In the last few weeks I’ve had several folks say they can’t get a certain credit card because they can’t reach the minimum spend. Far be it from me to make an edict of what you can and cannot afford. However, in this current Bluebird and gift card climate, I think all of us should be able to reach any minimum spend – with a little creativity.
Key Ways to Reach Any Minimum Spend
1. Amazon Payments Option
Amazon Payments will allow you to send up to $1,000 per month to anyone with an email address and Amazon Payment account.
This means that you could reach a $3,000 spend in the first 90 days minimum spend by using Amazon Payments alone (not that I recommend that). If you were to send money from your account to another person, they could then send the money back to you, and you’d both get a ‘spend’ on your account.
My strategy with Amazon Payments is not to send even transfers of $1,000 per month, but other random amounts every month.
2. Buy Gift Cards and Upload to Bluebird
I’ve talked about this idea in other posts, but I think many of you undermine the value of a Bluebird account. Remember, you have until May 21st, 2013 to order your Bluebird checks for free.
As an example, at the time of this writing you can buy Chase gift cards without any fees. You can buy up to $2,500 worth of gift cards every month.
Let’s say that you signed up for the Ink Bold credit card with a $5,000 minimum spend. You could buy $2,500 worth of gift cards and then wait a month and buy another $2,500 worth of gift cards, and voilà, you’ve reached a $5,000 minimum spend.
The best way to clear out gift cards is to go to Walmart and load funds to your Bluebird account with your debit card that you bought from Chase (as an example). You can load up to $1,000 per day and up to $5,000 per month.
Once you’ve uploaded the funds, the possibilities are endless as to how you can ‘spend’ the $5,000.
In this case, you could just use your Bluebird account to pay off your Chase credit card balance. In the end, you’ve spent $0 to get a $5,000 minimum spend.
Other ways to buy gift cards:
You’ll often see promotions at your local grocery store for buying gift cards.
As an example, my local Albertsons was give $10 off your next grocery shop for buying $100 Visa Gift Card with a $5.95 fee. I used my card that gives 2x for groceries and was able to essentially get $4.00 off a purchase of $10 worth of groceries and get a $105.95 spend on my credit card.
This week, my local Safeway is offering $10 off the purchase of a $100 American Express gift card. While American Express gift cards cannot be used to load to Bluebird (because they don’t have PINs), they can be used on Amazon Payments to liquidate your gift cards.
Also, you can shop online at places like giftcardmall.com and buy Visa gift cards. Until last week, you could also go through a cash back website and get money back for buying gift cards. That option now seems to be closed. Even if you had to pay $4.95 per $500 gift card, it would still only cost $29.70 to buy $3,000 worth of gift cards.
My encouragement is this: before dismissing your ability to reach or not reach a minimum spend, ask yourself if there is a way you can use Bluebird + gift cards to help you reach an otherwise unattainable minimum spend.