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Suggestions for Amazon... allowing us to use our FSA debit cards


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Showing 1-25 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 1, 2011 4:14:35 PM PST
Trimmer says:
Every year, I put money into a Flexible Spending Account to pay for various health care needs through the year. Where I work, we get a Visa debit card so we don't have to pay out of pocket and then submit receipts for reimbursement.

CVS.com and drugstore.com allow me to use my FSA card online for eligible items, but Amazon doesn't. I'm not sure if there's a legal reason Amazon can't do the same thing, but if there isn't, it would be nice to have that feature.

Just an idea.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2011 4:27:41 PM PST
tonyS says:
It's a restriction placed on the card by the issuer - even for FSA-eligible items. It has nothing to do with, nor under any control by Amazon or any other store.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2011 4:35:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 1, 2011 8:09:09 PM PST
Ryan W says:
I think it's irrelevant at this point anyway, since laws taking effect today, January 1st, 2011, prohibit the use of flexible spending account funds for over-the-counter medical supplies anyway.

Edit: My apologies, but the new laws governing eligibility only effect medicine and drugs purchased over-the-counter. Other medical supplies' eligibility should continue as before.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2011 4:40:49 PM PST
tonyS says:
Ryan: that's simply untrue. If anyone has an FSA, they can clearly read the new rules which would probably be provided by his/her employer. Many OTC items are still clearly approved for FSA purchases, however, a letter of medical necessity would be required for some of them. What you've posted is an exceptionally clear example of how easy it is to get wrong or misleading advice/info on the internet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2011 4:47:57 PM PST
Prospero says:
"What you've posted is an exceptionally clear example of how easy it is to get wrong or misleading advice/info on the internet. "

Or from Faux Newsish programs.

You are right Tony. I have a Pro-card from work. The Card issuer places restrictions on the vendor category of purchase you can make. So, I could by gum at a gas station, but I cant at a liqueur store (just an example).

Posted on Jan 1, 2011 4:48:42 PM PST
Trimmer says:
I don't know that it's totally a restriction placed by the issuer, but I don't know. I know that the IRS requires specific controls be put in place, but I'm not sure a company can be denied by an issuer if they meet the IRS regulations. Maybe they can... I'm not sure.

Posted on Jan 1, 2011 5:17:58 PM PST
Cricket says:
I have a HSA and these are the some of new rules sent to me for mine.

* Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and drugs will no longer be eligible for tax-free reimbursement from an HSA without a doctor's prescription. This includes pain relievers, sleep aides, and cough medicines.
* Certain OTC purchases, such as insulin, bandages, and medical devices, continue to be eligible for tax-free purchase from an HSA without a prescription.

I of course went out yesterday and stocked up.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2011 10:17:09 PM PST
Prospero says:
"I don't know that it's totally a restriction placed by the issuer, but I don't know."

It is. Now you do know.

Each vendor has a category code. Every card is cleared for certain codes. Every vendor wants to accept any card they can - it's a sale after all. If your account is in good standing but your card is not being accepted, it is NOT the vendor that is blocking it - it is the issuer. Why would Amazon not want your money?

Posted on Jan 2, 2011 3:45:04 AM PST
Trimmer says:
But doesn't the vendor first have to be approved the IRS by setting up an inventory information approval system (IIAS)? If Amazon's done that, they're not talking about it in the help section (but I haven't actually asked customer service). The other sites I use that take my debit card all make a big point out of it and clearly mark each FSA-eligible item with a symbol.

On an unrelated note, I found out on December 28 I still had almost $400 left on my account.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2011 9:43:27 AM PST
Just MO says:
Don't you keep up with it through the year? We went through $2000 on my FSA by June.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2011 10:23:44 AM PST
tonyS says:
Don't they still allow you a few months (like to March) to use up that money, or did that recently change, too?

