A full review of the Vanilla Visa Gift Card is below. Also check our list of the most popular Visa Prepaid Gift Cards that allow you to shop online, pay bills, and get money at ATMs among other features.
The Vanilla Visa gift card is one of the most popular Visa gift cards. You can purchase one at many drug or convenience stores and they come in denominations of $25, $50 and $100. They are accepted anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted but they cannot be used at merchants outside of the United States.
One of the nice features about the Vanilla Visa gift card is that they are replaceable when lost. Just contact Vanilla Visa online at Vanillavisa.com and a new card will be issued. There is however a $5.95 Re-Issuance Fee for replacing a card. The cards are not reloadable or returnable once purchased.
The Vanilla Visa gift card is activated by the cashier at the time of purchase. All you need to do is sign the back of the card and you can use it immediately. There is no need to call a special number to activate the card.
Like other bank issued gift cards, the Vanilla Visa gift card comes with fees, including activation fees that are paid when you purchase the card. They range from $4.95 to $6.95 depending on the value of the card. There is also a monthly service fee of $2.50 that is charged from the 7th month after purchase. If you use the entire balance of the card before the 7th month, you will not be charged the service fee.
A note of caution: Some have had trouble using the Vanilla Visa card online, even after registering the card with Vanilla Visa. Other issues reported include the inability to link the card to PayPal or use it on eBay. In addition, some merchants do not accept bank issued Visa gift cards in general, so be sure to check with the merchant before buying the card.
Here is a summary of FAQs related to the Vanilla Visa gift card.
1. How to Check the Balance on a Vanilla Visa Gift Card
To check the balance on your Vanilla Visa Gift Card, go to https://www.vanillavisa.com/home.html or call customer service at 1-800-571-1376, 24/7. You can also call the same number for general information regarding your Vanilla Visa Gift Card.
2. Can the Vanilla Visa Gift Card Be Used to Shop Online?
The short answer is yes and no. Yes, because Vanilla Visa has information on their FAQs addressing the issue of using the card online. They do encourage card holders to use their mailing address when using the card online. They do not explicitly say that you cannot use the card online, but they do acknowledge that your personal information is not linked to the card. And that is where the problem lies. Since your personal information is not linked to the card, when the online merchant tries to verify the name and address you provide against the information on file with your gift card issuer (just like the do for credit cards), they are not able to match the information against your Vanilla Visa card, which leads to the card being rejected. I am not sure why Vanilla Visa will not come out and just tell their customers that. Some people buy these cards with the hope of using them online only to find out they cannot. That can be frustrating. For more on using bank issued gift cards online, click here.
Quite a number of people have also reported that they are not able to link the Vanilla Visa card to PayPal or use it on eBay. Part of the problem with linking the card to PayPal is that PayPal may require you to go through their extended verification process when you try to link a gift card, credit, or debit card. Since most bank issued gift cards do not provide a statement of the transactions, you are unable to get the code needed to complete the verification. And if you cannot complete the PayPal verification, then you are out of luck. For more on this problem, click here.
Furthermore, the Vanilla Visa Card does not support recurring bill payment or pre-authorized transactions.
3. Can you get cash from the ATM with your Vanilla Visa Gift Card?
Unfortunately, you cannot get cash from the ATM with your Vanilla Visa card. One option is to sell the card to us at http://www.giftcardrescue.com/. We will pay you 75% of the card value and send you the cash in no time.
4. Do I have to call a number to activate the card before I can use it?
No, you do not have to call a number to activate the card before use. The Vanilla Visa gift card is activated by the cashier at the time of purchase. All you need to do is sign the back of the card and you can use it immediately.
5. Where can I use my Vanilla Visa Card?
The card is accepted anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Vanilla Visa cards purchased in the United States can only be used in the United States. They cannot be used at merchants outside of the United States, including online merchants based outside the United States.
6. Are there fees associated with the Vanilla Visa Gift Card?
Yes. Like other bank issued gift cards, the Vanilla Visa gift card comes with fees. You will be charged an activation fees at the time of purchase, which can be anywhere from $4.95 to $6.95 depending on the value of the card. This is in addition to the value of the card. You may also be charged a monthly service fee of $2.50, but that only kicks in beginning the 7th month after purchase. You will also be charged a fee of $5.95 if your card is lost and has to be re-issued.
7. Is the Vanilla Visa Card Reloadable?
No, the Vanilla Visa Card is not reloadable. If you need a reloadable Visa Gift Card, click here for more information.
As you can see, the Vanilla Visa gift card is convenient to use and gives you more options on where you can shop, as compared to a department store gift card for example, but there are other things to consider before you buy one, including the fees that come with the card and challenges of using it online.
Where to Buy the Vanilla Visa Gift Card
The following store locations sell the Vanilla Visa gift card. It is always a good idea to call the store location to confirm that they still carry the card as some stores may run out from time to time (Updated 10/27/2011).
Associated Food Stores
Casey’s General Store
Town & Country