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R.I.P Arrival Plus: Barclay Shuts Down All My Credit Cards

Happy New Year everyone (seems the period to keep saying it never ends)! It’s not off to a super great start, thanks to Barclay shutting down all of my credit cards along with my family’s, but the glass is still half full as far as I’m concerned. This happened about four days ago after I checked into the Conrad Dubai. Everything was fine at check-in and then I got a notification from Uber that my payment information needed to be updated. My brother came back that afternoon and said his Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard was declined. I figured it might be a fraud alert issue, but when I logged into my account and saw this notice, I knew it was over:

Barclay Credit Card Account Shutdown

Account shut-down notice for my Barclay credit cards

I checked both of my Barclay credit cards along with those belonging to my parents and brother. All of them had been shut down. It’s actually not all that surprising considering the amount of manufactured spending I’ve been putting on these cards over the last two months. But I don’t even think it was about the spending – I think I committed the cardinal sin of paying off the card balance via Walmart Bill Pay. 

My friend Karyn had warned me about this, explaining that got her Barclay Arrival card shut down as well. I heeded her advice for a long time, but since I was churning so many Visa gift cards over the last month, I needed more than just money orders to unload them all. That’s when I decided to start using Walmart Bill Pay to pay off some of these credit card balances. I’m convinced that’s what did it, because I don’t think I put more than $5,000 on my mom’s credit card last month but I did use Walmart Bill Pay to pay off the entire balance. 

Unlike most people who have been shut down in the past, I was able to redeem my remaining Barclay Arrival miles for travel purchases. This was great because it meant I was able to off-set my travel expenses for most of my trip to the Middle East. However, it does mean fewer point-earning opportunities for me because I’ve not only lost one of my most valuable flexible rewards credit cards, but my Barclay cards also happened to have had the highest credit limits of any cards in my wallet. It’s all a bit disappointing, but not the end of the world. I still have Chase, Amex, and Bank of America and I can reapply in 6 months. 

Now that my trip is over, I’ll also be cutting down on manufactured spending. It’s taken up a lot of time over the last month, not to mention space, because I couldn’t fit all the gift cards I was churning in a normal trash can anymore so I ended up a pile of boxes around my room, filled with gift cards and receipts I couldn’t toss until all balances were paid.

I’ll continue to resell merchant gift cards with The Plastic Merchant, since I can easily do that from home and it’s less risky in terms of credit card shut-downs. Merchant gift cards can be purchased from a variety of retailers, so my spending patterns will appear much more normal than if I was purchasing Visa gift cards at my local mall or online

Hopefully this is a cautionary tale for some of you – if you’re going to use Barclay credit cards for manufactured spending, don’t use Walmart Bill Pay to pay off the balance. I knew that, took the risk anyway, and got my accounts shut down. 

If it has happened to any of you, I’d like your feedback: How did you get your Barclay credit card accounts shut down and how long after were you able to reapply?

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Ariana Arghandewal

64 Comments

  1. Hi Ariana,

    I’m so sorry to hear that!
    I’m curious, though, as to why you think it’s the Walmart bill pay? Why, if Barclay’s participates in the program, would they get bent out of shape when you use it?

    By the way, did you make your million miles for 2016?

    Kelli

  2. you can reapply after 6 mos. But theyll continue to shut you down if you MS on it now. Also FYIuse caution BPing on Chase and BofA the same thing will happen to you. Except when Chase shuts you down. It’ll be 2 yrs before they’ll let you keep an acct open

    • Thanks for the heads up. I’ve never used bill pay for Chase but had considered using it for Bofa. Going forward my ms activities will be decreasing anyway, but either way I’m taking WM bill pay totally off the table.

      • For Bank of America I recommend just open a cheap no fee checking account and deposit money orders to a Bank of America ATM then online transfer the checking account balances to the BA credit cards.

  3. So do you think its ok to buy Visa GC at your local Simon Mall with the Arrival Plus to meet a min spend?

  4. My Chase accounts was shut down right after CSR went alive, both personal and business credit cards. Called in and they could not reinstate, but I was able to open an new ink plus in Nov, was approved for CSR last week.

