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Vanilla Visa - Gift Card / Rip off

1 United States Review updated:

"Vanilla Visa" gift cards are a RIP OFF! Do not buy one nor consider giving it as a gift. The decrease the amount of the Gift card every month. When you try to use it, it declines over and over. When you FINALLY get to use it by applying half the money you were supposes to have... they the C>C. continues to decline!

I will NEVER get on of these again...further, I will email EVERYONE at work, neighbors and friends alerting them of this rip off Gift card.


More Vanilla Visa - Gift Card Complaints & Reviews

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  • Do
      2nd of Jan, 2009
    -1 Votes

    I (and several other family members) had the exact same problem occur (just after Christmas) with this ripoff card. After calling Vanilla VISA Customer Service and FINALLY getting an actual customer service rep on the line, I was given a little more information explaining the continual card "declines" I was experiencing.

    The first time my Visa gift card was declined, the company blamed it on IT technical issues they were supposedly experiencing at the time. THEN I found out that if the purchaser is attempting to purchase something that costs more than the value on the card, the store clerk must calculate the cost difference in ADVANCE and collect the difference in cost from the customer BEFORE scanning the Visa gift card. If the store tries to scan the card FIRST (applying it against the total purchase price) and collect the cost difference from the customer second, the card will be declined. Even though these merchants are supposed to have some kind of contract in place with Visa instructing them as to the exact sequence in which to process these transactions, the problem is that MOST store clerks are CLUELESS as to how to go through this ridiculous exercise.

    The process should not be this difficult and the burden should NOT be placed on the customer to have to teach store clerks how to process this stupid card!

    Because of all these card acceptance hassles and the fact that the card continually decreases in value over time, as far as I am concerned, these VISA gift cards (and others like them) are a ripoff and a scam. If the givers of these cards really care about the recipients they are trying to gift, they should stay away from these cards. Better to give cash or an actual store gift card that will be applied against the purchase price in a NORMAL fashion, without having to go through this nonsense.

  • Ir
      26th of Jan, 2009
    -1 Votes

    I bought a Vanilla Visa gift card for my husband in June of last year. Beginning in December and January they took out a $2.50 service charge. The back of the card says that after the 13th month from purchase they will take out a $1.50 per month. I called and they said they changed it and had the right to do so as it states in the paperwork that comes with the card. Interesting that ALL of the cards say the same thing! However they started in December, whih is the 6th month and I literally had to argue with the girl on the phone that December was only the 6th month. Finally they credited Decembers charge. The card states in several places that the balance never expires. Well, if they are taking out $2.50/month until the balance reaches 0 doesn't that mean that it expires? According to them the balance doesn't expire and although the card has an expiration date, you can pay $5.95 and be reissued a new card. My husband's card expires in Nov of 2010. By then his balance will have been depleted from the service charges every month. So in essence doesn't that mean the balance expires? I feel like this is a HUGE scam! I paid $25 for the card plus $4.95 activation fee and I lost $10 so far, just because my husband had nothing he wanted to buy at this time. So he had to rush and buy something so that he could get the most of the card. On the same note, my son received a $50 Vanilla Visa on his birthday in May of last year and they began taking out $2.50 starting in November. He has plenty of toys and clothes so I was going to save it for a rainy day. So now I will have to go buy a Target gift card with the remaining balance so that I can get the most, and Target's cards never expire, but now I am concerned that I won't even be able to do that. His card says exactly the same thing as my husband's. I have filed a complaint with the better business bureau asking for a full refund but who knows if that will ever happn.

  • Gi
      30th of Mar, 2009
    -3 Votes

    I've gotta disagree, I use these cards alot and most of the time I don't keep them around for long. If you actually take the due diligence to learn about a financial product before buying one, you wouldn't be surprised that gift cards charge fees. Why? Because they are not actual banks that invest your money. You have to pay for the space in the servers to keep all your transaction history and if you keep it open too long, it gets expensive. This is NOT by far a savings tool and doesn't claim to be. Would you keep an outstanding balance on a normal credit card that charges $30 to $60 annually for a service fee? $1.50 a month or $2.50 a month may seem high but that's only after 6 months. Pay attention and maybe you won't feel ripped off when your really just ignorant.

  • Ap
      18th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Hey Gugablue9, I understand companies have got to make a profit, but scamming people is wrong. when you do take the due diligence to read the card agreement that came with you're purchase and it says "1.50 after 13 months", that's what you agreed to. they they go and change the terms (hidden in the website) to 2.50 after 7 months, yet i'm getting fees of 1.50 the 2nd month after i buy the thing, 3.50 on the 3rd month, 2.00 on the 4th month, and none of the customer service people can give me a straight answer other than "i know it really doesn't make sense, but you'd have to talk to "corporate"", THAT'S CRAP.

