Manufactured Spending

MoneyPak at Riteaid with $0 Fees

Last Thursday I headed to a Walgreens store near work in one last attempt to buy Vanilla Reload cards. I didn’t see any on the giftcard rack, so I picked up a few MoneyPaks instead. Frequent Miler and The Points Guy both recently wrote about MoneyPaks as a way to fund your Paypal account and then your Bluebird card. 

MoneyPaks can also be loaded directly onto the American Express Prepaid card. Though this card lacks a bill pay feature, you can earn 6 points per $1 on your spending by purchasing MoneyPaks with your Hilton HHonors American Express or Hilton Honors Surpass from American Express. The trick is finding a drugstore that will accept credit cards for MoneyPak purchases.

When I got to the register, I noticed Vanilla Reloads hanging on the wall. There were just two left and I wondered whether the reason they were running low was because this store allowed people to purchase them with credit cards. I asked the cashier for the last 2 Vanilla Reloads and he in turn reminded me that I needed to pay cash for both cards. What about debit? Nope, cash only.

I was a little miffed that I had abandoned my work load to walk three blocks on such a fruitless quest. Right across the street I spotted a RiteAid and decided to check it out. To my surprise, they had MoneyPaks in stock with no fees and they accepted debit and prepaid cards. I was successful in using my Target Amex prepaid with a PIN. While I realize this isn’t ideal, since you can use your debit card to load your Bluebird directly at Walmart, I think its a good way to diversify your spending so that your debit card provider does not get suspicious about all those charges you’re making at Walmart. Of course, using a credit card with a high category payout is always a better choice, but this location does not accept credit cards. If you happen to find one that does (and has a $0 fee), please comment below.

For those in the Bay Area who are struggling to find a place to buy Vanilla Reloads, this might be a decent alternative. You can buy MoneyPaks at the downtown Oakland RiteAid, save $4 in fees, and purchase them using either your debit card or prepaid card with a PIN.

What to do with a MoneyPak?

1. Load your MoneyPak to your Paypal Account, transfer the funds to your Paypal Debit card, and use that to either cash out part of the funds or for everyday spending. Keep in mind that when loading your MoneyPak to your Paypal account, you will be asked for your name, address, and SSN. This is because MoneyPak monitors deposits for criminal activity. So excessive depositing/withdrawing of funds will likely put you on their radar.

2. Load the MoneyPak onto an eligible prepaid card. The American Express Prepaid, Ameerican Express Pass, and Serve from American Express are included on the list of eligible cards.

3. Use MoneyPak to pay your bills. Click here for a list of eligible merchants, including credit cards, prepaid phone services, satellite services, wireless phone services, and more.

Have you found any stores in your area that sell fee-free MoneyPaks and/or accept credit cards? Please comment below.

Disclosure: I will earn a referral for the American Express Serve card link in this post.

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  1. Small print on the back of the MoneyPak: “A $4.95 monthly fee will be applied at the beginning of the 13th month after purchase, unless prohibited by law.” I’m still trying to figure out exactly what they mean by this.

    • Maybe it’s a fee that the debit card provider charges?Very strange…

      • That’s what I’m thinking. I wonder if I locked myself into a monthly fee starting in a year? Sigh…

        • I don’t know how they would track that. Maybe it’s a fee only charged by the Greendot cards. It could be that the $4.95 is some kind of “inactivity fee” that kicks in if you don’t use the funds after 13 months.

          • That’s another theory that I had. I hope that’s what it is! The GreenDot site has absolutely no info on these cards–apparently they need to make some site updates.

    • It means you have to get rid of the money by the 13th month. Moneypak cards aren’t debit cards they’re just a easy way to cash into funds.

  2. You can void the monthly fee by making 30 transactions per month. I suggest ordering something online maybe? I have a iphone so I use my iphone and by $30.00 worth of $1 apps through the month to void the monthly fee.

  3. Are you still able to purchase moneypaks at riteaid by card? Have tried a number of cvs and walgreens stores in SF but got shut down everywhere.

    • I haven’t done it in about a year, but there was a Riteaid in Downtown Oakland that accepted debit cards and had $0 fees.

  4. Tyler Butts

    I’m trying to figure out the monthly fee thing too, If I uploaded the entire balance from a greendot moneypak into my paypal are they going to charge my paypal in 13 months? or since the greendot technically has a $0 balance am I fine? thank you

    • PointChaser

      I think it’s an inactivity fee that gets assessed if you do not use the Moneypak fee within 13 months.

      • Tyler Butts

        thanks for responding, since there is a $0 balance on it the fee won’t be charged or do I need to somehow cancel the green dot card? I didn’t go to the greendot website and activate the card i just added it directly through paypal and my purchase seems to have worked fine, I just don’t want to get charged $60/year for the rest of my life haha, it’s fairly misleading

  5. Are there any updates? I was just told “cash only” at a CVS in Oakland, and the MoneyPak site says cash under their “how it works” section. Any other suggestions for turning cards into cash?

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