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Cincinnati, Ohio, based Kroger is the largest grocery store chain in America by sales. And with 2,760 stores across much of the country, the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card is well worth investigating.
The Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card isn’t a credit card, but a fully reloadable prepaid debit card. It’s designed primarily for those who are frequent Kroger shoppers, though it can also be of value if you only occasionally shop there. After all, as a Visa card, it can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, even if that’s not a Kroger store.
But this is no ordinary prepaid card. You can earn points using the card, which is similar to a rewards credit card. For example, you can earn points for purchases of both Kroger products and non-Kroger products purchased at the store. It offers a way to stretch your grocery budget dollars further. You can even earn points for non-Kroger purchases.
What’s more, as a prepaid card, you won’t face the prospect of using a credit card to pay for groceries. If you’re the type of consumer who often carries an ongoing credit card balance, that will add interest to your grocery store purchases. Over the long run, those interest charges can easily offset any points back rewards you’ll earn from using a regular credit card.
Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card Sign On Bonus and Rewards
When you sign up for the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card you’ll get a $10 bonus after making your first deposit on the card.
Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card rewards points are offered in three tiers:
- 3X points for every dollar spent purchasing Kroger products
- 2X points for every dollar spent at Kroger stores for non-Kroger products
- 1X points on all other purchases, including those at non-Kroger vendors
Discount on Fuel Purchases
The website also indicates the card comes with an extra five cents off per gallon of fuel at Kroger stores with gas stations, every day. In addition, by presenting the card to the gas station cashier prior to filling your tank, you’ll avoid hold charges placed on your card.
Redeeming Your Points
Once you earn 1,000 points using the card, you’ll get $5 in free groceries.
For example, let’s assume when you shop at Kroger you have a 50-50 split between Kroger products and non-Kroger products. Since you’ll earn three points purchasing Kroger products, and two points on non-Kroger products, the average will be 2.5 points for each $1 spent on groceries.
Translated, you’ll need to spend $400 in combined purchases at Kroger to earn 1,000 points, which will get you the $5 in free groceries.
The Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card can be purchased at any Kroger store. It can be used for purchases in Kroger itself, or at any merchants or vendors that accepts Visa. It can even be used to rent a car, pay for a hotel stay, or purchase airline tickets, as long as the vendor accepts a prepaid debit card for payment. You can also use the card to make online purchases and ATM withdrawals.
The basic terms of the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card are as follows:
Maximum card balance: $10,000
Maximum daily load limit: 10 transactions and $5,000 per day, but more specific limits apply as follows:
- Direct deposit: Five transactions and $5,000 per day
- Cash and check reload networks: Three transactions and $1,000 per day, or 10 transactions and $10,000 every rolling 30 days
- Card-to-card transfers (including Recharge Card): Two transactions and $1,000 per day
- Returns and refunds: Four transactions per day
Maximum daily debit limit: 20 transactions and $5,000 per day; includes point-of-sale purchases, ATM withdrawals, teller cash withdrawals, and card-to-card transfers. More specific maximum daily debit limits are as follows:
- Point-of-sale purchases: 20 transactions and $2,525 per day–applies to Personalized Reloadable Cards and includes cash back at participating retailers
- Temporary cards – Point-of-sale purchases: 20 transactions and $500 per day
- ATM withdrawals: Three transactions and $1,025 per transaction, or $1,220 per day
- Teller cash withdrawals at Visa member banks: Two transactions and $2,525 per day
- Card-to-card transfers: Two transactions and $2,500 per day
The Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card offers several ways to reload your card. Some have fees, and some can be done free of charge.
At a Kroger Checkout Line or Service Desk: You can load anywhere from $10 up to $1,000 directly on the card. There is a reload fee of $3, and the funds on the card will be available for immediate use.
Direct Deposit: You can make a direct deposit from your regular paycheck onto your Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card. The deposit can be in any amount up to a maximum of $5,000. There is no fee for this reload method, and the funds will be available on your regular payday.
Using a Recharge Card: You can purchase a Recharge Card at any participating Kroger store. You can load any amount–between $10 and $1,000–at a Kroger checkout counter. The card can be purchased for $3.
Once you’ve purchased the Recharge Card, you can transfer funds to your Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card, either by calling 1-888-853-9480, or by logging into your account.
Transfer from Your Bank Account: This can be done with an electronic funds transfer, directly from the website of your bank, credit union, or other financial institution. You can do this by following the instructions to set up an ACH transfer from your bank’s website. You’ll need to supply the routing number and account number from your Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card. No fee is indicated for this reloading method.
PayPal: You can transfer funds directly from your PayPal account to your Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card. That can be done from your PayPal account. Once again, no fee is indicated from Kroger, though there may be a charge from PayPal.
Card-to-Card Transfer: You can move funds from one Kroger prepaid card to another, at no cost.
Mobile Check Load with Ingo Money: Ingo Money is a downloadable app for your mobile device that will enable you to do a mobile check deposit onto your Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card. You take a photo of the check you want to deposit from your smartphone, then download it to the Ingo Money. Funds will be available in anywhere from a few minutes to one hour or more.