Posted on Jan 2, 2011 10:44:45 AM PST
John Catral says:
Certain employers have a grace period and some don't I believe but don't quote me on that. :D Several years ago I had LASIK done the first week of January 2007. I used my FSA money from 2006 then applied the difference with my 2007 FSA funds. I was able to do it because my employer had a grace period until March.

Posted on Jan 2, 2011 11:34:42 AM PST
Trimmer says:
Oops, didn't finish the story. After I found out how much I had in my FSA, I also found out that I hadn't used my vision insurance. The next day, I got an exam, fancy glasses, and year's supply of contact lenses with it... and still had $3 in my FSA.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 1:20:32 PM PST
O-RODz says:
TASC says it is an issue with Amazon and not the card issuer.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 3:49:37 PM PST
If a store certifies as only selling 100% medically eligible merchandise, then they don't have to set up an inventory system IIAS. Obviously, Amazon.com isn't such a merchant. My issuer says that the IRS prevents them from authorizing purchases from Amazon.com (Amazon Marketplace), and I infer from that statement that the reason is that Amazon (and all their resellers) don't have that set up to certify that all the merchandise in the order is on the eligible list. So, I cannot use my FSA !CARD!, but I can submit my receipt and access the FSA !FUNDS!. It's just a bit more work for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 3:57:53 PM PST
Egó,ňr says:
Do you also read newspapers from a year ago?

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 3:59:33 PM PST
It's still a problem today, and the discussion is still here.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 4:14:10 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 15, 2013 4:15:02 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2013 6:06:07 AM PDT
Krismas says:
amazon is listed as a "book store" not a medical store in financial transaction coding. thats why it wont work.

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 2:20:16 PM PST
jv says:
It may work if Amazon implemented http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inventory_information_approval_system
There are places that can accept debit cards for FSA etc. by having eligibility of each item in their system. If any one item at checkout is ineligible the transaction is not coded in a eligible category and is declined.
Other places that just sell enough eligible merchandise fall under a 90% blanket, that is all the transactions are cleared if 90% or more of the business that point of sale does is eligible according to IRS rules.
I imagine implementing IIAS is not cheap, but a place like Amazon would not surprise me to have it. There are eligible items I pay more money for because of the convenience of quickly and easily ordering with a card from a 90% place.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2013 2:21:53 PM PST
jv says:
I believe it is more like 90%

Posted on Dec 31, 2013 9:13:26 PM PST
catrina07 says:
Mine worked.

Posted on Feb 17, 2014 7:18:42 PM PST
happy hair says:
Catrina07,

How did you get your FSA card to work with Amazon? Thanks for the insights.

Posted on Aug 23, 2014 8:10:46 AM PDT
Kitten says:
I called my HSA provider ahead of time to see if they would pay for something purchased through Amazon, and she told me they would but I had to provide proof of eligibility of the purchase if asked later. So I used the HSA card and at first it went through, but later I found out Amazon wouldn't accept it. There is a place under Payment Help that points out Amazon will not accept payment from FSA or other health accounts (Wish I would have checked this out first.) So it is Amazon and not the HSA provider that is denying the purchase.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201132730

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2014 9:37:19 AM PDT
If you read the reply from Jan 1, 2011 10:17:09 PM PST above, you'll see a clear explanation:

>>>>
Each vendor has a category code. Every card is cleared for certain codes. Every vendor wants to accept any card they can - it's a sale after all. If your account is in good standing but your card is not being accepted, it is NOT the vendor that is blocking it - it is the issuer. Why would Amazon not want your money?
<<<<

Your HSA provider may not object to you using your card at Amazon, but the card processing systems won't allow it.

Why did it appear to initially work? Because at the time you created the order, you were not immediately charged. Amazon didn't even do a pre-authorization check on your card.

But as soon as they tried to process the charge, the card processing systems declined the charge.

Your HSA provider has no say in this. Amazon has no say in this. It is controlled by the card processing network as a way for them to remain compliant with the law.
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Discussion in:  Gold Box forum
Participants:  20
Total posts:  30
Initial post:  Jan 1, 2011
Latest post:  23 days ago

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