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Vanilla Visa Gift Card / VISA Ripoff Cards

1 San Antonio, TX, United States

As it is once more nearing Christmas time and others out there may be considering “gifting” these VISA prepaid cards, please be forewarned. They would be more aptly named as VISA RIPOFF cards. The one overriding common denominator that users are experiencing with these cards is that they are NOT user friendly. “Vanilla Visa” is one of the worst.

I have received several of these in the past, and it was like stumbling through an obstacle course trying to expend them. It took several unsuccessful attempts to use the cards, several phone calls to the card company’s customer service number (when I could ever get through), diligence, and lots of patience before my prepaid VISA “gift” cards were finally expended and even then, I as the customer had to dole out instructions to the store clerks regarding how to process them. If the purchaser is attempting to purchase something that costs more than the value on the gift 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. Despite the fact that store merchants who sell (and are supposed to accept) these cards have a written contract in place with VISA, supposedly instructing them on how to process these stupid things, most store clerks are clueless on how to go through this ridiculous exercise. Climbing Mount Everest is easier than trying to use one of these cards in a restaurant.

The companies who market these cards are counting on the fact that once purchased, most of the people who were “gifted” (more like stuck) with these cards will give up using them out of sheer frustration and that only adds to the profit the company has already made on the sale of the card itself. Additionally, the credit card issuers get to deduct ridiculous monthly fees from the value of the card when not redeemed over a certain length of time. It is better to gift either cash or a specific store gift card that can be applied toward purchases in a NORMAL fashion without having to go through the confusion and absurd nonsense that most of these VISA prepaid cards (as a whole) inflict on unsuspecting customers.

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