Friday, January 11, 2013

Paying Taxes With Netspend

...or trying to pay taxes with Netspend, might be the more accurate statement.

If you read my Credit Card Spending for the Rest of Us, you already know that Netspend prepaid debit cards and REloadits are one of the many ways you can rack up your credit card spend. I recently signed up for my Netspend card via the Flyertalk Conga to get some free money ($20 for loading your card, plus $20 referral from the next person in the conga). As far as I've read, most miles and points collectors get their accounts shut down pretty fast, so I wasn't really planning on actually using the card much. To be honest I was only after the free $39, but then I figured why not try to use Netspend to pay taxes (which I have to pay anyway) and get some miles out of the deal. The plan was to use my favorite miles-earning credit cards to buy REloadit packs at the grocery store, then load them on the Netspend card which I can then use as a debit card to pay my quarterlies via The credit card fees on PayUSAtax are percentage based (yikes!) but there is a flat fee of only $3.49 to pay using a debit card. As the site points out, that's cheaper than mailing a check via certified mail with a return receipt! Too good to be true?

Buying Prepaids and Reloads at Safeway

So I went to Safeway today to buy my final REloadit pack for my Netspend card and I got shut down. The cashier wouldn't let me to buy the "cash only" reload using my credit card. I tried explaining that I've done it there before, and asked nicely if she'd let me try anyway, but the answer was no. My cashier then called for backup and they both kind of ganged up on me and told me I couldn't do it. I didn't want to push the issue because, well,  they were right, and I actually shop regularly at that store, hence not wanting to make a scene. I didn't end up getting the reload pack so I'm still one REloadit short of having what I need to pay my taxes. There are other Safeways in the area, but I think I've had enough rejection for one day. Maybe I'll send my husband out later when he gets home from work or if not I'll try again tomorrow.

So theoretically here's how it was supposed to work:
  • Buy 3 REloadits from Safeway using my credit cards at a fee of $3.95 each (Total fees: $11.85)
  • Pat taxes online at ($3.49 fee + $1 transaction fee from Netspend = $4.49)
  • I'm (hopefully) getting $40 free from Netspend so subtract fees ($40- $11.85- $4.49 = $23.66)
  • All said and done I'm actually coming out almost $24 ahead after earning a lot of miles and racking up spend at the grocery store (my Chase MileagePlus Select Visa which I used for one of the transactions even gets double miles!)
  • I was hoping to get some Safeway Gas Rewards points on top of the miles, but unfortunately buying reload packs doesn't seem to count towards the program.
I guess whether or not I still use my Netspend card to pay taxes is TDB (to be determined) based on whether or not we're able to get that final REloadit card before we leave on our trip this week, otherwise I'll have to mail a check (or pay with my non-points-earning, bank-issued debit card). I really don't want to send a partial tax payment, so as for the Netspend card, I'll be looking for other ways to cash out (along with other ways to earn miles in the future). Hopefully I get my account closed by doing so. Now that I can't reliably buy REloadits from the grocery store anymore, there is no reason for me to do business with Netspend.  To be honest the high fees ($1 or $2 per swipe for almost everything) scare me a little bit. So does the privacy policy. Keeping the card seems like a liability hassle.

Netspend's Privacy Policy. Highlighting and commentary are mine.

This entire process has been a giant pain in the ass great learning experience. Challenges like this always force me to think creatively and it doesn't hurt that I'm getting free miles and free money for just a little bit of hard work. I could have easily signed up for the Netspend card and cashed out for the full $39 just like Flyertalker LumixFan did, but where's the fun in that? ;)


  1. Netspend takes VRs as well. However there is an extremely short leash (like 10-15k) and then they shut down your Netspend acct. So if you venture out on this thin ice make sure you dont have a lot funds on the card when they shut you down.

  2. Thanks for the info! I hope other readers will find it helpful as well.

  3. Your experience did seem a big hassle. Were you able to buy the REloadit card or did you end up mailing the check? Paying taxes can be troublesome, but not being able to pay on time due to some other problems can be a a major headache. I hope everything worked out in the end.

    Wystan Dale

  4. I bought a Vanilla Reload instead

  5. Hi Michelle! That was quite a “learning experience” for you. It was a hassle but at least you realized a few things about you using the Netspend card. But I agree, a little hard work will get you free miles and money eventually. Plus, it would kind of save you the hassle from paying your taxes by just simply paying it online.

    Kathy Gregory