Posted by Chuck on February 25, 2015
Manufactured Spending

Published on February 25th, 2015 | by Chuck


Changes to Evolve – It Still Could Make Sense

The Changes

Evolve just sent out an email of two new changes, coming on the heels of the announcement that they’ll now charge a 3% fee on gift cards.

Here are the three changes, all positive:

  • We can now pay bills up to $2,999. Previously, the limit was $999.
  • We can now pay the same bill up to 4 times per month. Until now, the recent limit was once per month. I assume that the new 4-time limit will use the calendar month, as the old system used.
  • Another change which I noticed (not mentioned in the email) is that the $1 minimum payment amount doesn’t exist anymore. You can now pay a 50¢, for example, with a credit card for a cost of 51¢.

evolve increase

The news would be exciting if the previous glitch which allowed fee-free credit cards was still around. However, I logged into my Evolve account and it appears that the glitch is over. [It remains to be seen what will happen with previously scheduled payments. I have a bunch scheduled and I’m hoping for the best. Luckily, I had the foresight of staggering the bill payments, so that if one goes bad (i.e. they add a 3% fee), I can cancel the rest.]

Additionally, from my account it does appear that gift cards are being charged the 3% fee, as expected.


The new limits would also be mildly interesting if Evolve accepted Amex, since it could be a way of liquidating Amex gift cards. Sadly, only accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover are accepted.

What’s Left?

Here’s why Evolve could still make sense:

  • 1¢ Charges If you need to make small 1¢ charges on your credit/debit card, you can now do so on Evolve fee-free. As mentioned, an unadvertised change that happened now is that there’s no minimum payment amount. I was able to successfully do a 1¢ payment with my credit card and it shows up in my online credit card account as $.01. I personally only know of one credit card which needs transaction threshold, the Amex Everyday, and this won’t be helpful since Evolve doesn’t accept Amex. However, this could be used to meet debit card thresholds in order to get bank bonuses or to keep a checking account fee-free. (See more options here.)
  • Liquidate small balances If you have 50¢ left on a Visa gift card, you could unload the balance by using Evolve. They don’t put a hold to verify the card, so you could make a 49¢ payment and be done with it. With the new 4-per-month limit, this becomes more feasible. [UPDATE: This may no longer be an option.]

Other possible uses:

  • Signup bonuses Suppose you have a spend-threshold to meet in order to get a signup bonus. Personally, I have no problems meeting them, using various manufactured spend techniques, but for someone who wants to just pay the fee and get it done, the standard approach was to send money to a friend using Google Wallet. Under the new Evolve system, it would be possible to pay your mortgage, for example, up to $2,999 and just pay the 3% fee.
  • Liquidate gift cards If you have a Visa or Mastercard gift card to unload, you may be willing to pay the 3% fee to do it from the convenience of your home. Remember, as well, that if you have a $50 Visa gift card for example, you may prefer not to deal with Walmart for that, and instead to just unload via Evolve and pay the $1.50.
  • Liquidate electronic gift cards We don’t deal with e-gift cards from Visa or Mastercard much, but if you do have one and want to liquidate it, Evolve could be an option.

Will you be using Evolve again?

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Thanks for the info!!!! It seems that Evolve could work very well for reward checking accounts that require customers to perform a minimum amount of debit purchases before the higher APR kicks in, such as Lake Michigan’s 3% APY (10 transactions) and Consumers Credit Union’s 3.09% (12 transactions).


Where’s the weird Wednesday credit card series?

William Charles

Still writing it!


For liquidating Visa gift cards, you mention a 1-cent fee for small amounts. What is the ceiling for “small amounts” before a higher fee kicks in? I can’t find this info in their FAQs.


[…] they were useful as a backup for when you have lots of gift cards to unload. Also, if you had a few dollars left on […]


[…] is still a drag, however. A better option is to load Bluebird/Serve/REDbird/Chime/Evolve online with a debit card. This way, you can do it all from your computer. You may even be able to […]


[…] Evolve Money was a great way to manufacture spend and it was really a game of cat and mouse between those in this hobby and Evolve, with us finding loopholes and them slowly shutting them down. Most people stopped using the service when they started charging 3% fees on gift cards back in February of 2015 though. […]

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