Monday, March 1, 2010

US Mint Dollar Coins Free Money Hack Whacked

If you read very many personal finance blogs you are sure to come across several money hacks. Money hacks are loopholes or tricks that are perfectly legal but allow the consumer to gain an edge instead of the banks and credit card companies. Score one for the savvy consumer!

Jumbo 2 Euro Economy CoinA popular money hack was discovered in June 2008 when the US Mint started promoting the usage of their latest presidential dollar coins. Dollar coins are more durable and stay in circulation longer simply because they do not wear out so easily as a paper dollar bill. Outside of the United States, the usage of low denomination bills is rare and the usage of coins in 1, 2 and 5 denominations is quite common. 

2008 Andrew Jackson Presidential $1 Coin - 7th President, 1829-1837So what is this money hack with the US Mint? They were allowing customers to purchase large quantities of dollar coins and they were shipped free to the consumer. A savvy consumer would use a frequent flyer or similar rewards credit card to purchase them and then simply drop them off at the bank and deposit them to pay off their credit card bill. Lots of points and zero net cost! 

Personally, I was always intrigued by the idea, but never really felt the need. Maybe that is because for the first five series of the presidential coins the limit you could buy was $500 per president. Maybe I did not do it because it wasn't worth the hassle. Apparently, I missed the fact that the latest Sacajawea dollar coin did not have a limit on purchases. It made me think - would I have taken advantage of the system just to get some points on my credit card? I don't know. Would you have? Did you? Was it worth it?

Don't get too excited. The US Mint has finally caught on, based on this LA Times article, and killed the deal. Now the purchases will not ring up as point of sale but as a cash advance on your credit card. Cash advances are really bad on your credit card in terms of fees and interest rates.

What is your favorite way to game the system? Share below in the comments.

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