7 ways to increase credit card spend from home

19

Increase credit card spend from home

Earning miles, points, and cash back from home is an attractive option whether you’re avoiding contracting and spreading a virus or you simply prefer to avoid malls and Walmart stores.  Regular readers of this blog know that earning rewards through credit card signups is an easy home based option.  Most welcome offers, though, require meeting minimum spend requirements.  For example, you may have to spend $5,000 in three months in order to qualify for a big new-card bonus.  Getting this done from home can be a challenge.

Obviously, you can shop from home and buy more than usual in order to increase credit card spend, but this post is about finding ways to increase credit card spend without emptying your bank account.  For example, bills that you usually pay by check may be payable with a credit card.  And sometimes there are methods to spend money via credit card and get the money back in cash or as payment towards your credit card bill.

Pay federal taxes

Increase credit card spend by paying taxes

If you don’t mind giving the US government a loan, you can use a credit card to pay your year-end and/or quarterly estimated taxes.  Fees start at 1.87%.  For full details, please see: Complete guide to paying taxes via credit card, debit card, or gift card.

Pay bills with Plastiq

Increase credit card spend by paying bills with Plastiq

Most bills that can’t usually be paid by credit card can be paid by credit card with the Plastiq bill pay service.  Plastiq charges a 2.5% fee to pay by credit card.  There are some limits as to what bills can be paid though.  For example, you can’t use Plastiq to pay credit card bills.  And in some cases there are limits to what bills can be paid with what cards.  For example if you want to pay your mortgage, you can use Mastercard or Discover cards, but you can’t use Visa or Amex.

For full details, see: Complete Guide to Plastiq bill payments.  Also see: Best credit cards for Plastiq bill payments.

Fund a new bank account

Increase credit card spend by funding new bank accounts

Many banks allow you to fund new bank accounts with a credit card.  Options are very limited with nationwide banks, but some small banks and credit unions still allow funding new accounts with up to a few thousand dollars by credit card.  Read this Doctor of Credit post for details showing which banks allow this and how to avoid cash advance fees.

Contribute to Kiva loans

Increase credit card spend by funding Kiva loans

Use a credit card to make micro-loans. Most loans pay back in 6 to 12 months, but with no interest.  There is no charge to use a credit card to fund loans.  Kiva provides filters which can be used to filter out risky loans.  As a result, in my experience it is easy to limit loan defaults to far less than 2%.  For more details, see: Manufacture Spend (and do good) with Kiva and Kivalens.  Yes, I’ve written that defaults are higher than I’d like (see this post), but I still firmly believe that Kiva does a lot of good in the world (see this post).

Invest in small businesses with Kickfurther

Increase credit card spend through Kickfurther loans

Kickfurther is a platform that helps businesses find funding to support big purchase orders.  For example, a business may have a purchase order to from a national retailer, but they don’t have enough money in-hand to pay for the production and delivery of the product to that retailer.  Via Kickfurther, a company like this can list “consignment opportunities”.  The basic idea is that individuals can “buy” items on consignment to be sold via the aforementioned purchase order.  Each consignment opportunity includes expected duration (how long until you get paid back) and expected profit.  You can invest by credit card with no fee, but keep in mind that Kickfurther charges a 1.5% fee to withdraw earned cash to a bank account.

If Kickfurther sounds too good to be true, keep in mind that you can easily lose some or all of each investment.  I’ve personally lost quite a bit on Kickfurther based on how they operated when they first launched.  Since then, they’ve made huge improvements that make investments safer for buyers.  But, of course, there’s still no guarantee that you won’t lose money.  If you’re curious enough to try Kickfurther anyway, consider using my referral link in order to get $10 free to invest (I don’t profit from this other than earning keys which give me early access to consignments).

Buy Visa gift cards online

Increase credit card spend by buying Visa gift cards

There aren’t many ways to cheaply liquidate Visa gift cards online, but if you have an option to do so then buying and liquidating gift cards can be a very easy way to increase spend from home.  For others it may simply be a good way to “time shift” spend.  For example, if you need to meet minimum spend requirements for a new credit card, you could complete the spend all at once by buying Visa gift cards and then spend down those gift cards at your leisure.

