Author Topic: Manufactured Spending  (Read 20184 times)

APowers

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Manufactured Spending
« on: November 06, 2014, 10:07:48 AM »
Am I doing this right?

1. I signed up for a couple rewards credit cards (Barclay and Chase Sapphire at the moment) then set up autopay from a dedicated account at my bank.

2. I opened a Bluebird account.

3. Go to a store, purchase visa/mastercard debit gift cards ($500 + $5.95). Call the 1-800 number on the receipt to set up a PIN.

4. Go to wal-mart, use gift card to load $500 into Bluebird.

5. Go to my bank (with participating Bluebird ATM), withdraw $500. Deposit in dedicated autopay bank account.

Rinse. Repeat, until minimum spending requirements are met in order to hit sign-up bonuses.

Reward = sign up bonus minus cost of gift cards.



This seems too easy. Am I missing something?

juuustin

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2014, 10:12:16 AM »
That is the gist but what you are missing is that your cards can be flagged or closed for such activity.  Nobody is saying it is illegal, but the CC companies obviously don't enjoy it so you have to be smart.

APowers

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2014, 10:38:19 AM »
I've been also using the cards for normal everyday purchases too, so I would think that would alleviate some of the flagging, right?

I can see legitimate concerns on the CC companies' part about potential money laundering, and why they'd want to close accounts doing this too much for that reason.


As a side note, is it hard for anyone else to meet minimum spend requirements ($3k in three months, etc) for sign-up bonuses? Without this manufactured spending rigamarole, I would barely be able to meet minimum spend requirements for the Barclaycard ($1k in three months).



juuustin

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2014, 10:44:08 AM »
I've been also using the cards for normal everyday purchases too, so I would think that would alleviate some of the flagging, right?

I can see legitimate concerns on the CC companies' part about potential money laundering, and why they'd want to close accounts doing this too much for that reason.


As a side note, is it hard for anyone else to meet minimum spend requirements ($3k in three months, etc) for sign-up bonuses? Without this manufactured spending rigamarole, I would barely be able to meet minimum spend requirements for the Barclaycard ($1k in three months).
I tried it for a few months and just found it a very big hassle.  I know there are people that hustle like crazy and have millions of points, but I like spending my time doing things other than driving to Rite-Aids and looking like a creep buying $1000 in VGCs.

You also have to worry about your credit score after so many hard pulls if you keep on opening new cards.

I met the Arrival+ sign up bonus quite easily because I charged a $2,000 vacation (split between 3 couples) onto it and then just collected from them after.

APowers

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2014, 11:39:49 AM »
I don't feel especially like a creep for buying gift cards (particularly now, as christmas is approaching); the one time when I was using one gift card (that would only run as credit) to purchase another (debit) gift card felt kinda weird, though.

It's actually not very much inconvenience for me, since I work at a grocery store anyway-- I can just pick them up after my shift before I come home, our wal-mart is on my route home, and I stop at the bank regularly anyway to deposit paychecks.

All the large expenditures that we have are almost all cash/check only-- for example, our mortgage (payment to my parents, who can't accept credit card), our flooring installer ($1k, but I doubt he'd have accepted CC). All the daily/monthly expenses don't amount to enough. Ah, mustachian people's problems, I guess.

eliza

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2014, 11:50:16 AM »
That's the basic cycle.  I do something similar with one caveat.  Instead of withdrawing cash and depositing it in the bank (Step 5), I use online billpay function to send a payment to my credit card directly.   I generally prefer to keep my personal bank account separate/out of the loop of MSing.

DrF

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2014, 11:59:37 AM »
That's the basic cycle.  I do something similar with one caveat.  Instead of withdrawing cash and depositing it in the bank (Step 5), I use online billpay function to send a payment to my credit card directly.   I generally prefer to keep my personal bank account separate/out of the loop of MSing.

You use Bluebird online billpay to send the payment?

Why can't Bluebird send a check to anyone (parents, landlords, etc?)

eliza

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2014, 12:44:26 PM »
You use Bluebird online billpay to send the payment?
Why can't Bluebird send a check to anyone (parents, landlords, etc?)

You can - you can use the billpay to send a check to anyone.  I just find it easier to send the check directly to whoever I want to pay (Chase, BAC, Citi, AmEx).   You could send a check to yourself and deposit in your bank account.

DrF

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 12:25:29 PM »
You use Bluebird online billpay to send the payment?
Why can't Bluebird send a check to anyone (parents, landlords, etc?)

You can - you can use the billpay to send a check to anyone.  I just find it easier to send the check directly to whoever I want to pay (Chase, BAC, Citi, AmEx).   You could send a check to yourself and deposit in your bank account.

So, I could use Bluebird to send my rent check every month?

Why doesn't everyone do this?

Are there any additional fees for using the billpay feature?

madage

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 03:21:58 PM »
So, I could use Bluebird to send my rent check every month?

Why doesn't everyone do this?

Are there any additional fees for using the billpay feature?

Yep. No fees.

To the OP - rather than withdrawing from an ATM, you can ACH push the money back to your bank account. Choose the "Withdraw Funds" option under Settings.

eliza

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2014, 06:02:30 PM »

So, I could use Bluebird to send my rent check every month?

Why doesn't everyone do this?

Are there any additional fees for using the billpay feature?

