Experts in the points community know that there are dozens of ways to increase your credit card spend, and one of the popular ways is via the seldom discussed My Vanilla Debit (MVD) card. It’s a PIN-based card you can load with Vanilla Reloads, so you can withdraw cash via money orders or even cash advances at banks. Both are cheap liquidation options, making this an attractive way to earn cheap points. It’s also popular because you can load $2.5K per day and have a balance up to $10K on it, which are much higher limits than Bluebird has (you can read more on this card from Gary Leff at View from the Wing).
This week, Twitter follower @Andradeteach mentioned his account was put on hold and asked if I’d heard anything. I hadn’t at the time, but a few days later I started reading a lot of similar reports. It looks like Incomm (who runs all things Vanilla) has started to put quite a few accounts on hold recently, as per these FlyerTalk (starting page 23) and DansDeals (starting page 152) threads. It sounds like accounts are being shut down regardless of whether users were cycling thousands of dollars or being more conservative and mixing in normal spend. Users whose accounts are put on hold are asked to send items like copies of a driver’s license and social security cards.
While that doesn’t sound too bad, some users’ accounts have been on hold for a few weeks even when the MVD representatives told them it would only be a few days or one week. If this situation becomes similar to the Netspend prepaid card shutdowns, you’ll be in for a bit of a fight. You’ll get your money back, of course, but it might not be as quick as you hoped for (read about how Frequent Miler’s Netspend account was shut down).
I personally don’t use the MVD card even though I do have one in my card collection. I recommend you try to cash out relatively soon if you have money in your account and it hasn’t been put on hold just yet. You’ll know it’s on hold when you log in to your account and the status says “hold” instead of “active.”
As I’ve mentioned in past posts, don’t be too greedy. Incomm has made it possible for us to create points for ultra-cheap prices, so you definitely don’t want to get put on any “suspicious person” list or something. There’s no telling what future points-earning opportunities there will be, so be careful!