I WANT MY (four hundred and) TWO DOLLARS!
February 26, 2012 5:36 PM   Subscribe

How can I use this no-pin, no-name, non-reloadable prepaid visa debit card?

My son purchased a prepaid debit card at 7-11 with the goal of making an online purchase with it. The card he purchased was not like the ones described on the green dot website, which appear to be reloadable, pin-activated prepaid cards. This card has no pin (there is a 4-digit number in the signature space but it does not work as a pin), and has the name "valued customer" on the front.

So the card wouldn't work online, so I let him use my visa and he gave me this card in exchange. Now I have more than $400 on a debit card I can't use. A friend told me I could go to McDonalds because they don't enter their pin when they use their card there. I like McDonalds fries but I am trying to kick the Diet Coke habit and besides, it's more than $400.

I have called the customer service number but cannot get past the system to a person without giving them my SSN. Obviously I do not want to do that. The back of the card reads "NON-RELOADABLE, NO ATM OR PIN-DEBIT ACCESS." Does anyone know anything about non-reloadable, no-pin, no-ID cards like this? How can I access this money?
posted by headnsouth to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Usually for prepaid visa debit cards, you have to activate them first either through calling a number or their online website in order to use them online. There should be a number or website on the back of the card.
posted by QueenHawkeye at 5:40 PM on February 26, 2012

My dad gave me a card like that that his company gave to him (his bosses hand them out on the spot when employees do something like keep the big oil refinery from blowing up). With no pin at all, I was able to swipe it at a couple of "pay at the pump" gas stations.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:42 PM on February 26, 2012

I received one that sounds similar to yours as a gift. I used it to make purchases at Target and other big box retailers. It swiped through the card reader as a credit card (meaning no PIN required).

A couple of heads ups:

The issuing company will likely start deducting a few dollars a month after some interval of time passes (mine was set to deduct $2.50/month after 6 months of carrying a balance on the card). This happens even if you live in a state that has laws that prevent maintenance fees on gift cards because prepaid VISAs somehow fall outside of these laws. Googling the issuer's name will usually give you an idea of the fee schedule.

If you make a partial payment with it, have the cashier rung the prepaid card second, after you pay the balance less $400. (In other words, you want to buy something for $550. Tell the cashier you want to split the balance across two cards or cash + card, pay the $150 first and then have them swipe the prepaid card for the remaining $400).

I never had any luck using my card at pay-at-the-pump gas stations but it worked fine if I went inside and paid the station attendent upfront.
posted by jamaro at 6:06 PM on February 26, 2012

Use it as a credit card, not a debit card. That should not require a PIN.
posted by MonsieurBon at 6:13 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

MonsieurBon: "Use it as a credit card, not a debit card. That should not require a PIN."

Quoted for truth. You have a prepaid credit card, not a debit card.
posted by wierdo at 6:31 PM on February 26, 2012

This is a debit card. It says Visa debit on the front. I tried to use it as a credit card at the grocery store and it was declined. I tried to use it as both a credit card and as a debit card for a $5 prescription copay at CVS and it was declined. I have a receipt for the purchase of the card.
posted by headnsouth at 6:37 PM on February 26, 2012

Is there any way you can post a picture of the front and back of the card with the card number and PIN obscured?

I am guessing that the reason it's being declined is that it has to be activated, but it's difficult to say.
posted by muddgirl at 7:02 PM on February 26, 2012

This is a debit card. It says Visa debit on the front.

Well, technically, yes, it's a debit card, because it's prepaid and there's no credit involved. That's why they call it that and not a credit card.

But it needs to be processed by Visa, and for that to happen, it needs to be treated as a credit card.

Yes, it's unnecessarily confusing. That way you don't use it and they keep the money.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:13 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have a similar visa debit card which I just used to make a purchase on Amazon. Have also used it swiped as a credit card. It also says "debit" on it, has no pin, and is not re-loadable. It does have to be activated prior to use, as folks above have said.
posted by freejinn at 7:25 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you have the receipt, take it back to the 7-11 and ask for a refund.
posted by CathyG at 8:07 PM on February 26, 2012

I get these cards sometimes as payment for focus groups.

I have had good success with these kind of cards at Starbucks and the grocery store (namely, QFC, a Kroger store).

With Starbucks, which I go to a fair bit, I just hand them the prepay card, and have them put the full amount of that card onto my Starbucks coffee card, which doesn't expire, nor do they take fees out of it. However, I don't know if you'd want to do that for a $400 card, unless you go to Starbucks a lot.

At QFC, I'd grab some groceries, and then go check out at the self-checkout registers. For payment, I'd pick 'Debit/Credit', run the card, pay for the groceries, and then also take out the maximum cash allowed at the terminal.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:20 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


That says it isn't a debit card in the sense of a card that you select the debit/ATM option when using it. Yes, it's stupidly confusing terminology. When a terminal (or cashier) asks you "credit or debit?", what they're really asking you is whether to process the card using the credit card network or one of the ATM networks.

The retailer prefers to use the ATM networks because they are much cheaper for the retailer. It's a fixed fee instead of a (usually larger) fixed fee plus a percentage. The company issuing the card prefers that you use the credit network because they get more money that way, since they essentially get a kickback from Visa.
posted by wierdo at 12:14 AM on February 27, 2012

I'm looking at this recent Yahoo Answers question. Did your son give them a name and address? Is it possible you are going to get a personalized card in the mail?

This question indicates that there should be an activation number on the receipt. Is there?

Have any purchases been made successfully with this card?
posted by themanwho at 1:18 AM on February 27, 2012

I've also received these types of cards as rebates or for participating in some kind of survey. What I do is take them to a place like Target, swipe the card, when it says "enter your debit number" or whatever you hit Cancel, and then it processes it as a credit card. My brother's trick of getting rid of these cards ASAP: buy a Target gift card for whatever is on the debit card (say $400 in your case), cash out the crappy Visa debit card, and you now have $400 to use easily at Target (or retailer of your choice)!
posted by jabes at 6:59 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

@freejinn if you're still reading, or anyone else: how did you use a card like this on Amazon without entering a billing address? I've got a similar card (rec'd as a bonus from work) and I can't seem to figure out how to use it on Amazon, even though it's listed as a participating merchant. Mine's an Amex, if that's helpful.
posted by statolith at 9:00 AM on February 28, 2012

sorry, MUCH later...for mine, when you register you enter your address which works as the "billing" address did. I just entered it as an alternate card number on my regular amazon account.
posted by freejinn at 7:07 PM on March 25, 2012

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