Two Setbacks to Manufactured Spend
This past week I have encountered a couple of policy changes which negatively impact manufactured spending. Since some of you may not know about them, I thought I would post an update here.
Simon Gift Card Fee Increase
Many people buy gift cards at Simon Malls in order to meet minimum spend requirements or generate points. Simon Malls previously sold $500 Visa gift cards for $2.95.
These cards are issued by Metabank and are easily loaded to Bluebird/Serve. They can also be used to purchase money orders at select stores.
The $2.95 fee made Simon gift cards the cheapest around. Unfortunately, they have now raised the fee to $3.95. While the new fee is still lower than most places, the value proposition is not nearly as good as before.
Apparently the increased fee went into effect a couple of weeks ago, however I haven’t seen it mentioned elsewhere. (Which doesn’t mean someone hasn’t written about it.) If this change is old news to you then I apologize.
No Money Orders at Certain Kroger Locations
Visa/MC gift cards with pins can be used at a variety of places to purchase money orders. Unfortunately some Kroger (and their various brands) stores are no longer allowing prepaid cards to be used to purchase money orders.
I noticed a large sign at my local Kroger while shopping this afternoon. While the system doesn’t seem to be hardcoded against prepaid cards, cashiers have been trained to look for a certain code on the back of the card.
Since there are so many Kroger locations and brands, this may be a regional policy. This policy went into effect locally on December 5. Have you noticed a similar sign or policy change at your local Kroger?
Give & Take
This game is all about give and take. Just as you get comfortable with one method or form of spending, a company policy change could change everything. In other words, never get too comfortable.
While Simon gift cards can be good to meet minimum spending requirements, I haven’t generally been a huge fan because purchasing them is a timely process at my local mall. Additionally, the loss of money orders at Kroger isn’t a death blow, but it still stings.
Have you suffered any manufactured spend setbacks lately? Let me know in the comments!