Best options via portals

Both GiftCardMall.com and GiftCards.com sell Visa gift cards online loadable up to $500.  Many cash back portals offer 1% cash back when buying Visa gift cards from these giftcard sellers.  By starting your purchase with such a cash back portal, you can buy Visa gift cards online with very low net fees:

  • GiftCardMall.com: $5.95 fee for each $500 card, plus $1.99 for shipping (or $10.95 for entire order when cart total is $2,000 or more).  Total price for three $500 cards: $1,523.82 .  Portal rebate: $15.  Total cost per card after rebate: ($1,523.82 – $15) / 3 = $502.94.
  • GiftCards.com: $6.95 fee for each $500 card.  $7.96 shipping & handling.  Total price for four $500 cards: $2035.76.  Portal rebate: $20.28 (in this case the $6.95 card fees also earn cash back).  Total cost per card after rebate: ($2035.76 – $20.28) / 4 = $503.87.

The Rakuten portal has the further advantage of allowing you to earn Amex Membership Rewards points rather than cash back.  And those with the Schwab Platinum card can redeem Membership Rewards points for 1.25 cents each, so we can think of the Rakuten portal as offering 1.25% back on Visa gift card purchases.  With that in mind, the deals are even better:

  • GiftCardMall.com: $5.95 fee for each $500 card, plus $1.99 for shipping (or $10.95 for entire order when cart total is $2,000 or more).  Total price for three $500 cards: $1,523.82.  Portal rebate: 1500 Membership Rewards points = $18.75.  Total cost per card after rebate: ($1,523.82 – $18.75) / 3 = $501.69.
  • GiftCards.com: $6.95 fee for each $500 card.  $7.96 shipping & handling.  Total price for four $500 cards: $2035.76.  Portal rebate: 2028 Membership Rewards points = $25.35.  Total cost per card after rebate: ($2035.76 – $25.35) / 4 = $502.60.

Sign up for Rakuten:

Best non-portal options: Simon Mall

Simon Mall sells Visa gift cards online loadable up to $1,000 each.  Each gift card has a $3.95 activation fee.  There is also a $10 processing fee per order plus ground shipping costs (around $10 per order).  Due to the fixed “per order” costs, it’s best to go this route only with very large orders.  Here are some examples assuming $10 in shipping fees:

  • Buy 5 $1,000 Visa gift cards:
    • Activation fees: $3.95 x 5 = $19.75
    • Processing fee + Shipping Fee: $10 + $10 = $20
    • Total fees per card: $39.75 / 5 = $7.95
  • Buy 15 $1,000 Visa gift cards:
    • Activation fees: $3.95 x 15 = $59.25
    • Processing fee + Shipping Fee: $10 + $10 = $20
    • Total fees per card: $79.25 / 15 = $5.28

For complete details, please see: Simon Visa Gift Card online bulk ordering. Everything you need to know.

Best non-portal options: Staples

Staples offers $300 Visa gift cards online for $308.95 with free shipping.  This amounts to a 3% fee.  By paying with a card that earns 5% or more at office supply stores, you’ll come out well ahead.  If paying with a card that doesn’t offer extra rewards at Staples, I’d recommend going with the portal options shown above instead.

Here are the credit cards that offer the best rewards for office supply store purchases:

