Sunshine and Lollipops

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Do you have any friends who are a little bit too into their kids?

You know the type, they constantly tell you amusing little stories about their kids brilliance and talent.

They’re a bit too quick to whip out the iPhone in order to start showing you pictures of little Carleton with blueberries on his face.


He ate so many berries!

They are apt to stare in amazement at a perfectly normal freeform crayon drawing. Worse they will show it to you, prompting your praise with words like “whimsical” and “gesture.”

The Japanese have a term for this type, And that term is: “oya baka”(or “crazy parent”)

Well even if you don’t have any friends that fit this description, you know at least one blogger like that. And that blogger is me.

And in some ways this tendency is also true in the way that I speak about my fourth kid: The miles game.

Don’t get me wrong, that little Miles has an awful lot of sunshine. And he’s certainly packing no shortage of lollipops.

It’s just not all sunshine and lollipops.

And tonight The miles game was both bad and good. Kind of like a good-natured but tired 4 year old.

I went to my local drugstore and saw that they still had some Moneypaks. (Good)

I purchased them with my credit card without any difficulty. (Good)

I also purchased a Onevanilla Visa Card with my credit card for a little experiment. (Good)

I went home and attempted to load the Moneypak Cards onto my ISIS Serve account. I then got a message telling me that my Moneypak had zero dollars on it. (Very bad.)

I still have all of my receipts. So it’s not really terrible. I will get my money back one way or the other. It just means I’ll probably have to spend about 20 or 30 minutes on the phone with some unhelpful customer service agents from Green Dot tomorrow. ***

But remember I never manufacture spend with money I cannot forward to be without for a little while so it’s truly not the end of the world.

But on to the experiment:

I used today for the first time.

You will recall that is a website that allows you to pay certain bills using debit cards, including prepaid Visa debit cards.

Before you rush out and use this, there are some rules to be aware of to avoid being shut down:

  • No more than $999 loaded per transaction.
  • No more than four transactions per account per month
  • No more than $1000 sent to each account per day.
  • (for a nice write up of many of the rules that are in place in the future direction of evolvemoney see here)

As a test case I pre-paid $500 on my SallieMae student loan account today and it was very easy.

  1. I simply looked up Salliemae on the evolvemoney website.
  2. I entered in my student loan account number and full name.
  3. I entered in the amount I wanted to pay.
  4. I entered in the gift card number and expiration date and security code for the Onevanilla card I had bought earlier.
  5. I clicked submit, and voilà.
  6. (I will of course check to make sure the payment went through in a couple of days.)

So the take-home is quite clear: evolvemoney is a great way to use your credit card to indirectly pay for bills. (It’s a real sunshiny lollipop. )

*** The moneypak development is more of a poopsicle. So why not turn it into a “teachable moment?”

Here are my top three rules for speaking with customer service agents.

  1. Always be nice and polite to the CSA. Treat them like human beings (unless they’re one of those robotic voices that answers the phone sometimes. Then you can swear at them and not feel bad at all.)
  2. If the customer service agent is being difficult, either politely ask to speak to their manager, or politely get off the phone and call back to get a more helpful customer service agent.
  3. Don’t forget rule number one.

(I think that being nice to customer service agents on the phone is one of those things that may feel a little fake at first, but by pretending to be nice you actually become nicer and it ends up benefiting your own mood and outlook in nontrivial ways.

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7 Responses to “Sunshine and Lollipops”

  1. SJKPDX August 7, 2014 at 12:42 am #

    Looks like Isis/Serve did away with all Moneypak loads recently?

  2. Miles Dividend MD August 7, 2014 at 10:55 am #


    I don’t think so. What brings you to that conclusion?


    • SJKPDX August 7, 2014 at 11:28 am #

      Newbie mistake 😛 I thought you could load moneypaks on the Serve/Isis websites. I found the Moneypak load page. Apologies!

      Thank you for all your help, your diagram and how-tos have made meeting spend requirements SO much easier (and less stressful/confusing.)

  3. VL August 7, 2014 at 3:32 pm #


    This could be a really amazing find for many doctors. So many of us come out of residency with $100,000+ in loans that will be paid over a span of many years. The ability to pay off these loans with a CC (albeit with the small vig of the debit card fee) could make meeting minimum spend much easier, considering these payments have to be made regardless.

    I hope you will keep us updated on whether your payment goes through with or without any issues. If it works well (and I don’t see why it shouldn’t), I actually think this is a bit of a game-changer.

    Thanks again Alexi!

    • Miles Dividend M.D. August 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm #


      Thanks for your encouraging words.

      One word of caution for dealing with Sallie Mae: they are a terrible company. There is a no easy way of getting them to apply extra payments in the manner that you wish them to.

      I am simply using this method to make extra payments on the principle. I’m sure it is possible to make monthly payments in this manner as well, but it will take a lot of time on the phone to their call center located in the Philippines.

      Speaking from experience, with Sallie Mae you can’t just send the money and assume they will do the right thing wants it.

      That being said it is a very fun way of paying back student ones!


  4. VL October 21, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    Hi Alexi,

    Out of curiosity, how did everything go w/ the payment of Sallie Mae via Evolve? How did they ultimately apply the payment (assuming it went through)?

    I’m thinking about using this primarily to meet some min spend requirements by paying off some student loans; I think it could be a great way to do so. Will this be something you utilize more going forward?


    • Miles Dividend M.D. October 21, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

      Everything went great. I pay off an additional $1000 a month towards my private loans each month now. ($500 from my wife’s evolve account and $500 from mine)

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