  • On
      20th of May, 2009
    +1 Votes

    they ARE a scam. I bought a fresh $100 visa and ive tried making purchases with it in several different sites, ive registered it on their website, sat on phone with their customer service and they basically told me im beat. I cant use this card and i want to KEEEL Them. hundred dollar piece of plastic.


    REaAAAAL Tickedoff

  • Ap
      21st of May, 2009
    +2 Votes

    Hey Onion,

    i filed a complaint with the BBB out of Columbus Ga (i think, that's where this Vanilla Visa is registered to) and was able to get all of my money back. It took a few weeks, but I told them that the card kept being declined everywhere i tried to use it and also about all the fees added sporadically (to mine) which ate up my entire balance with in a few months time. Vanilla Visa claims that it is something the stores are doing incorrectly, and "blah, blah, blah" about how it's not their fault, BUTTTTTTTT, as a COURTESY, they reset the card to the balance it was suppose to be. To use it though, you must know the EXACT-TO THE PENNY- amount that is available on the card and tell who ever is ringing it up exactly how much to charge to that card. Otherwise...another embarrassing DECLINE. I'm never buying these cards again. from now on, i buy Walmart, Target, ect cards where then whom ever you give them to can exchange it for another gift card, whether for Visa, Applebee's, ect. GOOD LUCK.

  • Al
      23rd of Jun, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I agree, I bought one also and try to use it on line and different stores and they wouldn't accept the card. They say the company that issued the card is restricted. NOBODY wants to accept this card. I called vanilla visa and try to get a refund but, they say they couldn't refund my money. These guys are criminals. The Bureu of businnes should close this guys. I will never buy another vanilla card again.

  • Es
      29th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    As upset as I was about the new service charge (that didn't apply when the card was purchased for me), I wrote to them via email and 10 minutes later, they responded back and restored my card to its full value. That is outstanding customer service! Lesson learned: ALWAYS read the fine print! And use gift cards ASAP!:)

  • Ba
      10th of Jul, 2009
    -1 Votes

    I bought a $50.00 visa for my daughter as a birthday gift in April.
    I have been told it was not activated and they would take care of it.
    Here it is July and it is still being rejected.
    I bought the card at Walmart and they say I have to talk to Vaniila .
    All I get is a dumb recording which does not address my problem.
    I'm really ticked off

  • So
      18th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I bought a $50.00 vanilla visa gift card for my sister's birthday. She has not been able to use it anywhere, I called to the number on the back of the card and they said that the card was not activated properly at the store, went to the store and they don't have a clue on what to do about it, they also called vanilla visa and the visa-representative asked for the numbers on the card and the serial on the outside of the paper card holder and now they are saying that the numbers don't match. Implying that I've changed the card and I'm trying to get the money back.
    It's unbelievable that nobody tried to help me, Dollar General or Vanilla Visa, they just simply STOLE my money.

    I will NEVER, EVER buy a vanilla visa card again, this was my first time and the last one. I have also told as many people as I can about this ripp off.


  • Ra
      19th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I think I have to disagree. I actually like the card. I do not own my own credit card so when I need to make an online purchase, I just grab one of these things. It's quick, simple, and easy. The only downside is the $6.95 I have to pay to buy the card. After the sale, I usually am left with about $2.00. I go buy a drink. Now I am left with $0.20. So in total I lose about $7.00, but that is not so bad. It comes in handy when I want to buy something that requires a credit card, which requires my mom to know about...

  • So
      28th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    These products are absolutely nothing but a scam for the card companies or whoever provides them. It may be one thing to knowingly purchase one of these cards for personal needs but to give and receive as a gift, which is most likely the majority of uses, is a pure scam as most people would have no clue to check into the card details. What kind of world do we live in where people give a gift with good-hearted intentions, only to be victims of this scam. I will do everything I can to save others from suffering from this scam.

  • Bo
      1st of Nov, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I bought this 25 dollar vanilla visa card to buy some stuff online and now i can't because it's declines. I registered the card with paypal, and now my balance is 21 dollars and 2 dollar balance on paypal.. what the ###? This card is a piece of ###!!! It declines everytime i use it online lol

  • Bo
      1st of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    piece of ###! Declines online!

