Posted by Chuck on June 9, 2015
Manufactured Spending

Published on June 9th, 2015 | by Chuck

156

Don’t Hit that 5x NBA Card Too Hard…

Just a quick update on the BBVA NBA card which is currently earning 5x everywhere.

Problems

Readers have pointed out numerous problems with the idea of earning 5x everywhere in a scalable way.

  • BBVA is freezing accounts after large purchases and holding them up for review. Every single report we’ve seen so far indicates that large purchases are triggering an account freeze. Even just a single large purchase of over $1,000 has triggered the freeze for some. The credit card is put under a 48-hour review. In actuality, it often takes longer as they don’t count weekends.
  • There appears to be a $5,000 daily limit on purchases. This is particularly annoying for purchasing high amounts of Amex gift cards. The only option being to create multiple smaller orders which, of course, isn’t optimal. One reader reports being able to make more than $5,000 of purchases in one day, though it was split up into multiple smaller transactions.
  • There are a couple of reports (1, 2) of BBVA reps claiming that the 5x offer only applies for swiped transactions and not for online purchases. The wording on the website is, “5x on all purchases” and it seems to include online transactions as well. That said, there is a small risk here, particularly when purchasing gift cards online (e.g. Amex gift cards). If the points don’t post automatically, it will be hard to fight for the points since they can quote the Terms which state that cash-equivalents are not eligible for points. [See also this comment from Kenny.]

Another interesting thing is that one reader mentions getting written confirmation from BBVA that the 5x rewards goes through June 20, that’s two days longer than I  heard from the CSR. We haven’t gotten any more clarity on the issue yet.

Options Going Forward

The biggest issue here, aside from the natural dislike of getting shutdown, is that you’ll lose all rewards. So if we’d consider it 50-50 on getting shutdown, we couldn’t value those rewards at more than 2.5%. More likely, I think, is that the accounts won’t get shutdown and will eventually be reinstated. If anyone knows of actual shutdowns, let us know in the comments.

One possibility is to try doing multiple small transactions with the card. It’s unclear if this will trigger a freeze or possibly they only get tipped off by large transactions. We haven’t yet seen any reports of freezes for purchases of less than $1,000 and it’s possible that the large transaction is what’s triggering the review.

We mentioned the idea of prepaying bills such as cellular and insurance as a way of racking up spend on the card with 5x rewards. This approach would seem safe since it would be hard for them to justify shutting you down for it for such a thing. Even if there’s a temporary freeze it should hopefully end okay. Maybe better to do multiple smaller transactions over the next 10 days, if possible.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, it’s probably not worth putting huge charges on the card. Better use it for as much ordinary spend as we can over the next 10-12 days and hopefully get some value from the ordinary charges. This will allow us to get the $100 signup bonus and hopefully an additional moderate value during the promotional periods of 5x rewards.

I’m honestly surprised that their making problems so quickly; usually it takes time for them to see what’s going on and to try stopping it or limiting it. (How many years did it take Amex until they limited the Old Blue Cash card?) It’s possible that the freezes are just routine BBVA practice unrelated to the 5x aspect.

Who knows?



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Nate8
Nate8

The card won’t earn 5x on AGC. It’s clear in the terms. The system is set up to automatically exclude any internet sales, then you have to fight for the ones that are legitimate. The ones that are against the terms will never be reversed. I appreciate what you do, but I really wish you and others had pointed this out, which was available from the very beginning: “Purchases made through a third-party payment account or on an online marketplace (with multiple retailers) will not earn additional points. A purchase may not earn additional points if the merchant submits the purchase using a mobile or wireless card reader or if you use a mobile or digital wallet to make the purchase.”

JB
JB

Whaaaaat? That’s the first time I hear of this. No wonder my eBay/Paypal purchase hasn’t shown up on the TripleDouble Rewards page (although it should at least turn up there with 1 point/$ Isuppose). Thanks for pointing that out Nate! Need to be more careful in the future instead of entirely relying on DOC posts…

Dave L.
Dave L.

I had a different interpretation of the terms. The excluded “third party payment account or online marketplace with multiple retailers” sounds like payment systems like SERVE, Amazon payments, VISA buxx, etc and the online market place with multiple retailers sounds to be talking about ebay. Doesn’t say anything about ALL online purchases being excluded. For the sake of all of us, I hope that your interpretation is wrong. I guess we will see in the next statement.

