Welcome to an irreverent, not-at-all comprehensive blog about my couponing exploits in Montgomery County, Maryland, with some annoying cats sprinkled about. Try not to step on them; they get ever so cross. Also there may be some law stuff here and there, but not too much, because most law stuff is boring.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just did that crazy CVS Paypal card moneymaker! EXPIRED

NOTE: Just a reminder that nothing on this site should be considered legal advice. This is not my area of expertise (I'm not even sure I *have* an area of expertise...). This information is what I've relied on in doing this deal, and it could be wrong. After all, this type of card makes its money by deceiving people into paying fees! ANYWHO...

Ok, so I did the CVS Paypal MASTERCARD deal (has to be Mastercard). As you can imagine, it's a bit of a headache. But it IS still on! CVS has been responding to complainers on its Facebook page with the following statement:

"The spend $150 Get $50 in ExtraBucks PayPal Prepaid Debit Card offer will be honored at your local store until the end of day on Wednesday, November 27."

The deal was regional, IIRC, so if you haven't already looked at your MyCVS ad previously then you may want to call to see if it's happening in your area, as it appears CVS did delete it from the ad. Also some stores are being stubborn and refusing still to do the deal, so call ahead.

The limit on this deal is 2. You'll need to buy two separate cards in separate transactions of $150+ to get both rewards.

So how should you do this deal? Many are reporting success using the first card to buy the second card. I didn't try this, though probably I should have. I was afraid the universe would explode. I so silly. Also, many have reported already being charged the monthly maintenance fee of $4.95 very shortly (sometimes within hours) of purchasing the card. (Fine print says within 36 hours). So don't leave a balance idling!

Also according to the fine print, you will only be charged fees if there's a balance on your card, and if the balance is less than the fee, you'll just be charged the balance. Nonetheless, just to be safe you should cancel your card by calling the 800 number on the back after zeroing it out. If you did a credit card transaction on it, you'll have to wait about three days to do this.

This how I did it, including mistakes! (Live and learn):

First I purchased a card for $160. I did this because I knew I wanted to take it out at the ATM and most ATMs only despense $20s. So I paid $160 + $4.95 activation fee, and the $50 Extra Bucks printed on the receipt! Yay!

Then I activated the card. You can do this online or by phone: the web site/number is on the package ( you have to open it first). You DO have to give your social security number (or whatever number you use in lieu of it). If you give a fake number, you'll run into problems. One person is reporting that she used all 0s and ended up having to send her birth certificate, marriage license, etc to Paypal, and she STILL can't access her money. So don't do that. Also an address, email and phone number is required.

Once it's activated (happens right away), you can use it. You don't HAVE to link it to a Paypal account. Next I used the Allpoint ATM located inside CVS. I tried to withdraw all $160. FAIL. Got an insufficient funds notice and had to try again. I was able to withdraw $140 the second time.

Turns out it costs $1.95 to withdraw money from the AllPoint ATM (it'll cost more if you use another ATM). I also got dinged with a $1.00 fee for having insufficient funds for the first request. WTF?! I didn't know this at the time and thought it cost $2.95 to withdraw cash from an AllPoint ATM, as my balance was $17.05.

So I purchased a second card. This time I had $162.95 placed on the card, and paid the $4.95 activation fee, so $167.90 total. I activated it, then withdrew $160. It worked.

Fortunately I decided to call the automated number to check my balances. Turns out there's a $0.50 fee for checking it at the ATM. Ridiculous. Had the $17.05 left on the first card still, and $1.00 left on the second card (since the fee to withdraw cash from the AllPoint ATM was $1.95, not $2.95). I put $17 from the first card on my WMATA metro card online, leaving $0.05 on that card. I'm going to try to use the last $1.05 tonight, assuming it hasn't been taken by fees.

It appears the only way to take out cash for free is to use your card as a debit card at a store that gives cash back during a transaction. Going to a bank to get your cash would cost you at least 2.50 (plus whatever your bank would charge you).

See what I mean by headache?!

If you want to replicate my ATM method, put $161.95 on the card. When you withdraw $160, it'll have a 0 balance.

So at the end of my day this turned out to be a $84.20 MONEYMAKER for me after all fees. That could go down to a $83.15 MONEYMAKER if I lose the remaining little balances to the monthly fee monster.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

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