  • Br
      7th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    My young daughters had received Visa gift cards from their uncle and, god bless their hearts, decided to save them up so they could buy stereos for their rooms. They tucked them away until they had collected enough over the course of xmas and their birthdays. But when we went to use them, I was informed that there wasn't enough money on their cards. How could that be? The cards totaled $150 and the stereos were only $129.99. So, I contacted Visa and they informed me that each card had declined by $2 a month due to admin fees.
    WTF? Admin fees? For not using a gift card? I understand an admin fee for a regular credit card, but a gift card?
    And get in Ontario, Canada, the government passed a law in October 2007 banning both expiry dates and admin fees on gift cards. Yet these ### at Visa have completely ignored it and are still charging fees.
    Honestly, I have told everyone I know to stay away from these Visa My Treat gift cards. Maybe they should change the name to Visa Our Treat gift cards as they are scamming consumers out of countless dollars for doing nothing.
    For more on this, check out my blog:

  • Gi
      9th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    I never really realized how much of a scam these cards are until I started thinking analyzing my usage of a card. I received a rebate as a gift card and I'm tracking every penny, it's a pain in the ###. You have to enter your info into the site in order to find the balance, it's a pain to split purchases since many merchants get irritated with you ask.

    The credit card companies issuing these cards know exactly what their doing and I feel they are capitalizing on people's laziness, complacency and inability to give gifts.
    People may have stopped giving cash because it doesn't look like you put too much thought into it- not that a prepaid visa is any better, but at least you got off your ### to purchase a gift for someone. Personally, don't care, but I can imagine there are many people who feel that way.

    My question is:
    What is the percentage of people who actually use the full(every penny) amount on the card before it expires or starts to collect fees?
    Just think, if 200, 000 people receive a card and half of them(100, 000 people) leave .50 cents on it to expire- that's 50, 000 dollars on just .50 cents! So, what if 100, 000 people leave 5 dollars, that's half a million dollars for the issuing company. See what time saying?
    In dealing with these cards:
    It is imperitive that the person receiving the card track every single penny of it. How realistic is that when you have other cards or other ways to pay things? It's very easy to forget that you have it, especially when it only has a few bucks on it. I'm willing to bet many people don't track these cards and use them to the fullest.

    That being said, the other day I received another gift card and will go to the post office and buy a money order with it. It will probably cost a couple bucks, but I'd rather give the post office my cash than a legal scammer.

    All we have to do is put out the word and let people know that it's a scam.
    For the few that don't believe it's a scam, I don't know what to tell you; I guess keep buying them, wasting your time tracking them and giving the credit card companies an opportunity to track your purchases as well(perhaps selling demographic info as well).

  • Ph
      9th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have virtually the same complaints. Received a card for Xmas 2008. Expiration date wasn't until 7/10. Used it in 11/09 and it was declined. They kept saying to bring it back to where you purchased it or fax in the receipt. It was a gift from my out of state sister. Absolutely horrendous. I never had this experience with ANY OTHER gift card I've bought or used. Why does this company put the burden on the customer. On top of that, the cust. service is snotty.

    Never purchase a vanilla visa gift card!! WAste of time and money.

  • Va
      22nd of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    "Vanilla Visa Gift Card" are the biggest ripp off i've seen. I spent my time setting it up on paypal, waiting for the 4 verification numbers confirming it as a card. Just to find out that it was declined by multiple online websites that wont accept the card. Big waste of time, plus the $1.85 paypal charges to verify that it is yours. Without reading throughly i clicked the verification button 3 times to find out that my card was charged $5.55. When the card was declined i decided to try to purchase the item via google checkout, i went through the procedure giving my information to find it was charged another $1.00. After having this card for one day i have already spent $6.55 on nothing. Horrible card, i will email friends and family telling them to NEVER purchase one of these horrid cards.

  • Ro
      1st of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    i purchased a vanilla visa gift card and had the same problems as most of you. i was unable to use the card for a few days while they re-booted their system that was down when i purchased my card. i called in to ask why i was having the trouble using the card, and they said the system was down when i purchased it and they were experiencing "technical difficulties". i faxed a copy of the sales receipt and they filled out a trouble ticket for me; which was the required action to remedy this situation. 48 hrs later, i was able to use my card to make purchases at

    although i was extremely irritated when i first learned i had to wait to use my card, i took the necessary steps and let time take its course. i would recommend vanilla visa to anyone, but with this advice: "USE THE CARD RIGHT AWAY, DONT LET IT SIT AROUND". if you procrastennate on using the card, you will incur the service charges that are clearly laid out in the card agreement.

  • Tg
      12th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    NEVER BUY OR GIVE A VANILLA GIFT CARD. IT'S A RIP-OFF. I HAVE A GIFT CARD FOR $50.00 WITH AN EXPIRATION DATE OF 07/10. I received it at Christmas time last year. Tried to use it in November, and it only had a balance fof $7.50 cents on it, although it showed only debits of $22.50 only for fees and no purchases. I was charged five months of fees at $2.50 per month. The back of my card says I will be charged $1.50 per month after the 13th month. They started charging me a fee afer 6 months, and at a rate of $2.50. Same thing happened to me on another Vanilla Gift Card received at the same time

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