It's pretty wonderful isn't it.  When I started with Bluebird (I now use the new American Express Prepaid Redcard from Target), I used it to pay bills that I couldn't otherwise pay via CC.  Then I branched out into running the card up and just paying off my credit card.  It's all down the rabbit hole from there. 

bye-bye Ms. FancyPants

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2014, 06:01:11 PM »
I have been reading a lot of forums that say this is becoming difficult to do as not many place let you upload gift cards to serve or bluebird anymore - that actually Family Dollar is the only place. Have you guys ran into any trouble?   

arebelspy

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2014, 08:30:12 AM »
I have been reading a lot of forums that say this is becoming difficult to do as not many place let you upload gift cards to serve or bluebird anymore - that actually Family Dollar is the only place. Have you guys ran into any trouble?

No.  I uploaded 5000 in gift cards between my wife and I a few days ago while at WalMart.
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flashpacker

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2014, 10:48:32 AM »
Which giftcard type are you using Arebelspy? I read the Vanilla ones don't work anymore. I got one of the new Target cards on a trip to CA and have just started using that for MS to meet the spend for sign up bonuses, but my spouse still has a Bluebird.

arebelspy

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2014, 02:11:07 PM »
Which giftcard type are you using Arebelspy? I read the Vanilla ones don't work anymore. I got one of the new Target cards on a trip to CA and have just started using that for MS to meet the spend for sign up bonuses, but my spouse still has a Bluebird.

Just a regular generic visa gift card, any one that says "debit" on it.

I get them at the Southern Outlets - $2.95 per card, load up to $500 max.

A bunch of people MS there, I've seen others and talked with the people at the counter who have some "regulars" like us that come in.

The target one seems awesome, maxing that before paying for MS is obviously best.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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gaspony

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2014, 05:42:08 PM »
You could also do a serve card and that card allows you to deposit $1000 a month from a credit card in $200 increments.  Then you could do a $3000 minimum spend in three months and have no costs.  It is a pain to register different credit cards with serve but if you are only doing it 3 or 4 times a year it would probably be fine. 

APowers

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2014, 06:00:26 PM »
I stumbled across something in some other forum that I found while googling (that's a word, right?) around for how to do this credit card-->gift card-->bluebird-->credit card process, and then found it to be true IME:

Gift cards that are issued by Bancorp Bank (some vanilla visas, etc.) DO NOT run as debit cards when I try to load them onto my bluebird at Walmart. I tried. Gift cards that are issued by U.S. Bank seem to work just fine as debit.

Also, all the debit gift cards in my area have a 5.95 activation fee to load up to $500. Does this fee differ by state?

gaspony

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2014, 06:04:34 PM »
One vanilla cost is $4.95 in TX and others are $5.95 but you are right, they don't load at walmart.  You could still load at Family dollar if you have those.  Net spend is another alternative but you have to be careful with that prepaid debit card. They shut people down faster than Bluebird. 

APowers

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2014, 06:13:32 PM »
I believe the one Bancorp Bank vanilla visa I bought did have a $4.95 fee, while the others I've been using (U.S. Bank) have all been $5.95. Arebelspy said he was getting some with only $2.95; was that a typo?

I have noticed that when I'm loading at Walmart, I need to slide my gift card and then quickly press the yellow "change payment" button to bring up the "debit" option, otherwise they run as credit by default.

arebelspy

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2014, 09:53:01 PM »

I believe the one Bancorp Bank vanilla visa I bought did have a $4.95 fee, while the others I've been using (U.S. Bank) have all been $5.95. Arebelspy said he was getting some with only $2.95; was that a typo?

No, it was not. I named the specific place I get them at because the poster I was talking to lives in the same city as me. :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2014, 10:18:10 PM »
You aren't missing anything, but it's gotten to be a significant hassle unless you're hitting a big signup bonus. I ran about $40k this February unloading VGC at Walmart. Bought $5k a day for 8 days at the CVS across the street from me, bought money orders at WM in one go, then threw them all in a prepaid envelope and mailed them to my bank for deposit.

Now with the limits on daily sales, the PIN setups and the load limits it seems like you have to run around town quite a bit for a lot less. Definitely handy if you're in a pinch and want to hit a signup bonus, but I'm not sure how viable it is for most people.

arebelspy

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2014, 11:35:48 PM »
 Yeah I wouldn't bother for a couple of bucks, it's just for the thousands of dollars in signup bonuses.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

flashpacker

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2014, 03:36:54 PM »
Thanks Arebelspy. I'll give that a whirl, although we are (hopefully) going into contract on our first flip tomorrow so I don't think I'll have any issues making minimum spend the old fashioned way in the next few months!

Bbqmustache

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2014, 03:45:38 PM »
I was a manfactured spending dude until Amazon Payments shut down personal payments.  But it was a bit of work for minimum reward.  Same with super couponing.  I am now giving a go as a Group and Employee Benefits specialist with Legal Shield.  Three weeks in, and I see the hard work I will have to put into it, but I also have an extensive support network and mucho materials.  Plan is to run with it for a year, and see what I can do for my earned income.  No more time on manufactured spending, time now spent on finding prospects and arranging meetings.  My first is with a business with bout 100 employees on Tuesday.

MustachianWays

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Re: Manufactured Spending
« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2014, 06:16:20 PM »
FYI, I just tried to load my new AmexServe card with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card (cash advance limit was set to $0) and it was declined. I know this has been happening more frequently for people, but figured I would give it a shot. Guess I will try the gift card -> Bluebird manufactured spend next...