Vanilla Visa Gift Cardit won't work

This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer

My mother bought my brother and I our own $50 Vanilla Visa gift cards for our birthdays from CVS. We soon found out they were declined everywhere we tried them. I called the number on the back of the card and the customer service people just gave me a run around about how I was just doing it wrong. I tried everything they told me, but I finally got fed up. I went to the website and ordered another one myself. I got it in the mail, and this one didn't work either! When I activated it, the website told me I still had a $50 balance, but when i called it told me there was no money on the card! So my mom just wasted $100. Not to mention my sister-in-law looked this company up on google, and there have been tons of people with this problem. It has to be a scam.


  • Sh
    Shannon Nov 30, 2008
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I had $350 worth of these cards given to me at my bridal shower last year and found out they were now only worth $70, so I filed a complaint with the better business bureau and vanilla visa sent me a check for $350 and zeroed out my gift cards. I haven't cashed the check yet but I suggest that everyone who got burned by these cards file a claim against them too. I filed the claim on a Wednesday and the following week the check was delivered by FedEx. Good Luck!

    0 Votes
  • Do
    Donna Dec 31, 2008

    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.

    -1 Votes
  • Ry
    RyanHuynh Feb 02, 2009

    I tried to use this card for a game online. I went all the way down to 7 eleven from my house with my brother and we each bought a $50 card. We tried online to buy but it wouldnt go through. This card has to be a scam. It is pissing me off so bad and this company should get sued and people who bought these cards should get a full refund.

    0 Votes
  • Da
    Daniel Feb 16, 2009

    I Know! I bought one of these for an online game. The first time I put it into paypal, it worked. I was happy. But, when I went to go buy a second $25 card, paypal wouldn't take it! I looked all over the internet for a solution, but I got nothing! I had a replacement card delivered to my house, and that didn't work either! I was so desperate that I went to buy ANOTHER $25 card, But, when putting it into paypal, guess what! It didn't work. I got so mad I went to call the company, but their operators were full. I'm definitely going to file a claim with these people. I'm SO mad.

    0 Votes
  • Ja
    jaylee Feb 21, 2009

    I bought 3 $100 ones and after alot of hasseling with them, I found out that my cards had the incorrect CVV code printed on the back AND you can't use them online if the merchant verifies anything other than the CVV code & Zip code, that they don't store the address that they say they require for online purchases. I'm filing a complaint with my attorney general and the BBB.

    0 Votes
  • Ru
    Rupesh Mar 18, 2009

    I am very mad. My son go $100 gift card and I told him to save it for disney trip and because of stupid service charge it had $50. How can I report this? There should be some kind of law... I am filling a complaint with BBB.

    0 Votes
  • Ap
    april Apr 18, 2009

    i got a $25 card for christmas. Had the same problem of it being declined everywhere i went. It finally took it for $12, and i knew that was the only time i had used it. I was about to throw it away, but curiousity got me and i wanted to see how much was left on it since it was being declined everywhere. Looked on line and it said that i was being charged service fees 2 months after i got the card. 2 MONTHS??!? And different amounts each time. by the time i was actually able to use the card, service fee's had eaten up $13 bucks not even a year after having it. I called customer service, where i couldn't understand a word this guy was saying and he clearly did not want to talk to me. I kept getting put on hold for 10-15 min at a time, where he was "checking with his supervisor". At this point, it's simply principal that i'm arguing for $13 bucks. I ask for this "supervisor" and she says she'll refund me 3.50 as a "curteosy". that they changed their agreement, from 1.50 service fees 13 months after activation to 2.50 after 7 months, which they can do at any time and as many times as they want. She told me that I was taking up too much of her time, and there is no way she'll refund any more. I explained that i had tried to use the card several times, and by the time it did actually take, I did not even have the opportunity to use the full amount because of the fees taken starting 2 months after activation. but she says it wouldn't accept becuase of the something the stores were doing incorrectly and that is not their fault. I've alwaysed been loyal to VISA, but that will change if this is how they run their company.

    0 Votes
  • Tb
    tbeer Jun 04, 2009

    Silverton bank fails.
    I received one of these as a gift and when i got around to using it, the balance had been depleted.
    The bank that issues the cards has been seized by the FDIC, looks like they were involved in other shady business. I feel sorry for the people who got scammed

    0 Votes
  • Ev
    Evoxx Jun 29, 2009

    These cards are total scam and should be illegal. The expiration date is purposely misleading for the recipient as the balance will be long gone before the expiration date ever arrives. I'm surprised there already has not been a class action against the thieves running this scheme. VISA should pay for letting their brand be associated with such a con game.