Does it Matter
Does it Matter

the terms state “BBVA Compass reserves the right to, in its sole discretion; determine whether a particular transaction is a Qualifying Purchase and which purchase category applies. Outside of special promotions, points do not accumulate on cash advances, balance transfers, or convenience check transactions.”

gift cards are considered cash advances

calwatch
calwatch

Google tells me that language seems to be standard for AMEX bonus offers. For example AMEX Everyday has that same language, and people get 20% bonus points from AMEX Everyday, as well as points from purchase of AGC with an AMEX card (although it generally doesn’t work out financially).

Miz
Miz

I had already read this part of terms and conditions. “A third-party payment account or on an online marketplace” means services like Dwolla (which is a partner of BBVA), or presumably ebay, which will not earn “additional” points. “A mobile or wireless card reader” means Square reader and other similar devices in the market.

This has nothing to do with online purchases and it is not even possible to interpret them in way to say something about online purchases as a whole.

JB
JB

It’s funny you mentioned that. My extra bonus points for the eBay/PP purchase posted yesterday so I’m all good and hope that everyone else is, too.

Star
Star

My card is under review for one $3k transaction on June 4 in the city I work in (30 miles away from where I live). Could be triggered by size and location.

My friend, on the other hand, has already made $15k in purchases in $1000-3000 increments at various grocery and drugstores in the same city he lives in, or less than 15 miles away.

BBVA customer support has been very friendly and trying to contact the security dept repeatedly on my behalf but says the security dept hasn’t responded to their repeated contacts for over a day.

John
John

the security department is powerless and they told me that customer service keeps transferring people to them on the assumption that the security department can help. In reality the blocks are being instituted at the corporate level and have nothing to do with fraud concerns (which would be handled by the security department). I wonder if the corporate folks checked with the lawyers before pulling this stunt.

Dave L.
Dave L.

Yeah I sense that they are purposely pulling “fraud alerts” during the NBA finals.

MrWho
MrWho

That is what I was told after speaking with 3 reps from the fraud/security dept (both are the same). The freeze was placed by the back office.

star
star

My hold was just released and my card is immediately available for usage again! But yeah, learned my lesson. I’m gonna lay low and just use it for regular spend the rest of the NBA Finals.

Dave L.
Dave L.

How did you get it released? did they call you or did you have to call in?

David
David

If it were me, I’d at least try to shoot a 3 pointer at the buzzer, if you know what I mean.

star
star

@David: lol I’ll go for the 3 pointer 😉 but seeing as my points from June 4 spending haven’t even posted yet, not sure if it’s worth it. I have 9 days to see if it’s worth it!

@Dave L: I made $3k purchase (first purchase ever) on 6/4. On 6/6, I tried to make a $1k purchase and it was denied. I called immediately and they transferred me to security dept who said my account was under review and I would not be able to use the card. I messaged BBVA on Twitter on 6/7, concerned that my account would be shut down, and someone called me and gave me his direct line. The same CSR then continued to call me and follow up for the next 2 days, but the news was always that he still couldn’t reach the security dept from repeated attempts (like 3x a day, no response) but would keep trying. Finally this afternoon he called me with the good news that the hold was released. Hope this helps – I love using Twitter for customer service!

Dave L.
Dave L.

@Star Thanks for the twitter suggestion. My card got froze on 6/5 and I’m still waiting for a phone call back from them. did you tweet to #BBVACompass?

star
star

Yup, @BBVACompass 🙂 good luck! it’s annoying that they didn’t even try to contact me at all after the 6/4 $3k transaction. I think they probably started the hold on 6/6 when I tried to make the $1k swipe.

Dave L.
Dave L.

@Star Thanks bro, will give twitter a try. Did you do direct message with BBVA or just a public twitter post?

star
star

Usually customer service requests on Twitter start out as a public post, then they follow you and they ask you to DM them. You don’t reveal any account info. BBVA in particular will have you DM them your phone number and then they’ll take the rest of the conversation and followups to phone calls instead.

