Note: Apologies, folks! This post went live WAY before it was supposed to. Thanks to @MickeyBoggs for alerting me about the screw up. The post is now complete.
Jaws drop when I tell people I generate $40,000 in manufactured spending each month. For newbies this sum is unfathomable. For a seasoned vet, this is a drop in the bucket.
With new prepaid cards popping up every month, it’s becoming easier to meet large spending requirements through manufactured spending. Before you participate in any of these point-earning schemes, take a look at this Travel Summary post, which details the costs involved in using prepaid cards to generate manufactured spending. Please also keep in mind that no single card should be used for this much spend. Spread them across your accounts and you’ll steer clear of account closures and audits like the dreaded American Express financial review.
That being said, here is a simple way for one person to generate at least $40,000 in manufactured spending in just one month:
- $10,000 on MyVanilla Debit (Vanilla Reloads)
- $5,000 on Bluebird (Vanilla Reloads or Debit card)
- $5,000 on American Express Prepaid (Vanilla Reloads)
- $5,000 on American Express for Target prepaid card (reload at register with credit card)
- $5,000 on PayPower (via ReloadIt cards)
- $4,000 on Paypal (via MoneyPak or Paypal Reloads)
- $2,500 per day with GoBank/$1,1250 at a time (via giftcards or Debit cards)
- $2,500 per day ($10,000 balance limit) on Greendot Prepaid cards (via MoneyPak or Greendot Cash Reload)
- $2,900 per day, per card on Walmart money orders
There are plenty of other options, all of them involving Vanilla Reload cards, Greendot MoneyPaks, and ReloadIT cards. Please take into account that not all merchants will allow MoneyPak, Greendot, Vanilla Reload, or Greendot Cash Reload cards to be purchased with a credit card.
Every Walmart I’ve visited requires identification and paperwork to be filled out on money order purchases over $3,000. Just to be on the safe side, I’d recommend buying $2,900 per day, per store. If you’re lucky enough to live near more than one Walmart (no sarcasm intended), you can generate even more spend.
How do I unload all of these cards
Most of us can’t afford to have $40,000 stowed away in giftcards, which is why there are many ways of unloading these cards. My strategy revolves around MyVanilla Debit, Bluebird, Paypal, Paypower, and occasionally Amex for Target. My brother has a MyVanilla Debit card that he lets me use for the purpose of unloading Vanilla Reload cards. Here is my strategy:
1. Vanilla Reloads. Load Vanilla reloads onto MyVanilla Debit cards. Cash out via money orders at Walmart, then take money orders to a Chase branch for payment.
2. Visa Giftcards/Bluebird. Load Visa giftcards onto Bluebird, then use Bluebird to pay off the credit card used to purchase Visa giftcards. It’s possible to unload Visa giftcards by buying money orders, but I prefer this method since it saves me the $0.55-0.70 fee per money order, and allows me to pay off the credit card easily.
3. Paypal. Load Paypal debit card with either Paypal Reload cards or Greendot Moneypaks ($4,000 per month). Cash out via money orders or via cashback at grocery store registers ($200 at a time).
I found a Rite Aid in downtown Oakland that sells these cards without a fee, but accepts debit cards only. If you have a Suntrust debit card, which pays out 1 point per $1, this is the best option. If you have another debit card that pays out just 1 point per $2 spent, you have to weigh the cost of your alternative, which is to purchase Paypal Reload cards at $3.95 per $500 and earn 1 point per $1.
4. Paypower. Paypower can be loaded with a ReloadIt prepaid card. These have “cash only” written on them, yet some retailers ignore this. I recently found a grocery store that sells these in $950 increments and accepts credit cards! With my Amex Gold card, I come away with over 1,900 points for just $3.95.
5. Amex for Target. This is one of the most expensive ways to generate manufactured spend. You can load up to $1,000 onto your card at a Target register and pay a $3 fee. However, you’ll have to cash out the money in at least 2 separate ATM transactions. Amex allows one free ATM transaction per month. Costco ATM’s charge a low fee of $1.25 per withdrawal. In spite of all this, you’re still looking at paying $8.50 to cash out $1,000.
As you can see, there are many ways to generate tens of thousands of dollars in manufactured spend each month. It’s not always going to be cheap, but if you play your cards right, you can secure yourself a round-trip flight to Europe in business class for as little as $400.
What are some of the ways you meet your spending requirements and generate manufactured spend?