  5. My Cap1 venture card was shut down few weeks ago while I was overseas. My wife’s acct, who applied just a month ago also shutdown. Just before these accounts were closed, my wife added me as an AU. Not sure if this triggered it. The snail mail said the activity is not consistent with their expectations etc. Will CPFB help?

    • I had same happen. All accounts of my SO where I was AU were closed. The lone Cap1 that I wasn’t an AU remained open. That account had never done any MS so it’s clear that discerning eyeballs are closing any Cap1 accounts that are involved in MS.

      • So what are you going to do about it? It’s really annoying to have hit the credit score and not getting the bonus.

  6. I switched from the Arrival Card to Capital One in Oct and have been quite happy. If you don’t have one, I recommend it.

    • Yeah I might do that, though I really don’t like how they pull from all three credit bureaus. I think I’m going to sit tight for a few months and just use my Fidelity card, then apply for a bunch of other cards.

      • I wasn’t aware that they pulled from three bureaus. Explains my rather large drip in credit rating. Oh well, it always come back. 😉

      • Meh, it doesn’t really matter if they pull from all three credit agencies, as most of us are highly concentrated on one (usually Experian). So adding a pull on Equifax and TU doesn’t mean a hill of beans.

        Cap1 was a great card – if you no longer use if for MS as they are shutting down anyone who MS on their card.

      • Chase surely did take your points – but they just lost a Class Action lawsuit involving that very issue – I rec’d notice in the mail last month that I was a class member. They shut me down and stole some UA miles I had coming in 2014. Many sued successfully in Small Claims but that was a PITA and most just walked away (like I did).

  7. So I can cancel any Barclays card I have and reapply in six months?

    Also, I checked with the manager of my small town PO substation located in a little grocery still and they will accept visa debit gift cards for mo’s. I checked with my mortagage bank and they will take mo’s so I can pay off my principle this year.

    But I can’t seem to find any fee free gc’s rigt now. Is this normally a sow time of year?

    • You missed it. 🙂 Last month Simon Mall offered $0 fee cards. But you can buy Visa gc’s at Giftcars.com and off-set the fees with cash back from a shopping portal.

  8. Never did a Walmart bill pay and I was shutdown. I know, they know, and you know why…#sigh Barclay is garbage anyway with their ridiculous $89 AF for a 2.05 card.

  9. don’t think was billpay, i was using for high dollar ms and all my family with my household got shut down..when My parents have 0 activites on ms

    • I think household factors into it as well – my mom’s card didn’t get put to use as much as my dad and brothers. Yet, they shut everyone down at the same time. I think they just target everyone in the same household when they’re ready to pull the trigger.

  10. Happy new year, Ariana! I’m sorry you had some bad news right at the start of the year. You mentioned “I couldn’t fit all the gift cards I was churning in a normal trash can anymore so I ended up a pile of boxes around my room”, holy crap! How much were you churning last month? LOL

    Also, you didn’t mentioned Citi among the banks you still have. I wondered why? Were you shut down by them too?

    Welcome back. I hope you had a great vacation.

  11. why does Barclay care what you use to pay your bill?

    You are generating large transaction fees for them…and making them money from those transaction fees. I’m missing something here.

    What was the process used for Walmart Bill Pay that you believe was the cause of your shutdown?

    BTW, did you demand they refund your annual fee? It’s the least they could do.

    Also, why do you never show yourself in your travel pics?

    • They’re trying to minimize risk, so I think when they see things like third party bill pay (which is often associated with fraud), they’re worried about whether that customer is using the card for legitimate spend and plans on repaying their debt. I haven’t asked for an annual fee credit, but thanks for the idea! I’m in a few travel pics on Instagram, Twitter, and my bio pic. Other than that, I already know what I look like so I prefer to take photos of places rather than myself. 🙂

  12. One more thing…could we see a pic of your boxes & boxes of cards, receipts, etc… I really am intrigued with that pic in my mind of how crazy it must be to organize what you do!!