David
David

Just my opinion, but I wouldn’t have started with a $3000 purchase. Best to build up slightly. The 3K first purchase I’m sure got your account flagged.

star
star

Haha yeah I learned my lesson quickly immediately – I was accomplishing MSRs on multiple CCs and that’s how I’ve always done it… I hit $2-3k on my other cards (Citi, Comenity, Amex cards) and the others are all fine. I temporarily forgot that BBVA is not “one of those other guys”. Anyways, I’m definitely not making any more >$1k purchases on BBVA for a while until I develop a better history with them.

It most definitely was that $3k initial transaction that flagged my account because I never put any other purchases on it – it was immediately blocked upon my second swipe. The transaction posted today (date of purchase was 6/4, date of post is 6/9), and I paid the bill.

As an aside, it’s pretty lame that this card doesn’t have auto-pay, and the card management website looks like it’s from the 90s. The rewards website is okay, but I don’t understand why the two sites aren’t connected.

Phill the Points All Around
Phill the Points All Around

@Star…Great advice on reaching out through Twitter. Tweeted to them last night in regards to my acct. being frozen. Received a call today from a gentleman named Leo and he apologized for all the confusion and said my account should be unfrozen by EOB. Thanks again!

star
star

You guys are welcome for the twitter tip! It’s a great way to get good customer service. I’ve gotten a lot of help from Hyatt, United, AT&T, and even GEICO via Twitter this year. 🙂

@Dave L: I had Leo help me too! He was really nice and helpful. I got a second call from BBVA today to tell me again that my card was ok to use…I was like “Leo already told me yesterday” 😀

star
star

Oops last comment was directed at Phill, unless Dave also got Leo. Maybe he’s the main guy the twitter guys connect with.

mark
mark

little bank do little thing. Do not play with them

Stvr
Stvr

this could actually be an underwriting issue. Not everyone with a 700 credit score was supposed to get $20,000 credit lines right?

MrWho
MrWho

>800 FICO…~$20k CL…spent ~$3k, froze….

Paul
Paul

After my last run-in with BBVA, I called it quits with them. I am definitely not regretting that now. They are lame.

Spgbus
Spgbus

A CSR told me this morning that there is a 15k bonus points cap on the 5x category. I asked him there is no reference online anywhere regarding this. But he simply mentioned that he read a memo about it. He seems confused too and will call me back after checking with other department. Still waiting for the call back…

David
David

It could be something new, that they are deciding that after 15K is spent, they will freeze your account or whatever. My account was frozen yesterday, and it was on a purchase that would have taken me over 15K I believe. I know some people were frozen more quickly, but that might depend on how established your account is.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them try and run out the clock, so to speak.

Spgbus
Spgbus

Called again in the afternoon, the initial response of the 2nd agent also confirmed 15k cap but I firmly asked him to further escalate this with upper management. After 10 minutes hold, he came back with answer of NO Cap at all. It is unlimited for 5x category. Seems like there is a misleading email circulating among the agents. This is getting interesting and I am not sure if I can trust this bank any more.

Sam B
Sam B

All of my June 4th spending posted .. But it is giving only 1X back.. Don’t see the other 4X yet..

Helloworld
Helloworld

same here… Has anyone received the other 4x? At least for online purchase, I got 1x

Ben
Ben

Yes, I got 5x points posted for an online Serve load, no problem. The points are already available when I log into the rewards site, and it is the only transaction that has posted to the site so far.

Sam B
Sam B

The 4X on purchases for June 4th posted this morning .. Also the 2X for purchases at Grocery store posted.. On June 4th, I had a total spend of only $285.. Have to wait and see if the larger purchases on June 8th posts..

W D
W D

I haven’t run into any issues. So far only the signup bonus has been awarded.

star
star

How long did it take for your signup bonus to post?

W D
W D

Purchases posted 6/1, and it was recently so probably 10 days or so after the purchase. I used the card late May the day it arrived, so it didnt revolve around a billing cycle.

chris
chris

I haven’t had any of my points post at all even swiped transactions. BBVA is a garbage bank.

Vic
Vic

I haven’t setup the online banking so I don’t know what posted, but for me there is no $5k daily limit.

I went to Simon Mall yesterday and purchased 10x $500 VGC, with the total of $5039.5 in one swipe. It went through just fine and I have loaded half into redbird already.

The same day in the afternoon I also used the card for some ordinary purchase ($112) at a hardware store, that went through as well.

I used the car today for lunch so I believe my account is not frozen.

