $3.95

Maximum load: $950!

The good: They are cheap. )The card fee of only 0.4% to load $950 is pretty spectacular.)

The bad: it’s very difficult to buy them with credit cards, and they can’t be used to load Bluebird or Serve cards.

Where I have had luck purchasing them: sporadic Safeway stores.

What I have used them for: paying student loans with, loading a Rush prepaid card. According to the Serve website you can also use these to load your Serve card.  For a more complete list of prepaid cards that you can load with reloadit cards, see here.

*For me, this benefit cannot be overstated. I am not what you would call a “big fan of Walmart.” For more on this perspective, see here, and here.

**Greendot is just the worst. But Greendot is also very useful. Also not going to Walmart or target means an awful lot to me.

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6 Responses to “Reloaders”

  1. Will November 16, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    Alexi- re: Reloadit and Serve…. This is from the website:

    Add Money

    $0 with Direct Deposit

    $0 Cash Reload at CVS/pharmacy®, Family Dollar®, Walmart® and participating 7-ELEVEN® locations

    $0 to add Checks using the American Express Serve® Mobile App

    $0 from a Checking or a Savings Account

    $0 using a Debit or a Credit Card2


    Load cash using MoneyPak®, Vanilla® Reload, or Reloadit™ (Third party fees apply3)

    Is this something that changed? Do they have the wrong information on the Serve website?

    • Miles Dividend M.D. November 16, 2014 at 11:52 pm #


      The “third-party fees” refer to the cost to activate your reload cards. Ie $4.95 for a moneypak and 3.95 for a reloadit.


      • Will November 17, 2014 at 11:52 am #


        I am aware of what “third-party fees” refers to. The point I was making wasn’t about the fees, but the implication by them mentioning Reloadit on their website that Reloadit is an option for loading Serve.

        • Miles Dividend M.D. November 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm #


          I missed the point of your first comment, and it was a good one.

          Thanks for sharing…


          • Will November 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

            I called Serve today and they said Reloadit is indeed an option.

          • Miles Dividend M.D. November 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm #


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