Meeting Any Minimum Spend Requirement with Minimum Effort

Understandably, the most intimidating part of getting new credit cards is intimidating minimum spend.

Usually people say, “If I pay all my bills with my credit card and do all my shopping with my credit card I’ll probably only be able to spend $1,000 per month”.

The goal in reaching a credit card minimum spend is never to try and actually spend more money.  The goal is to reach a credit card spending threshold.  

Meeting Any Minimum Investment with Minimum Effort

1.  Amazon Payments

This option has been around for a very, very long time.  You can send up to $1,000 per month to another Amazon Payments account holder.  To avoid any compliance issues I’ve got a few rules of thumb (I don’t know if all/any of these matter, but I’ve been successfully doing this for almost a couple of years.

  • Form a Transfer Triangle.  For example, person 1 sends money to person 2.  Person 2 sends money to person 3.  Person 3 sends money to person 1.
  • Don’t send an even $1,000.  My monthly total is often in the upper 900’s but I usually prefer to make two transfers throughout the month with non rounded numbers.  I might send $456.93 and then $531.12.
  • Write something, anything, in the memo
I find that sometimes I have trouble using Citi credit cards to do this.  I’ll enter the credit card into my account and can see it under account settings, but often don’t see the credit card as an option when using Amazon Payments.

2.  Visa Gift Cards from Walmart for Bluebird or Money Order

Walmart sells Visa Gift cards with up to $500 worth of funds for a $4.94 purchase fee.  (I buy the ones that say Happy Birthday on the front of the card packaging).  Once you purchase these cards they are activated and ready to use.  You can also use the last 4 digits of the card as the PIN number if your’e making a debit purchase.  

Options for ‘cashing out’:

  • You can use these cards to send money via Amazon Payments.  Usually, this isn’t smart because you can just use the credit card for that.
  • You can use the card to upload funds to your Bluebird account.  There is no charge to do this.
  • You can use the card (preferably 2) to buy a Walmart Money Order.  You can ask for a $999.30 money order (.70 is the fee) and your total cost will be $1,000.  I just ask the Money Center cashier to break the payment into two transactions.  I’ll then pay $500 with my one gift card and the second $500 with my other gift card.  Once I have the money order I’ll just deposit in my bank.  I usually can’t use my mobile check scan function on my phone so I usually need to make a trip to the bank.
During my most recent visit they said that if a person bought over $2,000 worth of gift cards there would be some paperwork involved.  I only bought $1,500, but if I wanted to buy more I would just buy more at a different cashier.

3.  Vanilla Reload cards

CVS no longer accepts credit card payments for Vanilla Relaod cards, but there might still be some locations nearby that do.  I just bought $1,000 worth of cards at a local gas station (Holiday). Vanilla Reload cards cost $3.95 and can be loaded online for free to your Bluebird account.

Right now the best credit card, the 100,000 Citi Aadvantage Executive, has a $10,000 minimum spend (and essentially a $250 annual fee).  By paying less than $100 in extra fees it should be relatively easy to reach even a $10,000 minimum spend.

Comments

  1. Jerry mandel says

    You wrote: Walmart sells Visa Gift cards with up to $500 worth of funds for a $4.94 purchase fee. My Walmart Money Center will only accept cash or my bank account debit card—-no credit card.
    You wrote: You can use the card (preferably 2) to buy a Walmart Money Order. They will not accept a gift card and, until HQ Finance Dept. finishes its fraud investigation, no preloaded debit cards. Again, only cash or bank debit card.

    • says

      Jerry,
      My Walmart money center only accepts cash or debit card – to buy money orders. The Visa Gift cards that I buy (with a credit card) are debit cards. Which step is your Walmart giving you issues with (buying the debit card or using the debit card)?
      At my Walmart they never ask to see my debit card. Do they say they’d like to see your debit card before you use it to buy money order?

  2. Randy says

    Arrgg. I bought 6k in Visa at Staples.com. for 3 family members. I’ve only been able to load 1K (and that was hit and miss) on my son’s account. I’ve activated them and loaded a pin, but they are not going through at the register, or at the kiosk. (excepte for the ones that DID)
    Any thoughts? I did NOT register them.

    • says

      Randy,
      I’m assuming you’re trying to load them to Bluebird? There is a daily limit of 1K per account. If you give me some more detail about the error message you’re getting when you try and load them and card type I’ll do my best to help. Personally, I’ve never had an issue with the Visa gift cards from Staples.com.

  3. Anna says

    Has anyone else tried Google Wallet? It’s the same as Amazon payments without that pesky $1000 limit, and I’ve had success sending directly between two people. The only downside is if you send money via a credit card, there’s a 3% surcharge (still worth it IMO).

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