Card Info Name and Earning Rate (no offer)
Chase Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
Base
Travel
Gas
Phone
Office
Other
Earning rate: ⚬ 5X office supplies, 5X cellular/landline/cable ⚬ 2X gas and hotels ⚬ 5X Lyft
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Office
Other
Earning rate: 5X office supplies ⚬ 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ⚬ 2X gas and restaurants ⚬ 5X Lyft
Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard (with Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards for Business)
Base
1.75%
Travel
5.25%
Dine
3.5%
Gas
5.25%
Phone
5.25%
Office
5.25%
Biz
5.25%
Earning rate: With Platinum Honors status with Bank of America's Business Advantage Relationship Rewards program, this card earns: 3.5% on dining plus 5.25% on 1 choice from: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services (for the first $50,000 in combined choice/dining purchases each calendar year, 1.75% thereafter) and 1.75% everywhere else.
SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Gas
3%
Phone
5%
Office
5%
Biz
3%
Earning rate: ⚬ 5% US office supply stores and US wireless phone services ⚬ 3% your choice from list of categories (e.g. airfare, hotels, car rentals, gas stations, restaurants, select media buys, shipping,computer) ⚬ 1% other purchases. 3% and 5% rebates are capped at $50,000 per rebate year and then earn 1% thereafter. Terms Apply.
U.S. Bank Business Cash Rewards World EliteTM Mastercard
Base
1%
Gas
3%
Phone
3%
Office
3%
Earning rate: 3% back at gas stations, office supply stores, and cell phone/service providers ⚬ 1% back everywhere else ⚬ Note: purchases of gaoline greater than $200 will not be deemed to be a purchase of automotive gasoline and will therefore earn only 1%.
Huntington Voice
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Dine
3%
Gas
3%
Grocery
3%
Shop
3%
Office
3%
Biz
3%
Other
3%
Earning rate: 3% cash back on up to $2K in spend in the category you choose each quarter: gas stations, travel & entertainment, restaurants, discount & warehouse stores, grocery stores, utilities & office supply stores, electronics and computer and camera stores, department and apparel and sporting good stores, auto parts & service, and home improvement stores
Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard
Base
1%
Travel
3%
Dine
2%
Gas
3%
Phone
3%
Office
3%
Biz
3%
Earning rate: 2% on dining plus 3% on 1 choice from: gas stations (default), office supply stores, travel, TV/telecom & wireless, computer services or business consulting services (for the first $50,000 in combined choice/dining purchases each calendar year, 1% thereafter) and 1% everywhere else.
UBS Visa Infinite Business
Base
Travel
Phone
Office
Biz
Earning rate: 3x for air travel and hotel stays, 2x for eligible business expenses (office supplies, business cable/internet, shipping, business phone and advertising), 1X everywhere else
U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Business Travel Rewards Visa® Card
Base
Travel
Gas
Phone
Office
Other
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X cell phone ⚬ 2X charity ⚬ 2X gas, office supply, or airline purchases (whichever is most each month).
JetBlue Business Card
Base
Dine
Office
Brand
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X restaurants and office supply stores ⚬ 6X JetBlue ⚬ 1X everywhere else
United℠ Business Card
Base
Dine
Gas
Office
Other
Earning rate: 2X at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores ⚬ 2X United ⚬ 2X on local transit and commuting, including taxicabs, mass transit, tolls, and ride share services
Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Business
Base
Dine
Gas
Office
Earning rate: 2X at restaurants, gas stations, and office supply stores ⚬ 2X United.
AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business MasterCard®
Base
Travel
Phone
Office
Earning rate: ⚬ 2X AA, office supply, telecommunications services, and at car rental agencies ⚬ 1X everywhere else
The Hawaiian Airlines® Business MasterCard® issued by Barclays
Base
Dine
Gas
Office
Brand
Earning rate: 3X Hawaiian Airlines ⚬ 2x gas, dining, and office supply stores ⚬ 1x everywhere else

Liquidating Visa gift cards from home

There aren’t many good ways to liquidate Visa gift cards from home that I’m aware of, but I’ll try to set you in the right direction…

Since Visa gift cards are sometimes treated as debit cards, there are times when it’s cheaper to pay bills with a Visa gift card than a credit card.  For example, if you use a credit card to pay $500 in federal taxes with a 1.87% fee, you’ll be charged $9.35 in fees.  Each of the three available tax payment processors, though, charge less than $3 per debit card payment.  The main limitation here is the fact that you can only make up to 6 payments per tax period (2 per processor).  Worse, at the time of this writing, one of the three processors isn’t handling gift cards correctly so we’re really limited to 4 debit payments per tax period.  For more, see: Complete guide to paying taxes via credit card, debit card, or gift card.

It may be worth diving into other bills that you pay by cash or check to see if any accept debit card payments with low or no fees.  If so, try using a Visa gift card to pay to see if it the biller accepts it as a debit card payment.

Buy / sell merchandise

One option for increasing credit card spend is to buy items at a steep discount and resell them.  By stacking gift card deals with portal rewards, coupons, sales, and retailer rewards it’s sometimes possible to not only increase credit card spend but also earn a nice profit.

There’s a steep learning curve for doing this right, and many things can go wrong, but there’s also an almost unlimited potential for increasing credit card spend and earning profits.  See: Increasing spend through reselling.

If you go this route, please, please, please do not try to take advantage of emergency situations.  Profiteering like that guy with the hand sanitizers is just wrong.  Don’t do it.

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Barry
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Barry

I’m not sure if Kiva loans are a good idea during the pandemic. I have a feeling that default rates are going to shoot through the roof.

jamesb2147
Guest
jamesb2147

As someone that invested in January, I am already seeing a huge delinquincy rate, well above average. And that, even from the highest rated partner on the platform.