    0 Votes
  • Wh
    Whitehat Jul 11, 2009

    CLASS ACTION AGAINST VISA USA AND COOPERATING BANKS-We represent holders of VISA Gift Cards from Pennsylvania and California. We are about to commence a Class Action on behalf of all victims of the sellers/issuers of these cards who have not gotten their full value. If you have information about your experiences with VISA Gift Cards that you wish to have included in the Complaint, please do not hesitate to contact me. It is not necessary to make any reference to your name or address in the Complaint. If you contact me by email and provide a phone number, I will call you. Otherwise, I will respond by return email.


    1 Votes
  • Hy
    hymynd Dec 26, 2009

    Vanilla visa gift cards just dont work. i process millions $ in cards at a big restaurant each year, and most gift cards work. vanilla visa does not, call them and find the balance, then run it for that balance, it declines every time.

    0 Votes
  • Ju
    Justpizzed Dec 29, 2009

    I had just boughten my Visa (vanilla ) piece of ### card. I was so excited when I purchased it for 100!!! dollars and with this economy????? I am not even allowed to use it online, even with pay pal I got through enough to have them send my confirmation four digit code...BUT... I keep getting charged and no code.all I wanted was to suprise my daughters and to do my daughter's birthday shopping. Six hours latyer and many sweat beads away from a panic attack, I get on the phone with Visa ( nan) reps and was basically told there was nothing they can do, no refunds, nothing. They were not even willing to help .

    Am I really stuck with this piece of ### card???? What can I do to at least get my 86.00$s back???? Anyone have any kind of suggestion?PLEASE

    0 Votes
  • Au
    AUGwithFMJ Dec 29, 2009

    hey to use them on stores online you have to register it at the vanillavisa site. There you can put in your contact information and crap so that it works online. It should work for you. (it doesnt work for me, says theres some sort of problem with my account so im calling them right now).

    -1 Votes
  • Re
    Rebbeca Jan 17, 2010

    I love vanilla visa gift cards. They are easy to use! I think that if everyone just read the terms a agreements and the usage of this card, OR ANY FOR THAT MATTER, They will see that they are all the same. And please dont forget that if you need a credit card to make a purchase for what ever reason then get a credit card and not a GIFT CARD. It only makes sense.

    -2 Votes
  • Cs
    C.Slayden Feb 03, 2010

    My son got two of these gift cards in the amount of 25.00 each for Christmas this year. Well I sat down and read the terms, conditions etc, tried to go online and register it. Here in lies the problem # 1, Family members that buy these cards do not open the cardboard they come in and charge you 4.95 for btw. So we are military overseas and this was a cheap and effective option to let our child pick out what he wanted here at the local PX. These cards can only be used in the 50 US no territories etc. So I registered the cards over the telephone, the lady was very nice and tried to be helpful.. Well 6hrs into this ordeal to use his gift cards to purchase playstation games so he could get the games he wanted for his psp that we bought him for christmas still no luck, and yes I did register them with our US home of record address that we still maintain. This is not the first time I have had problems with Vanilla Visa Gift cards but it will be the last. These are such crap that I dread putting them into the recycle bin which could cause contamination to the other recyclable materials in there. Just my two cents on things. CS

    0 Votes
  • Jo
    John Paul Mack Feb 19, 2010

    Well Rebecca obviously works for Vanilla, to blatantly lie like she is. I had ordered from 5 Different restaurants, just as an Experiment to test these pieces of Trash. I only bought one card, because of course they are scams, the total was $20. I ordered from Domino's, I got a Call back from them saying my Card was declined, I payed with Money and it was some good pizza. 3 Days later, Called Pizza Hut, Gave them the Number, I get a call 5 minutes later "Sir you card has been declined" I reply okay, I will pay by Cash. A week later. I call PaPa Johns, the Last Pizza Victim, I give them the Card and do you know what happened next? Takea a Wild Guess. Got a Call Back! Okay, Sir I will pay cash.

