At the beginning of the month I suggested that since the latest Vanilla Reload Network redesign included MasterCard rePower on the front of the card, it might be possible to load MasterCard prepaid debit cards using Vanilla Reload Network reload cards.
To test this theory, I picked what looked like two of the most promising cards: the H&R Block Emerald prepaid MasterCard and the Mango alternative checking account. The Emerald card doesn't have any monthly fees, and the Mango card has a $5 monthly fee that's waived when you load $500 or more during your statement period.
Unfortunately, neither card is currently loadable using Vanilla Reload Network reload cards.
However, in the course of my experimenting I did discover that Mango allows outgoing ACH transactions . That means that if you are able to load the account (for example, using Green Dot Moneypaks, available in some areas and at some merchants for purchase by credit card), then you can easily liquidate your balance by entering your Mango routing and account numbers in your credit card issuer's bill pay function.
In Other News
It isn't really the focus of this blog or my book, but I should also point out that Mango offers a 6% APR savings account alongside its checking account product. This is more than you'll earn leaving your money in virtually any other FDIC-insured instrument. You'll earn 6% APY on the first $5,000 in your savings account when you "enroll" in their direct deposit service. According to the site, you "enroll" by making 2 payroll deposits totaling $50 or more within 90 days. If you max out the $5,000 cap, and then deposit and bill pay out $500 each month in order to avoid the monthly fee, then you'll earn $300 per year in interest (actually slightly less since it's 6% APY, not APR, and you won't earn true compound interest above the $5,000 level). You won't get rich using this technique, but there's also no reason not to do it, since if you're manufacturing spend then you probably have a fair amount of month-to-month liquidity. You're allowed up to 5 transfers between your Mango checking and savings accounts each month.
One other note: while Mango suggests linking your bank account or PayPal account as a funding source, I was unable to use my Mango routing and account numbers to add the account to either Bank of America's "transfers outside the bank" function or PayPal's "withdraw" function. However, I was able to add Mango as a "linked checking account" to Bluebird. Your Miles May Vary.