It’s not a great time to be investing in Kiva.

Barry
Guest
Barry

Last month I only got paid back about half of what I was expecting. This month I only got paid back about 15% of what I was expecting.

Andrea Roark
Guest
Andrea Roark

I’m new to this points stuff, but I’m very interested in traveling for free. I feel confident I can rack up a good amount of points with welcome bonuses and regular spend, but millions of points?! How do people really do this? Are they travelling a ton or manufacturing that many points? I would just love some more real world examples of people earning and using these points.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

I got enough for 4 years Maybe 5 years of air travel in economy with the Way it is Now . Hotels are tough now IF u can’t get 5 nites Free with one card just do the Air .
CHEERs

lochquel
Guest
lochquel

Please do your research on Kickfurther before giving them money. There is no mechanism for recourse if those that you fund don’t pay back. Kickfurther hints that it is possible to get your money back through inventory repossession, etc. , but they themselves don’t do anything if things go south. They don’t even seem to even respond when recipients flake. Expect fraud, which is an odd business model. I have lost more than a bit of money to this.

caveman
Guest
caveman

Same here. I also lost some significant amount and would never advise anyone to invest in kickfurther.

Jerry Mandel
Guest
Jerry Mandel

1. Prepay monthly bills to get the sign up bonuses. You get it back from no payments for many months. 2. If you live somewhere Walmart or others will sell money orders from gift cards, get the sign up bonuses by buying $500 gift cards, then buying money orders, and depositing the MOs into your bank account to pay off the purchases. 3. Your $5,000 was a bad example. Most require $500 purchases in first 3 months to get $150 bonus.

Ella
Guest
Ella

Jerry, you’re on the wrong page if you’re just looking at $150 sign-up bonuses. Greg did specify “a big new-card bonus”. The value there is usually $500 – $1000 or more.

wise2u
Guest
wise2u

Yeah Jerry, those were the offers 5 years ago…today the banks have many offers that want 3-5k spend and some tiered offers for big points that want 10K++….I might be jaded but I wouldn’t lick a stamp for $150 bonus anymore…you can get $600 just for opening a checking and savings account (if you aren’t too lazy to set up your direct deposit.)
How about this for a new number 3: Cruise line gift cards…until they started cancelling them left and right my play was to go to Krogers, earn 4X fuel points, buy a few $500 gift cards for an upcoming cruise, go to casino on ship where they will let you load $1000 at a time, 3-5k a day depending on cruise at no charge (other than playing a few hands or pulls to not be obvious. At the end of the evening go to cage and cash your bank or chips, stick money in safe, the casino charge goes on your ships bill, which you can pay down with gift cards before you get off the ship, without gift cards works well too if the new card your qualifying has a 3X bonus in “travel” category…customs used to make you file forms for 10K+ cash but the last few times they said it wasn’t needed. The ports really had customs streamlined.

Dmagee32
Guest
Dmagee32

Loved doing this during our cruises, easy points!

trackback

[…] Meeting spend requirements can be a challenge at any time, but these days when many are stuck at home it can be much harder.  Fortunately, there are a number of relatively easy tricks to help get it done.  Please see this post for details: 7 ways to increase credit card spend from home. […]

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[…] Others cards to consider now:  If you need cash in the short term, the Chase Ink cards are good choices, but you can find many more options here: Best cash back credit card offers.  Also see this post for ideas for how to meet minimum spend requirements: 7 ways to increase credit card spend from home. […]

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[…] in a time when most of the United States is under stay-at-home orders? Greg recently wrote about 7 ways to increase spend from home. The truth is that apart from paying taxes, your options are limited today. Don’t buy these […]

Raghu Narayanan
Guest
Raghu Narayanan

Yesterday and today, I am unable to pay 2020 ES taxes for April 15 quarter through official payments using a gift card.
It did not go through. I called black hawk network. Seems Official payments is running this as recurring transaction instead of one time payment

trackback

[…] Credit card welcome bonuses usually require high minimum spend. For example, you may need to spend $4,000 in 3 months to earn the bonus.  Fortunately there are easy ways to accomplish this from home even if you don’t have $4,000 in credit card payable expenses.  Details can be found here: 7 ways to increase credit card spend from home. […]

TU HO
Guest
TU HO

PLEASE STAY AWAY KICKFURTHER !!!
I lost $2,000 to them and they have had no way to protect investors from scam business. Kickfurther even locked my account, not let me warn other investors.