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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 31, 19, 9:08 am
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by ChrisFlyer66 View Post
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.
I've never met an AMEX Card's Min Spend organically, mind you I haven't had to meet Min Spend on an Amex Card in a long time (not that I couldn't do organically anyways). But so far I've MS'd all my big requirements in one or two purchases (with nothing else done on those accounts). 5-10k purchases in one go via GCM.

But if I was caught, you're 100% correct I wouldn't have received my bonuses I'm sure.. But I've never had an issue MSing via AMEX to meet Min-Spend.. Maybe I've been lucky?
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Old Feb 1, 19, 8:52 am
  #32  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 9
Remember - with Kiva you take all the risk of loss, Kiva does not share it with you. I did a Kiva loan once, it was fully repaid.
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Old Feb 1, 19, 8:54 am
  #33  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Europe
Programs: Marriott Titanium Elite, Hilton Diamond, BA Silver, A3 Gold, Sixt Diamond
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How do they pay back those Kiva loans? Hopefully not as CC refunds?
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Old Feb 1, 19, 8:56 am
  #34  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
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Originally Posted by ChocolateFactory View Post
How do they pay back those Kiva loans? Hopefully not as CC refunds?
I got a check in the mail.
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Old Feb 1, 19, 9:03 am
  #35  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Thanks.
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Old Feb 1, 19, 11:42 pm
  #36  
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: TIJ/SAN
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Originally Posted by ChocolateFactory View Post
How do they pay back those Kiva loans? Hopefully not as CC refunds?
I've always been repaid via paypal.
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Old Feb 2, 19, 5:09 pm
  #37  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 10
Hello. some clarification questions. I was wondering if i may get some help

Hello. Sorry if this doesnt get posted correctly. I am trying to post on the "new to manufactured spending? Start here (2019" thread.

I am new to MS. I have lurked around here and on reddit to learn. But I had a couple clarification questions regarding MS (specifically using the CF)

1. Generally, what is the order that I should be doing? is it VGC to serve card to MO to bank transfer. Or should I be doing serve card to VGC to MO to bank transfer? regardless, since I am trying to take advantage of the quarterly 5% cashback from CF, i should be doing the first purchase on any of the given route at a drugstore correct?

2. for a serve card, even if i get a physical one at a drugstore or WM, do i still need to register it online in order to load it? can I not buy a serve card at the store and load it with my chase freedom card to get the MS started?

3. Is it ok to keep using the same 1 green serve card after liquidizing it? and how do you avoid the 6.75 monthly fee on the green serve card?

thank you

Last edited by jrivers010; Feb 2, 19 at 6:46 pm Reason: Forgot additional question.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 1:30 am
  #38  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 323
1. Generally, what is the order that I should be doing? is it VGC to serve card to MO to bank transfer. Or should I be doing serve card to VGC to MO to bank transfer? regardless, since I am trying to take advantage of the quarterly 5% cashback from CF, i should be doing the first purchase on any of the given route at a drugstore correct?
Buy vgc first. Then either load it to Serve OR use vgc to buy an MO. And yes, buy the vgc at a drugstore to take advantage of CF 5%.
Either way, you'll need to use the vgc as a debit card, not a CC, so make sure you know what the PIN is.

3. Is it ok to keep using the same 1 green serve card after liquidizing it? and how do you avoid the 6.75 monthly fee on the green serve card?
You can avoid the fee by having a $0 balance on your monthly statement date.

Good luck!
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Old Feb 5, 19, 8:48 am
  #39  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2
So if I purchase gift cards from Raise.com, will that count toward minimum spend for a credit card bonus? I'm thinking the answer is no, but I haven't found anything conclusive. I'm actually not even trying to MS per se, I usually only purchase gift cards for places I'm actually going to be shopping immediately after, but it obviously helps for meeting minimum spend requirements.
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Old Feb 5, 19, 9:16 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 77
Hi all,

I was pretty active from 2013-2015 and had some great success with CVS, Target Redcard, and a few other popular MS techniques from ~5 years ago. I haven't been active for a while but am looking to get back

I've started back up going with CC --> Simon GC --> WM MO for .0088 cents per mile, $2K a month. It's convenient and relatively hassle/risk free for me but I'm just curious if there's more advantageous opportunities out there. FWIW, I've personally never looked into BB.
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Old Feb 5, 19, 9:22 pm
  #41  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 77
Originally Posted by unity311unity View Post
So if I purchase gift cards from Raise.com, will that count toward minimum spend for a credit card bonus? I'm thinking the answer is no, but I haven't found anything conclusive. I'm actually not even trying to MS per se, I usually only purchase gift cards for places I'm actually going to be shopping immediately after, but it obviously helps for meeting minimum spend requirements.
I personally think you'd be fine.
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Old Feb 6, 19, 9:44 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 10
Hello.

So I went to my local walgreens to see the options on cards. this is what i saw https://imgur.com/a/S23bmB0

on the other side, there were your standard visa gift cards. Majority of them being something called "Vanilla Gift Cards."

I have heard about Vanilla VGC often. What makes them special?

also, what exactly are the differences between all those prepaid giftcards in the picture i posted above?
why do people get "VGC" instead of one of the ones in the picture that states "not a giftcard"
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Old Feb 10, 19, 3:50 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 4
How sensitive is Chase to MS? How about Citi? I know to ramp up slowly, how far can I take it with each?
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Old Feb 11, 19, 1:42 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 93
Originally Posted by jrivers010 View Post
Hello.

So I went to my local walgreens to see the options on cards. this is what i saw https://imgur.com/a/S23bmB0

on the other side, there were your standard visa gift cards. Majority of them being something called "Vanilla Gift Cards."

I have heard about Vanilla VGC often. What makes them special?

also, what exactly are the differences between all those prepaid giftcards in the picture i posted above?
why do people get "VGC" instead of one of the ones in the picture that states "not a giftcard"
"Vanilla" is just a brand name used by Incomm Financial Services for some of its card products. WM's POS system usually detects and discriminates against Vanilla VGCs and/or One Vanilla prepaid cards, but of course there are exceptions. They typically work fine at other stores.

VGCs are by definition not reloadable. You can use them as a PIN-enabled debit card without registration.

The many "not a giftcard" cards in your photos are reloadables. They require registration with SSN, typically have onerous fees and require cash (currency) reloads, and are very prone to being shut down for MS-like activity. You would have to study their T&Cs to discern all their minor differences. So generally not useful, although some people may have figured out narrow uses for limited MS. However, the big exception is the green Amex Serve card, which is a staple for current MS for those not shut down a couple years ago. See its thread for tons of discussion.

When determining what cards to buy for MS, you need to answer 1) can it be bought with my rewards credit card and 2) can its value be liquidated back into my account? Of course it helps if there is a net benefit to you and you can tolerate the risk of hacked or bad cards.
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Last edited by noassumptions; Feb 12, 19 at 1:54 pm
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Old Feb 13, 19, 3:09 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 471
Hello

1) Are the basic steps for the manufactured spend using Vanilla Gift Cards spelled out anywhere? I can only seen to glean a few tidbits about the process in the threads I've read.

2) If I only need to manufacture spend $1000 a month, is that the most recommended route for me?

Sorry that I'm so lost regarding this...I can't even figure out most of the acronyms used in this thread.
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