Which Gift Cards To Buy At Kroger With Current Deal

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Both the Visa & Mastercard variable loads cards are purple. The fixed $100 cards come in a red package.
Try to buy the Visa version (on the right) and not the Mastercard version. (Left.)

Kroger’s Gift Card Deal Is Still On

A few weeks ago, I was the first to write about Kroger’s promotion that is running through July 15, 2014 where they are giving a $5 coupon off of a future grocery purchase when buying any two Visa or Mastercard gift cards.

Travel With Grant first reported last week that the coupon was printing when only one gift card was purchased. After reading that, I tried buying only one gift card and the coupon didn’t print. Fortunately I tried again at a different store and it worked just as he described.

Visa Or Mastercard?

The deal as stated is for the purchase of Visa or Mastercard gift cards. Kroger sells both Visa and Mastercard gift cards in various denominations. All of the cards are pin enabled (Call 1-866-952-5653 to set the pin) and issued by U.S. Bank.

The best cards in my opinion are the variable ones which can be loaded with up to $500 for a $5.95 fee. While both the Visa & Mastercard versions are nearly identical, there is one key difference other than their logo.

The coupon that prints out when you purchase a gift card.
The coupon that prints out when you purchase a gift card.

I am assuming most of you out there will be loading these cards to a Bluebird/Serve card at Walmart. Walmart’s POS system treats the Visa cards as normal debit cards. You simply swipe the card and it will prompt you for the pin.

Unfortunately for some reason the Mastercard gift cards are treated as credit. When you swipe the card, the terminal will give you about a half of a second to hit the cancel button or it will go directly to the signature screen and the load will fail.

It had been awhile since I purchased gift cards at Kroger and I mistakenly bought one of the variable load Mastercards the other day instead of a Visa.  Lets just say it took me three tries to hit that cancel button at the right time in order to change the transaction type to debit.

What To Do If You Already Purchased Mastercards

If you have already purchased the Mastercard gift cards then you may still be in luck. Fortunately the Walmart MoneyCenter Express kiosk  doesn’t have the same issue. Loading your Bluebird/Serve at the kiosk with a Mastercard works the same way as with other cards.

Unfortunately the kiosks are often broken and some areas don’t even have them. If that is the case, then you need to get good at hitting that cancel button. The Free-quent Flyer has a great description of what you need to do to make sure the transaction goes through as debit.


If you haven’t been participating in this deal, then I highly suggest you get out there to your local Kroger. The $500 variable load cards come with a $5.95 fee. After your $5 back coupon, you are essentially only paying $.95 for $500 in spend.  That is a great deal in my opinion!

Please let me know if you have had any issues or you have further questions about this deal.  Have a great night!


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  1. Have you had any problems loading these to bb? For some reason I get the wrong tender type error at the WM kiosk on the Kroger (US Bank) Visa. I’m not sure if it it’s just this one card since I don’t usually buy there?

  2. Marshdom – definitely works at many (probably all) Kroger-owned stores.

    I’ve had no problems buying 2 in separate transactions at the same time. The only problem I had is that the card I want to buy is in my wife’s name and they check ID, so I got denied on that once (now I make her come in and do it in person) 😛

    I’ve bought both Visa and MC because I actually have access to a working WM kiosk (lucky me I know!) but thanks for the tip about buying the Visas

    • Thanks PWaC. Sounds like you’ve done this multiple times and always been able to get the $5 coupon for each individual $500 card you buy? Whereas it sounds like Shawn had at least one bad experience. So I’ll still chalk it up as a bit of a gamble (over $5!).

      Still interested in feedback on when/where (if at all) I’m okay using a Citi card to buy Visa GCs. Thanks!

        • Thanks. I think what I was recalling was people who have reported getting hit with cash advance treatment when buying AMEX gift cards directly from AMEX.

  3. So … the big question then … buy 2 cards (per trip through the lane), or try to get away with just buying one? Guess it’s a gamble if you only buy 1 (whether or not you’ll get the $5 coupon).

    Looks like the fine print of the coupon says it’s only good for a week or so, and not on gift cards (so just for groceries or whatever else – not for your next gift card).

    I assume this should work at other Kroger-owned stores (like Fred Meyer), but can anyone verify?

    One other quick question, as a relative-noobie … I’ve seen some indication that you can’t buy Visa GC with Citi cards?? Is that true always, or just in certain situations? Any insights would be appreciated.

    Thanks for another great post!


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