How to Use Vanilla Gift Cards & Money Orders to Meet Minimum Spends

A lot of the old fashioned ‘easy‘ methods for Manufactured Spending are no longer viable.  However, there is still one tried and true method that only involves a little more work.  This option involves using your new CC to buy Visa Gift Cards, and then using the VGCs to buy Money Orders, which themselves can be used as fungible cash or deposited back into your account.

Vanilla Reload Card
Always be sure to get the variable cards for $500, look for fees under $6.

The process is as follows:

  • Using your New Credit Card, purchase 2 $500 Visa Debit Cards – AKA Vanilla Reload Cards at CVS or wherever you can find them.
  • Take those two VCGs to your local Giant Eagle, Post Office, or Walmart-eque establishment that allows the purchasing of Money Orders with a DEBIT card.
  • Make your Purchase Amount $500 – (Cost of Money Order) to completely liquidate the VCG.
  • Now take your Money Order to your local bank.  Deposit it and repeat NO MORE than once a week to be safe.

This process is viewed as somewhat sketchy to some, because who the heck buys money orders ever?  Plus Banks don’t love seeing dozens of MO deposits in a month, and grocery stores aren’t crazy about people using them to abuse the money order system.  I personally only use this method to meet the tail end of Minimum Spends.

A few things to note:

These cards come in a few different flavors, ALWAYS start small to ‘test the waters’ – sometimes you can’t liquidate a VCG at a Grocery store – OR more likely, they ask that you ‘Do NOT use PREPAID GCs’.  You can be a jerk and show them your ‘Chase Debit Card’ when you ask for the MO, and then covertly slide the Visa Debit card in the payment machine when purchasing.  They don’t know its a Prepaid unless you tell them.

There ARE fees for all Prepaid Debit Cards.  The fees are usually $4.95 or so, and that’s about 1% of your costs.  Not a bad trade off for the peace of mind / not having to find unnecessary expenses to pay down in 3 months.

100 Visa GC
No! Bad Gift Card! $100 is not worth your time!

Be sure you buy the HIGHEST Value GC, and NOT this one for $100!

Notice the $4.95 Fee for just $100?  That’s 5% of your costs, which is NO GOOD.  You want $500 cards only, or $300 if they don’t exist in your city.

Per an actual Lawyer, this is NOT Money Laundering.  These are no ill-begotten gains, and gift cards are absolutely legally allowed to be bought and deposited into your account.  However, if you deposit tens of thousands of dollars into your checking account, people are going to start asking questions.  Stick to smallest $ necessary, so this process doesn’t get shut down like RedCard, Amazon Payments, and the various other methods of Manufactured Spending.

If you are uncomfortable with this method, I suggest buying Grocery Store and Amazon Gift Cards instead, which can be stored on your Amazon Account and used after you’ve met your min spends.

7 thoughts on “How to Use Vanilla Gift Cards & Money Orders to Meet Minimum Spends

  1. Whats you opinon about latest trends in the Free Travel / Points industry ? Lots of new people are joining it now and Im ‘worried they will make it harder to make it worth it.

    1. proverbialfunk says:

      I think that every year it gets a little bit harder, but there will always be many ways to come out on top. Even if you only make $500 worth of profit (via travel) per credit card, you’re still coming out on top with relatively little effort. We have many years before credit card bonuses disappear completely.

  2. Jonny Kennedy says:

    as of 2018, has something changed at the post office? i went in as normal with my 2 vanilla cards and it won’t run them as debit. i tried 2 different places too.

    1. proverbialfunk says:

      I was able to use them recently, but it was 2017. I have heard that it can vary by post office though… They can be stricter in certain places unfortunately. You had the same result with two different places – grocery stores or USPSs?

  3. Priscilla says:

    Wat if u don’t have 500 would I still be able to get a money order I have 490 on my card

    1. proverbialfunk says:

      Absolutely! $500 is just the max they allow you to put on one Money Order in many cases… Might be related to paying with a prepaid credit/debit card. (In theory, they don’t like you paying with a CC at all, but the ‘Pre Paid Credit Card’ circumvents this.)

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