Amazon Payments

stoneRIP

 

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that beginning on Oct 13, 2014 you can no longer use Amazon Payments to make person-to-person payments.

I noticed a small change in the system last month when a friend tried to (legitimately, I might add) send me $525 for her share of a trip we have planned together.  (see previous “Dilemma” post) and it would only allow her to send me $500.  I checked my account and it wanted me to add my bank account information to allow me to send and/or receive the full $1000 a month.  I have been sending $1000 a month for the past year without a bank account linked to my AP account.

I don’t have a bank account linked to my AP account because it is linked to my husband’s account and I didn’t want any red flags being raised.  But now, in light of the demise of AP, I think today I will add my bank account information and send him a couple payments. Why worry about getting shut down now, right?  We are all being shut down next month. I will then also send him $1,000 in October as one last hurrah.

I used AP pretty heavily at the beginning of 2014 to help meet the $10,000 minimum spend on our THREE Citi Executive cards.  But once I completed that, I honestly haven’t used the service much.

But now that it is being taken away, I will mourn the loss.  What if I get stuck with a gift card that I can’t liquidate for some reason?  AP was always a good back-up to have.   I guess this will force me to be more cautious with the gift cards I buy.

How will this change affect your Manufactured Spending techniques?

Edited**  I’m having trouble sending money this morning.  I wonder if the system is being overloaded.  Calm down people!  You still have a month to get this done.  I think I will wait a few days.

Amazon Payment Fail – and subsequent heart failure

Jumping On A New Bandwagon

I know of many bloggers who regularly buy American Express Gift Cards (AGC) via online shopping portals and earn cash back.  I figure I spend roughly $250 a year buying gift cards and I would rather that NOT be part of my travel budget.  So I needed to find a way to offset that expense.  Hello online shopping portals!

WARNING: Always read the fine print when going through any online shopping portal and make sure you understand the terms and conditions.  Also some credit cards will code AGC purchases as CASH ADVANCES, and you don’t want that.  It’s usually just Citi, but check this Flyertalk thread for more information.

For my first test I went through Be Frugal and bought a $200 American Express gift card.    There was a 3.95 purchase fee BUT I earned 2.5% cash back.  So I actually made a $1.05 profit! Woohoo!  Not much I know, but this was just a test to see how it goes.

I signed up for a 3 month free trial of American Express Premium Shipping Service so I did not have to pay a shipping fee.  If you use any kind of free shipping code when placing your gift card order, you will NOT earn your cash back from the shopping portal.  UNLESS it’s a promo code offered by the shopping portal.

Normally the shipping cost is $8.95.  So $8.95 shipping plus $3.95 is $12.90 and with my $5 cash back, I would be PAYING $7.90.  I think you can figure out, that is NOT a good deal.  However, if you bought a $1,000 gift card at 2.5% cash back you would get $25 and therefore make a $12.10 profit.  So if you have to pay shipping, it is best to buy high denomination gift cards.  But I plan to take advantage of the free shipping for the next 3 months.

American-Express-Gift-Card

What To Do With An American Express Gift Card

The easiest thing to do is just use it for everyday spending.  But that isn’t earning you more points for using another credit card for your everyday spending.  You can also use the AGC to buy VISA gift cards and then load them to Bluebird.  But you have to keep in mind that you will be paying a fee to buy that VISA gift card, which eats into your cash back profit.

The last option is to liquidate it through Amazon Payments. You are limited to $1,000 a month with this option, but it is the easiest way to liquidate gift cards.

Uh Oh

I ordered the gift card yesterday and it arrived on my doorstep at 9am this morning.  I don’t feel like getting dressed making a trip to Walmart today and since I only made $1.05 profit on this card, I didn’t want to spend another $4.94 on a VISA gift card.  So I decided to send it to my husband via Amazon Payments.  I have never had an issue doing this in the past – but I have never used an AGC!

I logged into Amazon Payments and entered the gift card number and expiration date and set it up to send $200.  About 5 minutes later, I got this email.

Greetings from Amazon Payments,

Your payment of $200.00 to ********* has failed.

Thank you for using Amazon Payments.
For further information about Amazon Payments, please visit our Help pages

No explanation of why.  Just….failure.  Of course I totally freaked out and thought for sure I was being shut down by Amazon Payments.

shwew

 

I did a frantic google search and found this post.  Basically, if Amazon Payments recognizes your card as a gift card, it places a $1 hold on the card.  So my payment of $200 failed because it was over the limit.  So I went back in and sent him $175 and it went through with no issue.

 

 

Wow.  One of my biggest fears in this game is getting “shut down”.  By anyone.  I have said it many times, I am very conservative when it comes to Manufactured Spending. And I think there are people out there who would raise many more red flags than I would, but you just never know.

Be careful out there, peeps! And tread lightly! Especially if you are a newbie!

Happy Travels!