Visa Extras Debit Card Rewards Program Review

August 3, 2005 · 19 comments

Got a Visa debit card? You may be eligible to participate in VisaExtras, a rewards program that pays points for your purchases both online AND off!
Who Qualifies:
U.S. residents whose bank issues Visa debit cards AND participates in the program. Not all banks do. (Enter your Visa debit card number at, or call them at 1-800-960-8472, and they can tell you right away if your bank participates.) Also, you have to sign for your debit purchases instead of just entering the PIN — that means choosing “Credit” instead of “Debit” on the swipe-card terminals at checkout.
How You Earn Points:
Get 1,000 points for signing up. For each 12 months of membership, you earn 1 point per dollar up to your first $4,000 of purchases, then it bumps up to 2 points per dollar. On your membership anniversary, you start over at 1. You can earn bonus points by shopping at certain online merchants through the links on the VisaExtras website — these points range from 3 points per dollar at BestBuy, Staples, Expedia, and Linens’n'Things, up to 20 points per dollar at a wide selection of merchants (including, for instance, SmartBargains and 1-800-Flowers). There are a few large flat-rate points offers, like BMGMusic (3,500 points) and T-Mobile (4,500 points). They’re also giving away 1,000,000 points to one lucky member each quarter of 2005.
How You Can Spend The Points:
Ah, the fun part! Cash out your points at or by calling 1-800-960-8472. Shipping’s free and they estimate 4 weeks for you to receive your reward. The cheapest redemptions are 2,000 points — for a $5 GC to Blockbuster, BP gas stations, CVS, Red Lobster/Olive Garden, or Starbucks. There are a total of 185 redemptions to choose from. The options include GCs, merchandise, magazine subscriptions, even a cash credit to the checking account associated with your debit card. Some of the merchandise options are pretty cool — like for 20,000 points you can get a football autographed by your choice (from a list) of NFL players.
Some Fine Print:
If you have a joint checking account and you have different debit card numbers, you and your spouse must enroll separately you can’t combine your points. Not all purchases qualify for points — you can’t get points for balance transfers or buying things that can be readily converted to cash (like prepaid Visa cards, travellers’ checks, etc.). Make sure you read the terms for the exclusions. Some merchants may have bonus point promotions, and while those points count toward your reward, they won’t count toward reaching the $4,000 threshold. Also, if you return a purchase, the points you earned for that purchase will be deducted. AND unused points expire in 36 months.
My Take On It:
Anything you can earn for free and without any additional spending on your part is good. If they want to pay me to use my debit card like a credit card, no problemo. I usually use my debit card for buying groceries and for entertainment (restaurants, the movies, etc). I easily use my debit card for $500+ a month in purchases and this makes me want to use it even more. Of course at 1 point per dollar, it’d take 4 months of that $500 debiting to get me a $5 GC. But again, it’s free and doesn’t require any real additional effort.
Their online shopping portal’s “bonus” points, though, leaves something to be desired. First of all, there aren’t many merchants offered at all. Second, considering that a $5 GC costs 2,000 points, a point is worth 1/4 of a cent. That makes 20 points per dollar, their best shopping rate, equivalent to 5%. Why accept 5% for 1-800-Flowers purchases when you can earn 8% at Ebates or
My advice: use the offline portion of the program to earn points on purchases you’d pay for with a check or your debit card anyway, but avoid their shopping portal. There are other alternatives that pay better.
Related Articles: Visa Extras Rewards Fights Glitch

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

tamara February 4, 2006 at 12:05 pm

i am enrolled in the visa extras program for over a year now and i must say that i am satisfied with the program reason being the rewards are too small for the ampunt of points needed.


Melissa October 18, 2006 at 11:28 am

Visa Rewards now offers ‘Linking’ where you can link 2 checkcards from the same account to one Visa Rewards account, so you can earn points and rewards faster.


Aaryn December 12, 2006 at 1:16 pm

I’m currently fighting a battle with my Visa extras rewards. They started a “site maintenance” on their website on Nov. 8, and said it would be completed by 11/18. When it wasn’t completed by then, they extended the date to 11/30. The site is still not up and running, and they have no idea when it will be up nor when the points we earned during this period will be credited (they assert that we are still accruing points although they cannot tell us how many or how they are being calculated). I have called several times and emailed a formal complaint, all to no avail. Is there anything I can do? I know that they originally stated it could take up to 90 days for points to be credited to the account – now they’ve amended that to say “90 days after the maintenance period ends”. To further complicate matters, I need to close the account as it is tied to a bank account that I no longer use (because of a move). I can’t redeem my full points nor do I have any idea when I may do so. Is anyone else complaining about this? Any help/insight you can provide is appreciated.


robert labdon December 19, 2006 at 7:14 pm

I would like to see how many points I have accrued. Please advise


RONALD ALMEIDA January 22, 2007 at 3:53 pm



John March 5, 2007 at 10:09 am

I patiently waited and watched my visa extra points grow as I homed in on an autographed football reward. Just as I was about to have enough points to order the site went down for maintenance. It took a very long time for the maintenance to complete. It was way beyond what they originally estimated. When the site finally came back up I cashed in my points for a $100.00 Home Depot Gift card. When a month had gone by and the gift card did not arrive I called them. They gave me a runaround about it taking 4-6 weeks for it to arrive once mailed. I have talked to their customer service line twice since and gotten even more runaround. One supervisor tells me it is still in processing and another tells me it was mailed out a little over 5 weeks ago by USPS. When I pointed out that I never have anything I mail USPS take more than 5 days to arrive anywhere in the country she told me it is not unusual for theirs to take up to 6 weeks. Right now I am feeling like it is all a huge con game just to get me to use my card as a credit card and not a debit. Lots of aggravation and very little reward.