  13. Let’s be honest: MS is shady. Because of it, sign up bonuses are harder than ever to get. I’ll be honest, I considered doing it at first, but even if I had the time, it’s clearly unethical. Do I feel bad about taking out 5 or so new cards a year for the sign up bonus? No, because I’m paying for actual products and services.

    MS makes it harder for everyone else to get points and miles legitimately. I wish people wouldn’t do this.

  14. Thanks for all the info regarding your bill pay activities.

    Question, how much have you done billpay with your fidelity? Looks like billpaying with chase, citi and cap1 are out of the question. I’d like to use my fidelity for 2-4k a month. Thanks!

    • I haven’t done any with Fidelity – the cashiers always have a hard time finding it in the system. I’ve been bill paying Discover for almost a year without issue, but I think I’m going to stop that too.

  15. I have been WMBP a lot on those cards for almost a year. IMO I dont think thats it. Did you by any chance cycle youre credit limit??

  16. I’m sorry to hear about the closure of your accounts with Barclay, I read in some of your previous post that you were using Billpay to help reduce the amount of MO deposits; since it seemed to me That you were doing a decent amount of MS without reporting any adverse effects I started to do Some Billpay on my cards with BoA and AMEX, now that I’m reading your shutdown report I’m discontinuing the use of Billpay (at least for the cards that I care about) and going back to place the risk of shutdown on institutions where I can afford to get shutdown. Over the last couple of months, I found lots of threads on shutdowns on other blogs but I always assumed that they just wanted to scare others from using certain venues to do MS. Thank you for openly sharing your experiences, it truly helps to make educate decisions on what type of risk is acceptable for each of us.

    Rgs

    Joe

  17. Is the bill pay issue with paying with WMBP or with the credit card’s bill pay?
    Otherwise what is the best method of paying each credit cards current balances?

  18. How much were you cycling your credit limit? And about how much was your credit limit on that card? If you have Arrival and other Barclay cards, would a shutdown of the Arrival card mean the other Barclay cards (lets say AAdvantage card) get shutdown too?

    • The credit limit on these cards ranged from $5k – $15k. I would say I cycled most of them at least twice, though I only used my mom’s Barclay Aviator Red card once. I think once they decided to shut down one card, they went after them all.

  19. I got the axe for my Arrival card and two other cards I had with Barclay. I did do some MS on the arrival, maybe 2x the credit limit and made multiple payments a month. I did Not use WM Bill pay.

  20. In addition to depositing them, I occasionally use MO to pay my credit card bills. Have been doing it with SPG and BofA for maybe a year now but hesitant to do it with Barclays (only have Aviator and MilesandMore cards with them, not Arrival). In your experience – do you think it’s safe to use MO to pay off your Barclays cards? Or you wouldn’t do it?

    • I’ve never done it because I don’t like to mail in mo’s. But from what I hear, banks like Chase will shut you down if you use mo’s for too many bill payments. If you can, try to keep your payments to a single source (preferably your checking account).

  21. I don’t think it’s WMBP that made them kill your accounts. I know what raises HUGE red flags for credit card companies is when people spend monthly more than their stated yearly income. It doesn’t even matter if that spend is partly MS or all legit, but that’s the main reason for closing accounts.

    • It was probably a combination of cycling my credit line, buying gift cards, exceeding my income in spending, and bill pay. But I know a lot of folks who flew under the radar until they got WM bill pay involved. I’ll steer clear of it in the future if I can help it.

  22. My GF and I were WMBP’ing our citi and barclay cards since the death of redbird…. no problems… my gf opened up 2 chase cards to earn a SW companion pass… and BAM, he barclay got axed.. Mine did not.. We share the same address.. Anyways, I think I’m quitting WMBP anyways… My barclay arrival has its annual fee coming up.. Im thinking about retiring the card before I get axed.. do you think quitting while your ahead will prevent any type of account review?

    • I’m still using WM bill pay for Discover, but I’ve only got a couple months left to take advantage of the 3% cash back so hopefully it will be ok. If I were you, I’d get rid of the card. And then maybe just continue churning it going forward.

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