    I was not done however, I called my Local Chinese Restaurant (That delievers) Just yesterday, and I had my $20 ready in my pocket. I gave them the card number and OOPS. It has been declined. Not just once, Not Twice. but Four Times in One Month. Thank god Vanilla does not take out money because of the card being Declined (Some cards do that as a service charge)

    These cards are Crap, now there is only $18.05 on the Card but I paid $25 for it, and I wsnt my Money back. BBB here I come :)

    0 Votes
  • J3
    j30dawg Sep 17, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have recieved 1000.00 in vanilla visa gift cards from my brother overseas Thet dont get regular programming so I download movise and songs for him as well as TV series. He has always paid me in gift cards. I have found no problem in using them on line or making any purchases. I know that if you dont use them within a certain time there is a monthly service fee attached to them which come with the instructions, I feel bad for those who are have trouble with these cards, Since I have had no problems. I go online to check my balance. Unlike my debit card the Vanilla visa has no fee for using it for purchases. If you just store it away for a couple of months and dont use it just know that there will be a monthly service charge attached. Be careful where you purchase your card, always purchase from a reputable vendor and check the card right away online for the balance. Good luck to all

    0 Votes
  • Jo
    John_G Oct 20, 2010

    I received one of these Vanilla Visa cards recently (Canada). I tried to use it at a restaurant for it's full value, as part of the bill. Declined. I made numerous phone calls the next day trying to find out what happened, and finally got the answer. It seems that when you use the card at an establishment that has tipping - hotels, bars, restaurants, taxis etc. - the Visa company (NOT the establishment) adds what they call an up charge of 15% (to cover tips, I suppose). So, naturally when you try to use a $100 card in a restaurant to pay $100, the company tries to authorise $115, which is declined. If you use it for less, but don't add a tip (you pay the tip in cash, for example), then the up charge is returned (credited back to your card) a few days later.

    When I protested (loudly!) that they - Vanilla Visa - had no business telling me what a tip should be, and that *I* am the one who decides how much to charge to the card, and that this is not in the cardholder agreement in Canada, I was told that it is covered by the clause that states the company can change the terms whenver they like.

    Their online informations state that the *restaurant or bar* may add up to 20% to the preauthorization charge, to cover a possible tip. This a complete untruth - I witnessed it myself, the restaurant preauthorizing the full amount of the card only, which was declined.

    Think of the amount of interest these guys are making of the up charges before they credit them back.

    It is a scam - period.

    0 Votes
  • Pa
    P.A.M. Dec 03, 2010

    I frequently buy and use the vanilla gift card and I have not once had a problem with them.

    1 Votes
  • Sh
    Shellym849 Dec 15, 2010

    I bought one of these cards and have tried it with 4 different online merchants and paypal and none will take it because all you can enter for registration on your card is your zipcode. Even though their website states the following:
    "5.What billing address do I use for online and phone transactions?
    Your personal information is not associated with the Card therefore you should use your mailing address. This will ensure that if a problem arises you are able to be contacted by the merchant."
    It says right on their site to use your "mailing address" which is what most online merchants want to verify, however apparently in Vanilla Visa land, your mailing address is just a zip code.
    I called the 800 number and some guy kept repeating as fast as he could that they can't record an address to the card. Funny every other gift card I have used registers your mailing address, whats their deal? This card is completely useless as I bought it specifically to use online.

    0 Votes
  • Mi
    Mister Mike Mar 09, 2011

    This is ridiculous, I bought the card because it advertised as being good for online purchases but you have to call customer service to register anything but your postal code and no online retailer accepts a transaction with that little information. If you try to call customer service they run you through the automated system at a crippling pace and when you request to speak to a human it immediately hangs up. In the mean time half of my funds are wrapped up in Pending Transaction Purgatory and the rest are being eaten by monthly charges. This isn't bad customer service or a card that isn't user friendly it's a money from nigeria caliber scam.

    0 Votes
  • No
    Noobs Apr 29, 2011

    I'm sorry if you guys feel that its a scam but the way I see it YOU HAVE TO REGISTER THE CARD. I use these all the time, they just cancel your card when you have low amount leftover, in my case they kept 80 cents...thieves bah.