Kroger does not charge a fee for this reload method, but there are fees payable to Ingo Money. Standard pricing checks and money orders is $5 for check values of $100 or less, and 5% for over $100. However, the fees are lower for pre-printed payroll checks and government checks, at $5 for a check value of $250 or less, and 2% of the check value if it’s more.
Credit required: N/A–as a prepaid debit card, your credit isn’t a factor.
FDIC insurance protection: You can register your card for FDIC insurance eligibility. If you do, the funds will be held at U.S. Bank National Association, which is an FDIC insured bank. If you choose this option, your funds held on the card will be insured up to $250,000 in the event the bank fails.
Overdraft provision: There is no overdraft capability on the card. You will not be able to spend any more than you have cash available on the card. In general, if your purchase exceeds your card balance, payment will be declined. However, Kroger warns that it is possible to overdraw the card if a merchant processes a transaction without obtaining an authorization. There are no overdraft fees should that occur.
Email and text alerts: You can sign up to have alerts provided by email or text for transactions related to your card.
The Kroger Rewards Prepaid App: Kroger has a mobile app dedicated to the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card. There you can check your balance and transactions, as well as reload your card. The app is available at The App Store for iOS devices, 9.3 or later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPad touch. It’s also available at Google Play for Android devices, 4.2 and up.
Customer service: Available by phone or on the mobile app.
You can purchase a Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card in any participating Kroger store, or you can apply online. No credit check will be performed, and your card will arrive in about 10 business days.
Application information required will include:
- Your full name
- Physical address
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Phone number
- Email address
You’ll also need to indicate your country of citizenship, as well as the particular division of the Kroger Family of Stores you shop at. Member stores include Kroger, Fry’s, King Soopers, Quality Food Centers, Food 4 Less, Dillons Food Stores, and Smith Food & Drug Stores.
To avoid the 10-business day delay, you can purchase the card in the store, and add a temporary card. With it, you’ll be able to begin using the card immediately, until your permanent card arrives.
As a prepaid debit card, the fees associated with the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card are very different from credit cards. The fee structure on the card is as follows:
- Upfront fee for the card: $1.50
- Monthly fee: $4.95
- Reload fee: $0 to $3 per reload, depending on the method used – see Reloading Your Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card section above for specific reload fees.
- Annual fee: $0
- Inactivity fee: $0
- Overdraft fee: $0
- Annual Percentage Rate (APR): None–it’s a debit card not a credit card
- Foreign transaction fees: 3%
- ATM withdrawal fee: $2.50 (includes international ATM withdrawals), but you may also be charged a fee by the bank that owns the ATM.
- Card replacement fee: $3 ($15 for card replacement expedited delivery)
- Rewards points: The Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card is a prepaid card that pays rewards points, redeemable for free groceries.
- Gas discount: You’ll also get five cents per gallon off the cost of gasoline purchased at Kroger stores with filling stations. In addition, no hold is placed on your card.
- Use it anywhere VISA is accepted: The card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted and still earns rewards.
- Get cash from ATMs: The card can be used to make cash withdrawals from ATMs.
- Easy reload: You have multiple reload options, some of which are cost-free.
- High monthly fee: The monthly fee of $4.95 can work out to be higher than the interest charged on a typical credit card, particularly if you use the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card infrequently and don’t accumulate sufficient rewards.
- Funds on the card cannot be transferred: Once funds are loaded onto the card, they cannot be transferred back to your bank account.
Prepaid Visa and MasterCard debit cards are becoming more common. If you’d like to consider options other than the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card you should investigate the following:
The Netspend Visa® Prepaid Card offers no credit check, no minimum balance, and no activation fee. The monthly fee can range anywhere from $5 to $9.95, but you can also select a pay-as-you-go plan that charges you on a per transaction basis.
The Green Dot 5% Cash Back Visa® Debit Card enables you to earn up to 5% cash back on everyday purchases, up to $250 per year. It comes with a monthly fee of $7.95, but that’s waived when you spend at least $1,000 per month.
The Walmart MoneyCard® MasterCard® with Cash Back Rewards earns 3% cash back at Walmart.com, and 1% to 2% cash back at other outlets. The card comes with a monthly fee of $5, and a cash reload fee of $5.95.
Since the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card pays the highest rewards for purchases made in Kroger, it really makes the most sense if you’re a regular Kroger shopper. It also has the advantage that the card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.
The biggest drawback to the card in the monthly fee at $4.95. But in the example we did earlier, you can earn $5 in free groceries after spending $400 at Kroger. If you normally spend $800 per month for food in Kroger, you’ll get $10. That will cover the monthly fee, and give you more than $5 toward future grocery purchases.
But if you also purchase your gas at Kroger, you’ll get a couple of breaks there as well. You’ll get five cents off per gallon when you fill up at a Kroger gas station. Plus, no hold will be placed on your card, as is a common practice at gas stations.
If you’re not a regular Kroger customer, the rewards may not cover the monthly fee.
If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to sign up for the card, visit the Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® Card website.