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Paying the stupid tax.
May 11, 2012 7:32 AM   Subscribe

I put some money on a prepaid virtual Visa card. When I tried to use it, it was declined. I'm wondering if there's a place that'll accept it, or if I am out fifty-five American dollars.

Last night, in a fit of not thinking very clearly, I was talking to someone who turned out to be a Craigslist scammer online. He/she suggested that I load a virtual credit card from Entropay and use that. (I'm not proud of this.) When I went to use the card to pay for...some things...it was declined. So at the moment, I've got $55 sitting on an Entropay virtual Visa card doing nothing.

My first thought was to use it to buy an Amazon gift card, but Amazon declined the transaction. Then I thought to back a Kickstarter or two...but Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments, so that's also right out.

I also have the option to move the funds to a bank account... with a $14.99 charge for the convenience of doing so. Yuck. And I suppose I could call my credit card company and see if they'll do a chargeback, but I don't foresee it happening.

Is there some online retailer that'll accept my virtual money, or is this just one of those moderately expensive life lessons?
posted by andrewcilento to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This thread suggests that you may need to activate it first.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:34 AM on May 11, 2012


One major disadvantage of the virtual VISA cards is that they cannot be used on sites that require address verification. Since address verification is widely used, this substantially limits the number of online merchants that accepts the virtual VISA cards.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropay.
posted by fragmede at 7:46 AM on May 11, 2012


I've had good luck liquidating prepaid Visa cards without registering them (eg. so no address info has been entered) by paying my cable bill (Comcast) and car insurance (Geico). Try checking if your utilities/insurance will take credit card payments - if so, they very often will only ask for the CC number/CVV/expiration and not need a billing address.
posted by reptile at 7:54 AM on May 11, 2012


Do you know anyone that waits tables or tends bar? I've emptied a couple of gift cards I had setting around by running a one cent charge through and then tipping myself the balance. Perhaps you know someone that can/would do this for you?
posted by piedmont at 8:11 AM on May 11, 2012


I use an Entropay card to pay for Netflix.
posted by Jairus at 8:14 AM on May 11, 2012


Can you use it for partial pay (once you're sure it's active) at a grocery store? You think there's X on it, buy X +5$ worth of groceries ... use up the card to buy groceries.
posted by tilde at 8:18 AM on May 11, 2012


insectosaurus: "This thread suggests that you may need to activate it first."

That was my first thought, but Entropay is based out of London and there isn't a number anywhere on their website. (God, I'm not usually this dumb. I swear.)

reptile: "I've had good luck liquidating prepaid Visa cards without registering them (eg. so no address info has been entered) by paying my cable bill (Comcast) and car insurance (Geico). Try checking if your utilities/insurance will take credit card payments - if so, they very often will only ask for the CC number/CVV/expiration and not need a billing address."

Jairus: "I use an Entropay card to pay for Netflix."

These are both good ideas. Maybe I'll try and pay part of my AT&T bill using this.

piedmont: "Do you know anyone that waits tables or tends bar? I've emptied a couple of gift cards I had setting around by running a one cent charge through and then tipping myself the balance. Perhaps you know someone that can/would do this for you?"

Sadly, I do not.

tilde: "Can you use it for partial pay (once you're sure it's active) at a grocery store? You think there's X on it, buy X +5$ worth of groceries ... use up the card to buy groceries."

Unfortunately, it's not a physical card.
posted by andrewcilento at 8:22 AM on May 11, 2012


I'm an idiot, sorry. I get a lot of pre-loaded Visa/Amexs for various promotions/work we do, that's how I use them up, at the grocery store.

I did get two virtual cards - one was Office Depot (from OD promo contest) that I used on their website, but I also got a VISA that I think I used either at Staples online or Amazon. Again, the amount was only part of the cost, I paid for the rest using a standard credit card.

Why not talk to your credit card company, and at least hear what they have to say.

You don't mention much about the scam - are you sure the scammer hasn't cleaned it out?
posted by tilde at 10:21 AM on May 11, 2012


Okay, looks like I got it from swiftpay (reward/payment, not me giving them money to preload) and I was able to log in to get my 'billing' address to match my real cc address for purchase reasons. I can't tell if I used it at Amazon or Staples (I remember trying both at the time).

Looks like it was Amazon for a couple of things out of my shopping cart, and then the rest I converted to an Amazon gift card to myself to use at a later time.
posted by tilde at 10:30 AM on May 11, 2012


Okay, I'm pretty sure it was on Amazon for me. So though there is no phone number for this company, at least start an email correspondence with them, find out how much you have on the card to verify it.

Use Amazon's call me service (part of their customer service thing, I've done it to ask questions about orders) to get on the phone with someone who might be able to help you with why it won't go through?
posted by tilde at 11:26 AM on May 11, 2012


tilde: "You don't mention much about the scam - are you sure the scammer hasn't cleaned it out?"

Heh, I haven't mentioned much about the scam because it's embarrassing, but essentially it was a "you buy credit on this website and I'll return the favor for you." Except that it's always more credit than you were led to believe and then the person you're talking to disappears. (If anyone is terribly curious and would like to know all the gory details, feel free to MeFi Mail me; I just don't want to post them here for all the world to see.)

I checked on Entropay and it shows the balance is still $55. I took reptile's advice and used it to make a payment for my cell phone; it doesn't show a credit balance just yet (no bill due for another week), so I'll wait to see once my newest bill goes up. And then I am never, ever doing anything like this again.
posted by andrewcilento at 11:37 AM on May 11, 2012


Okay, so it's referral credit (that was the only thing I could think of that would let you "buy" without sharing the info straight to them) he/she was after.

Glad Reptile's advice seems to be working out! I was looking through my own history and I've fallen for stuff (one or two posted here) and worked in a boiler room (till I was sure it was a scam) shortly.

They're called confidence games for a reason. :P

That reminds me, I haven't watched Matchstick Men in a while ...
posted by tilde at 11:59 AM on May 11, 2012


And I just checked, the Entropay card has no balance, and my AT&T account has a $55 credit. Fantastic. Shutting that thing down, marking reptile's post as the best answer, and closing this stupid, stupid chapter of my life. Thanks, all!
posted by andrewcilento at 1:57 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


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