    If you buy something thats worth $49.99 and have $50 card it just won't work, there's fees you have to pay too. I'd say $45 would work, I forget the fees but its within the fine print on their website. People just don't read these days, look at the card package when you buy it. I find this thread as a joke, you made a fool out of yourselves lol

    0 Votes
  • Vi
    Visa insider Jun 22, 2011

    Ok so the real reason your cards did not work surprise some one took the cards and switched packages and resealed them after being delivered to the store where you put them at. waited for you to buy them and then checked on the card to see if it was active and started spending them. its not visa's fault its not your fault its the dumb ### who stole them sealed them and waited til poor unsuspecting people bought them. activated them at register and then stole the money off of the card. I know this happened to 3 cards I bought it 2 different places shoppers drug mart in Canada and 711 also they were all three for 250 each . that's to those of you who cant count 750 dollars and I too was angry but when I found out that this was the reason I had no money. vanilla visa asked for proof of purchase and copies of the card and advised me how to get the money back by filing a dispute once that was settled. I was issued other cards that worked and visa pressed charges on the jag off who stole the money from the card. it may be frustrating but hang in there vanilla is dealing with a lot of these calls to track down the idiots doing the theft and trying hard to get you your money back.

    0 Votes
  • Re
    Reallyupsetatvanillavisa Jul 22, 2011

    I tried using the balance of my gift card and warned the merchant that they would have to enter the exact amount of the balance or it would be declined. The cashier tried to ring it up properly, but was unsuccessful. He then tried 3 more times, but still kept getting a declined message. The transaction was cancelled and I left the store without the merchandise. I contacted Vanilla Visa and was told that the card was on hold and that the balance should be released within 3 days. I checked again in 3 days and found that the funds were released to the merchant the following day. For 3 months now, I have been struggling with the merchant and Vanilla Visa to receive a refund without success. I get a different "resolution date" every time I call about the dispute. I am at the point where I plan to file complaints with the Attorney General's office and the Better Business Bureau. Hopefully, I can get some help from them. It may not seem like much, but I need my $150.

    0 Votes
  • Ej
    ejvervais Apr 04, 2012
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    These vanilla visa cards are a scam. Can you just imagine how many millions of dollars they are
    pocketing by consumers getting angry and just throwing them in the trash!! The Department of Consumer
    Affairs at 1100 4th Street sw #5211, Washington, D>C> 20024 should receive a letter from all of who have
    been scammed and demand an investigation. The money used to purchase these cards belongs to the
    consumer and should be used any way they want to.

    0 Votes
  • Ad
    Adrina Queen Jun 10, 2012

    The vanilla Visa gift card is BS i tried to make a payment over the phone and was declined now I have to wait a week to get the money back on the card now what am i going to do? this is really crap.

    0 Votes
  • Xx
    XxVampir3Xx Dec 25, 2012

    This card is a piece of shi*! i went on the vanilla visa gift card website to check my balance i had on my card and i got this error message "A problem occurred when trying to validate
    your card. Please contact Customer service." WTF?!?!?! I put in all my card info correctly and thats what i get?! and it doesnt work with my ebay purchase. JUNK DO NOT BUY!!!

    0 Votes
  • St
    STEALTHMODE4U Jun 10, 2013


    0 Votes
  • Sl
    Slade Simon Dec 28, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Most of the comments here are a few years old. If you read the info on there web site, there are 3 sets of information on fees - all based on when the card was purchased.

    I received my Vanilla card as a gift this Christmas (2016) and have had no problem with any purchases I've made - one car repair, groceries, and some convenient store purchases. The web site is rejecting my ZIP as invalid so I haven't tried buying any gas or anything online yet. I might try tricking the gas pump into processing the card as a debit - if that's possible. So far, all of these purchases were processed as credit so no PIN has been set yet. The PIN is set during your first Debit purchase.

    Vanilla has gotten rid of all of the fees they used to charge after purchase. You're still paying the initial $5.95 when buying the card. Last year, my parents got me one VISA and one MasterCard gift card. That VISA also had no fees. The MasterCard had fees kick in after the first year. Many people don't read the fine print.

    Personally, I prefer gift cards for specific places - Amazon, Walmart, 99 Cents, Circle K, QuikTrip, Albertsons. No additional fees even during the purchase of the card. If you want a $100 gift card, that's all you pay. The VISA cards give you the flexibility to shop anywhere you want, but a gift card for a specific place I shop with often is great too. Money has been tight for me during past year or so, and I just view the $6 fee as being wasted.

    0 Votes

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