Buddy January 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

Did you ever receive the item?


Marc Shapiro July 3, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Don’t waste your time with this program. I think this program is some sort of joke? Ordered an award 2 weeks ago. I called phone number that website says will connect me to a representative. This number is automated system only. They don’t respond to emails either. If I don’t get a response to the status of my order soon I will be very angry and file web based complaint to FCC and other sites. Very frustrating. They say don’t reply to this message yet give the same address to use for help. Silly!!


Alan December 5, 2007 at 8:52 am

Site still not available 12-5-07. Makes me wonder if the whole program was fraudulent. I have enough points to get a $10 gift card, but glad to find out it takes weeks to get the reward, if at all, I will cash in my points asap, if the site ever comes up.


Selena February 13, 2008 at 10:48 am

Cannot access site.


Reneesa April 9, 2008 at 1:08 pm

The phone number offered does not let you speak with a representative. I can no longer log into the site. It will not accept my password. I am upset with what’s happening because I have had no problems with them in the past.


Reneesa April 9, 2008 at 1:18 pm

I am wrong. You must press 3 and then 9 to speak to a Customer Service Rep.


Unknown July 18, 2008 at 7:14 am

i’ve worked for the visa extras program and i think most of you people are fucking losers to call about points in the manner that you do.Points are not your life and there are other things that need to be worried about in the word.If any of you read terms and conditions you’d know all about the program and how it works but you don’t so you get pissed when told rules and regulations get a life.


anon June 5, 2013 at 1:23 am

You shouldn’t be working at Visa or anywhere else telling the customers off like that. It’s not your business if they don’t read it and call in. They can do that if they want to. You wouldn’t have a job if people didn’t call in. Either way, you are there to help Visa with customer service and are not suppose to talking to Visa’s customers like that. You should be fired because you are not good customer service.


K April 2, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I have been enrolled in Visa Extras for over 3 years now and am completely satisfied. It costs nothing to join, and you get things for FREE. No strings attached, no shipping, nothing extra to pay! I don’t understand why people feel the need to complain about free merchandise, especially when it is easy to gain points…you do not have to do anything after you enroll. Most recently, I received my gift cards that I ordered in less than 2 weeks! I am sure that some items are shipped quicker than others, but nothing has taken more than 6 weeks for me.


AW April 21, 2009 at 7:39 pm

The reason Visa even offers “free stuff” is to drive people to use the Credit option (as opposed to PIN-based) when making a purchase. This routes the transaction over their network and enables them to charge the merchant a fee. Since merchants are paying these fees, they need to charge more for goods, passing that onto the consumer (you).
Currently, the lowest point value reward is a $4 cash award for 2000 points, which costs you $4000 in purchases. That’s a 0.1% reward return, and merchants are probably charging you easily 10 times that to offset fees. You do the math.
There is no free lunch.


HopToIt January 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm

BOTTOM LINE: Visa Extras has proven to be a worthless rewards program. I made some hundred of purchases over the past 6 months, some credit based and others pin-based. Not a single one of them was considered to be valid and no points were awarded. It appears that unless you are willing to shop directly through the bonus partners program, don’t count on earning any points without burning up your time with customer service. The painfully small rewards are not equal to the restrictions.


JS February 1, 2013 at 1:43 pm

VISA Extras. It’s nearly impossible to get through their customer service answering system to a human being without spending 20 minutes navigating. And when you do get through you reach someone in a foreign country holding a job that many Americans would be MORE THAN willing to take. While in my case I have been able to earn some rewards on my debit Visa (nowhere near the value of what I know are awarded by other credit cards), I have had really annoying experiences with their customer service, and I am as a result, alienated somewhat from, and less likely to be loyal to, my bank for joining with this program.


JF2 March 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Enrolled through TDBank to obtain the “Visa Extras” perks… and cancelled almost as fast as I enrolled after reading through the website and seeing how much you need to spend on “qualified” purchases.

Sure… I earn 1 point for every $1 spent. BUT… You need 50,000 points to receive a $100 gift certificate (or cash back). That means you get a reward back of 2/10 of 1 percent for every dollar spent. Other rewards cards are 1 percent for every dollar spent. Chase rewards card where if I rack up 50,000 points, I will receive $500 back in cash back.

Bottom line is that you yield 1/5 of the rewards other programs have. Oh.. but it IS free, so there’s that.


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