CL: $6K
FICO: 720

star
star

Interesting…when did you get your card? I have a friend who’s been doing $3-4k a day since Sunday without any problems. He hasn’t tried $5k yet due to the reports here, but I wonder if maybe they removed the limit very recently.

Vic
Vic

I applied on 5/31 and received the card on 6/6.

Phill the Points All Around
Phill the Points All Around

You have to ask for them to remove the 5k daily spend limit. My limit is now 15k a day spend.

Dave L.
Dave L.

From the comments, I get the sense that large ONLINE purchases seem to scare BBVA more than in-store purchases… People buying large amounts of SMGCs don’t seem to be having much problems, unlike people who bought AGCs.

Phill the Points All Around
Phill the Points All Around

@Dave. My account was frozen for a 10k purchase @ Simon Mall. FYI.

Dave L
Dave L

Just saying in general. 10K is a pretty BIG purchase! online and inshore.

calwatch
calwatch

On the other hand I did two $4k AGC transactions (unintentionally, but since they’ve been ordered I’ll take them) and one $3k GCM VGC and have not been shut down. No more online orders though.

Does it Matter
Does it Matter

if i may ask, what do you do with the gift cards? do you use that to pay the credit card back?

stvr
stvr

Spent $1K at Safeway and was frozen.

Ben
Ben

Just a more hopeful data point- I got 5x points posted for an online Serve load, no problem. The points are already available when I log into the rewards site, and it is the only transaction that has posted to the site so far.

Bryan
Bryan

Perhaps I’m just having bad luck, but is this card payable with BB? It keeps rejecting the info.

Dave L.
Dave L.

I can’t add it to BB or SERVE either… Probably going to have to push it to BBVA’s bill payment address.

Bryan
Bryan

Yeah, I figured that is the route I’ll have to take as well. I foresee that being a gigantic PITA.

Bryan
Bryan

Yep, tried that a bit earlier. That didn’t work either. Anyone have any suggestions for bill paying through BB???

Dave L
Dave L

I just made a payment from BBVA credit card website using my SERVE account as the checking account. Will give update if it works.

JB
JB

How’s that supposed to work? From the Bluebird site: “This information can only be used for adding funds into your Account with Direct Deposit. It cannot be used to pay bills on external sites.” I doubt it’s any different on Serve…

Dave L
Dave L

@JB you’re right, I see the same verbiage on Serve account. I cancelled the payment. Thanks. Guess I’ll just send myself a check from SERVE, then use my regular checking account to pay this credit card.

Curtis
Curtis

Can someone share the rewards site link? I don’t see it under the bbva login to check on points.

Phill the Points All Around
Phill the Points All Around
Does it Matter
Does it Matter

here’s the link for their disclosures just in case you’re thinking of purchasing gift cards for the points….its not going to happen folks!

https://www.bbvacompass.com/rewards/tripledoublerewards/

Curtis
Curtis

Ha – completely disagree…

Does it Matter
Does it Matter

lmbo…and you know this because???? I’m making copies of this website and reporting it the more and more you all talk about this and that lol…this whole page is a form of fraud!

JB
JB

And this helps you how exactly? How can you tell if my real name is Zefram Cochrane from Bozeman, MT or William Riker from Kodiak, AK… You of all should know how nice and warm the coat of anonymity feels 😉

Dave L
Dave L

My card is back in business. Thanks to Star for the Twitter suggestion!

Does it Matter
Does it Matter

1 Bonus Rewards Points only accumulate on Qualifying Purchases. Merchants are assigned category codes by American Express based on what they primarily sell. A purchase will not earn additional points if the merchant’s code is not in an eligible category. BBVA Compass reserves the right to, in its sole discretion; determine whether a particular transaction is a Qualifying Purchase and which purchase category applies. Outside of special promotions, points do not accumulate on cash advances, balance transfers, or convenience check transactions. It may take up to 45 days for bonus points to be awarded. Account must be in good standing to earn and redeem points. First purchase must be made within 90 days of account opening to qualify for special bonus points. The 10,000 bonus points offer requires at least $500 in Qualifying Purchases within 90 days of account opening and is limited to one award per account relationship regardless of the number of individual cards associated with that account relationship. Bonus points will be awarded within 45 days after the last Qualifying Purchase.

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