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New to Manufactured Spending? Start here (2019)

New to Manufactured Spending? Start here (2019)

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Old Feb 4, 19, 5:01 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: IBJoel
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NEW TO MS? It's suggested that new arrivals should do some serious reading for a month of all the posts and wiki to get an understanding of MS before asking common questions.

Note: the 2017 - 2018 version of this thread is here, 2016 version of this thread is here, the 2015 version of the thread is here

Welcome to Manufactured Spending. Marathon Man did not write this message, but he has edited it and anyone can. If you are new here, please spend some time reading before posting. Most likely your questions have already been answered multiple times. Consider deals that you share. These threads are searchable by Google. A volatile deal may be worth holding close to the vest.

Hints

1) On FT, topics are heavily consolidated. Sometimes the title of the thread and first few posts may not properly reflect the broad range of discussion inside the thread. Be sure to visit any thread relating to the product or service you want to learn more about because you might be surprised by how in depth the discussion really is. High "View Count" and "Replies" are good indicators of active "master threads" on a specific topic.

2) Use Google to search FT. It works a lot better than the built-in search.

3) A glossary wiki for MS located in the thread Glossary, Manufactured Spending Forum

Important Rules

1) MSing is very YMMV. It varies by store, manager, and right down to the cashier working at the moment. Some might argue that MS is like card counting in a casino. It is not illegal but casinos don’t like it. Orhers have said it’s like having a fake ID in college to use just to get into bars where all the fun is. Just because it worked here yesterday doesn’t mean it will get you in today. MS is like being a wood worker constantly using a table saw. Always watch what you are doing—always! Or you will lose something. That being said, always be nice and courteous in the face of rejection. The biggest secret for success is to lay low so you can try again.

2) DO NOT spend more than you can afford. START WITH SMALL AMOUNTS TO TEST THE WATER! As an example.. don't start with a $5000 purchase of VGCs if you can't afford to float that much! Instead, buy one and try it, and scale up once you are comfortable with a new method. It's easy to lose track, or get robbed, when you are handling so much money. Getting a refund is NOT always possible.

3) DO NOT ask employees, cashiers, customer service representatives, etc... about how to MS, or about things you read on this forum. The information you read here are very specific, unknown, legal uses of products or services. Most employees, cashiers, and even managers do not know about them. At best you'll get bad information. At worst you'll create a lot of unnecessary misunderstanding.

4) It bears repeating that there are no guarantees. you could easily buy $10,000 in gift cards or some other instrument, only to discover that your method for liquidating them vanishes the very next day. MS is not "normal" financial activity ("normal" being defined by the banks), and thus is often perceived as "suspicious" even if it is legal.

5) never underestimate the risk of criminal activity. gift cards can easily be stolen, loaded onto a compromised account, loaded in a debit card skimmer, or even fraudulent (e.g., an already used card put back on the rack).

6) MSing can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from smallish amounts to meet minimum spend requirements to get a credit card signup bonus, to accumulating huge numbers of points for travel/cashback/etc. Remember too that you will often have expenses such as purchase fees, liquidation fees, and gas.

If you have a question that does not seem to fit anywhere, or you have not found an appropriate place for it, post it here.

- A helpful note from seat17D about some of the inherent risks of MS

New MSers can also read all these threads:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manuf...-spending-719/
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Old Jan 17, 19, 9:55 am
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 6
Thanks
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Old Jan 18, 19, 9:30 pm
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Programs: VISA
Posts: 2
I messed up and got 4 $500 InComm Bank Visas, how do i liquidate these as I can't use the WM trick
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Old Jan 19, 19, 5:47 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,817
Originally Posted by knightxm View Post
I messed up and got 4 $500 InComm Bank Visas, how do i liquidate these as I can't use the WM trick
where can you liquidate?

convert to USB or Meta if liquidating at WM
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Old Jan 19, 19, 11:34 am
  #19  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 325
Originally Posted by knightxm View Post
I messed up and got 4 $500 InComm Bank Visas, how do i liquidate these as I can't use the WM trick
Lots of grocery stores, especially the big chains, sell MO. If nothing else, do organic spend - groceries, electric, phone, etc. Some people even pay their taxes with debit cards. Good luck!
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Old Jan 22, 19, 12:00 pm
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 8
Hi.
Thanks for taking my questions. New to MS; just got a few VGC with the recent Staples sale along with Amex offer.
Now I'm trying to figure out how to liquidate. I had a few issues that I want to make sure I understand them correctly:

1. Just ordered a BB card but I saw one suggestion about applying for 5. I saw some mention of cycling the
cards to reduce risk of shut down? If one account gets shutdown, do they all get shut down?
2. Looking at BB vs Serve, I was thinking to start with BB, since there's a WM close by and looks like it
doesn't have monthly fee compared with Serve. But if it doesn't work out at WM, or if i want to try to increase my
rate of liquidation, then I should add or switch to Serve?
3. Speaking of WM, looks like I'll just have to found out if my local WM has any problems adding GC funds to BB.
I saw that I'm only supposed to mention "debit" but the cards I picked up Staples are clearly labelled as GC.
It was mentioned that other GCs ordered online like from GCM could be labelled with my name that it looks more
like a debit card - those are easier to liquidate if they ask to see the card?
4. When using the funds on the BB, I saw some folks mention, it'll reduce the risk of shutdown if I don't attach a
bank to the account to withdrawal funds but instead just use the bill pay feature, including the credit card. But
I've also heard before that mixing payment sources to a credit card company is seen as risky behavior?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 9:25 pm
  #21  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 325
Originally Posted by asc8u View Post
3. Speaking of WM, looks like I'll just have to found out if my local WM has any problems adding GC funds to BB.
I saw that I'm only supposed to mention "debit" but the cards I picked up Staples are clearly labelled as GC.
It was mentioned that other GCs ordered online like from GCM could be labelled with my name that it looks more
like a debit card - those are easier to liquidate if they ask to see the card?
The gc does clearly say "gift card", but it also clearly says "debit". When talking to the CSR, the words "gift card" tends to make them say "no", the words "debit card" has them say "yes". Don't lie, but when you talk, it is indeed better to say "debit". In doesn't usually come up if you're just swiping one card; it's when you try to do a split transaction that the subject tends to come up. And yes, if your name is on the card, it's a lot easier to liquidate if the ask to see the card. Good luck!
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Old Jan 23, 19, 6:34 pm
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 4
Hello, Thanks for taking my question. Just starting out with MS and not looking to do too much. Got 5xMCGC from Staples and looking for the first foray to liquidate once I get them next week. I have 1 Serve but also want to try MOs to understand the process.

I have read that there are special instructions to liquidate MCGCs and change payment type do debit - What exactly needs to be said to the CSR ? That I need to swipe first and change the method of payment? and then they enter the amount? Also, can I do multiple MCGCs for 1 MO?

Thank you
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Old Jan 24, 19, 12:18 am
  #23  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Programs: self
Posts: 1
Cash back?

Best % cash back rewards card ?
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Old Jan 24, 19, 3:27 pm
  #24  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 325
Originally Posted by benshushan View Post
Best % cash back rewards card ?
Depends on how you want to MS, and how much, and what rules the stores around you have. But I think the answer is going to be "more than 1".
I would start out with Chase Ink because Chase has a 5/24 rule -- you get denied if you've opened more than 5 cc in the past 24 months. INK gives 5% CB at office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot.
There are multiple cards that give you 5% on particular categories, often with a max spend per quarter or per year.
I would also get a card that gives 2% on everything. There's several to choose from.
Things in this game change all the time, so I'd recommend googling for the best card, and then checking with the CC company to make sure the details are still current. Be alert that some cards like to use "times" or "points" instead of "percent", eg "5x". A lot of times those "times" are not equal to a full percent. I think with Amex, each "x" is worth only 1/2 percent.
It also depends on whether you looking for actual cashback, or looking for miles to travel with.
Good luck!
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Old Jan 25, 19, 8:26 pm
  #25  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: PHL (kinda, no airport is really close)
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Originally Posted by benshushan View Post
Best % cash back rewards card ?
2% CB is pretty good. You can get that on the Fidelity Visa if you have an account with Fidelity, or Citi Doublecash. Discover will give you 2% the first year, and 3% the first year on the Discover Miles card. Capital One has Spark Cash but you need a legitimate business to get it, and also I think the "Venture Miles" card. Note that many so-called "Miles" cards are really points good for one cent whether spent on travel or anything else.

There are a few cards that give more than 2% but require another tied-in account. For example, Bank of America pays up to 2.625% but you need $100,000 in a Merrill Lynch account to get this.

Note that if you are doing normal spend (and paying your bill on time) you can probably keep these cards forever, but if you do manufactured spending you will probably eventually get closed down.
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Old Jan 26, 19, 2:54 pm
  #26  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Europe
Programs: Marriott Titanium Elite, Hilton Diamond, BA Silver, A3 Gold, Sixt Diamond
Posts: 1,317
Is there any MSing technique you can use online? I don't live in the US (non-resident alien), but would like to churn American credit cards. ;-)
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Old Jan 30, 19, 3:31 pm
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 5
I'd like some more clarity on MS for Amex. Is it still viable? I understand L3 data is reported and some people have gotten FRs.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 10:14 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by mad_eyes View Post
I'd like some more clarity on MS for Amex. Is it still viable? I understand L3 data is reported and some people have gotten FRs.
If you buy gift cards to meet the spend requirement for the signup bonus, you will probably be denied the bonus.
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Old Jan 30, 19, 11:16 pm
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by ChrisFlyer66 View Post
If you buy gift cards to meet the spend requirement for the signup bonus, you will probably be denied the bonus.
What if it's a mix of organic and GCs? Or does Amex have a zero tolerance policy towards GCs?
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Old Jan 31, 19, 8:10 am
  #30  
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Originally Posted by mad_eyes View Post
What if it's a mix of organic and GCs? Or does Amex have a zero tolerance policy towards GCs?
If they can tell it is a gift card, it won't count toward meeting minimum spend (even if it is part of a mix). So yeah, they have zero tolerance for gift cards for meeting spend requirements. They probably won't shut you down or give you a Financial Review; they'll just deny you the signup bonus.
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