Security Breech? Prepaid Visa/MC Issuers No Longer Allowing Online Purchases

I had been using prepaid Visa/MC to pay rent and utilities in recent years. It was a nice simple way to hit minimums for sign up bonuses and max out quarterly bonus offers. However, in the last few months, it seems multiple issuers have disallowed online purchases either partially or entirely. The Vanilla Visa site doesn’t even allow registering a card to an individual anymore.

A card issued by US Bank was rejected for most all online purchases. CSR said they are no longer allowing purchases at any online merchant that saves card data, though it still failed for when I attempted one-time purchases.

Any other recent datapoints from the last few months? Even better if there any info on issuers whose cards are still working online.

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I’m bearish on prepaid Visa/MC.

I won’t touch the USBank cards. Those were hacked at some point (a year ago?), with many data points online indicating their cards were immediately drained after purchase. It seems like they used some kind of basic algorithm to assign card numbers and CVVs… and that led to rampant fraud.

I used to drain Vanilla cards through PayPal, but that stopped working at some point. Now I typically apply to utility bills.

For minimum spend and bonus, I have been going for Paypal Bill Pay (property taxes) and IRS estimated tax payments. The later has a fee, yes… but it’s usually taken care of by the rewards earned as part of the transaction. The prepaid cards have gotten too annoying for me to deal with.


USBank cards were problematic even in the circles-and-arrows era. That was a decade ago! IIRC the package was much easier to open and reseal than Vanilla.

I’ve noticed the same thing. I have a toll tag that’s not in my name that I was funding exclusively through prepaid Visa/Amex gift cards for some degree of anonymity, but no more. I also was unable to make a $3 purchase on ebay recently. Thankfully I only have a few hundred dollars accumulated in all gift cards right now because I haven’t been churning as much as I did in the good old days when we could still drain at the post office by purchasing money orders.

At least they still usually work at B&M merchants when swiped. Some of the new handheld CC processing terminals either don’t have a magnetic stripe reader, or won’t accept the prepaid cards after a successful swipe, but I’ll still be able to spend down a few hundred $$$ in a matter of weeks.

As fewer and fewer merchants are willing/able to accept these cards for payment, the quicker they’ll be discontinued entirely. Obviously banks and government don’t want anyone to be able to spend any amount of money on anything anonymously. The march to cashless society and government-monitored CBDC is well underway, almost at the end actually. We’re practically there now. So sad.