NOTE: Several readers have pointed out to me that The Plastic Merchant continues to issue bounced checks to sellers. This has never been my experience with TPM, and from what I understood, they had addressed those issues. Apparently there have been widespread issues and I want readers to be fully aware of these issues so they can make better informed decisions about which platform to use for gift card churning purposes. Please note, I don’t receive any compensation nor do I have a partnership with TPM.
In the past, I’ve shared how to churn merchant gift cards successfully with The plastic Merchant. However, I realized I haven’t answered a key question that several readers have since asked: How to actually use The Plastic Merchant’s platform. While the process is easy once you figure it out, The Plastic Merchant provides a tutorial in video format. I don’t know about you all, but I can’t sit through instructional videos – I prefer to read. That’s probably why I initially kept screwing up my orders and then annoying the TPM staff, who then provided me with email instructions. Anyway, since a few readers have asked me how The Plastic Merchant order submission process works, I thought I’d write up a tutorial.
Step 1: Login to your Plastic Merchant Account
Self explanatory. If you don’t have an account, be sure to read my post on how to get approved with The Plastic Merchant.
Step 2: Check Gift Card Capacity and Rates
Before actually starting the submission process, it’s important to check gift card capacity. After all, why start the gift card order submission process if The Plastic Merchant isn’t even buying your cards? You can scroll through the list or type in the gift card merchant in the search bar.
For example, right now The Plastic Merchant has a $5,000 capacity for $15 iTunes gift cards and the payout is 84% of face value. It’s very important to note that TPM often distinguishes between physical vs. e-gift cards. So make sure you’re aware of capacity for the correct version and submit your order accordingly.
Step 3 Reserve Capacity
Once you’ve confirmed available capacity for a gift card you want to sell, simply hit the “+” button under the “Reserve” column. Regardless of whether you have the gift cards in hand or are going to purchase them later, you have to reserve capacity. Next, you’ll simply type in the gift card quantity (in my case, 10) and the source (i.e. Sam’s Club). Once confirmed, your reservation will be good for 24 hours, though you can extend it to 10 days by uploading a receipt (more on that later).
Step 4: Upload Receipts
If you’re unable to provide gift card numbers within 24 hours of reserving capacity, you should at least upload your purchase receipt to extend your reservation. This way, you won’t miss out because your Sam’s Club order took a week to arrive. Even if you don’t need to extend your reservation beyond 24 hours, you will need to upload your receipt alongside your gift card numbers.
To upload your receipts, click on the PO Builder tab. You’ll see your reserved gift card orders in the “Unlinked Reservations” section. If you’re submitting multiple gift card types, this is where you’ll see them all. Click on “Extend Res” if you want to extend your reservation. If not, simply click on the paper icon under “Files,” upload your receipt and check off the “receipts” box.
If you’re purchasing gift cards that you won’t receive or be able to upload within 24 hours, you should at least upload your purchase receipt to extend your reservation. This way, The Plastic Merchant will know you’re not going to flake out and clog up capacity that another member could be utilizing.
Step 5: Enter Gift Card Numbers
Once you’ve reserved capacity for a gift card order, you’ll need to enter your card numbers. All of this is done under the PO Builder tab. You’ll see your reserved gift card orders in the “Unlinked Reservations” section (see image under Step 4). Simply click on the keyboard icon and start entering the card numbers. If your card doesn’t have a PIN, leave that area blank.
You’ll see a red wrench icon next to card numbers that are typed incorrectly. Be sure to check for that before submitting your PO.
Step 6: Upload Photos
Every order will require a receipt and card numbers, but you may also be required to submit a photo. You’ll know whether this is the case if you see a photo icon next to the “Reserved?” column. Simply line up all your gift cards and take a single shot. I was able to line up 40 iTunes gift cards and take a visible photo of all the redemption codes. If gift card numbers/redemption codes are not visible in one frame, it’s fine to split them up into several photos.
To upload an image, click on the paper icon under the “Files” column, select the image off your computer and check off the “image(s)” box. Don’t forget to click “Add to line item” before exiting the screen.
Step 7: Create a Purchase Order (PO)
Regardless of how many different merchant gift cards you’re selling, you’ll need to link them into a single PO. Do this by clicking on the “Create Standard PO” button on the PO Builder page. You’ll see this new purchase order appear under “Draft Purchase Orders.”
Step 8: Link Your Reservations Under One PO
After you’ve entered your card info and uploaded your receipt and photo, you’ll need to link you reservation to the PO you just created. Simply click on the icon under the “Link” column and select the PO number from the drop-down. There really should only be one at a time, since you’ll ideally submit all of your reservations at once.
Step 9: Submit PO
Once your reservations have been linked to a single PO, click on “Edit” next to your PO and see if anything is missing from your order. How do you know if all the information is there? Simply scroll down to the Validation Summary section at the bottom of the page. There are four rows of information that should each be labeled “Yes.” If anything is missing, just scroll back up and provide the required information. For example, if one of your card numbers is incorrect, you’ll see it labeled red alongside a wrench icon in the “Typed Assets” of this page. Then hit “Refresh validation” under “Validation Summary,” check off all the acknowledgement/agreement boxes and hit submit.
I know I just circled-and-arrowed my way through this post (something I vowed not to do anymore), but this isn’t a killable deal, so we’re good. 😉