Seeking CC help/suggestions - Specific conditions

Update

So far so good at my backup counterparty. Am going in only gently. APYs are also modest, some at 10%, rest at 8%; all tax free of course, as always. But the numbers are very small when compared with the halcyon days of yore; doing only perhaps fifteen to twenty grand per month . . . at most. This could ramp up going forward. I need to find a second counterparty. It’s not easy.

Also doing decent with my add-on CDs. Will put in over thirty-five grand first week in June at 3.25% APY taxable, so a lot more money than is happening here with the credit cards. But the two schemes taken together are working for me without drama.

Earlier this year I had to shut down my CC hustle to preserve funds for the add-on CD thing. It all has worked out. Now I have both still up and running. Sweet. Patience won the prize. :wink:

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Sometimes in life mysterious stuff happens . . . stuff you cannot for the life of you understand. Here is one such instance:

This is for anyone who is a Keesler FCU member. It’s not as easy to join Keesler now as once was the case; I realize that. But a lot of folks joined in the past, when it was easier to get in, because Keesler back then offered some pretty attractive CD deals. So there must be a few Keesler members reading this.

I already alluded to this mystery far up thread. I don’t expect anyone to remember. This is an old, long, thread. But this is in the realm of the somewhat wacky Keesler Visa Signature card. I never could understand it; still can’t.

As mentioned more recently, I have restarted my side hustle which is the subject here. As part of that I charged a “purchase” to my Keesler Visa Signature card. Course it was really a CD I was “buying”. Everyone who has followed this thread already knows that.

So today it came time to cash in on my 2% reward. I visited the Keesler website and went through the process to get my cash. They do it by crediting your Keesler savings account. Fine.

Ended up with three times as much reward as I was expecting. Instead of 2% they gave me a 6% reward. Sweet! :grinning:

Over on the Keesler website for their Visa Signature card it says:

Benefits: Earns 2% cash back or 3 points for every $ spent; plus a $100 credit with $1,500 in purchases within the first 90 days of having the card.

Well, I obtained my card a whole lot longer ago than 90 days. That is for certain! And they paid me the hundred bucks way back. So it’s a mystery, at least to me, where all this extra moolah is coming from. This is not the first time. The Keesler rewards money just keeps flowing in. I hope they do not claw all the extra dough back some day!

Anyway, bottom line there appears to be lots of room in this Keesler buttertub for other members. If you have a Keesler membership but do not yet have one of their Visa Signature credit cards, the suggestion from here is for you to apply ASAP. After all, it is guaranteed to pay you at least a 2% reward. And based on my good fortune you might end up with a whole lot more than that! :wink:

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Yes you really lucked out… So I went over to Keesler site to check it out.

Only benefit for me would be the $100 for signing up. My CITI dc card gives me 2% outright cash, not credit. All & all, to much trouble to pick up another card.

Thanks anyway!

Give some more detail. Did you get excess points? Or did you get excess value when redeeming the points. Might you have received an extra bonus, or was it rewarding extra per-spend points?

Some of us here have gotten really good at figuring out how a reward is what it is, when it’s something other than what was expected. I’m sure we could get an idea of what’s going on so you understand going forward.

I apologize for not stating clearly what happened. The reward was paid in cash, not as a credit to my card (I could have chosen an account credit but I chose cash instead). The cash money is credited to my Keesler savings account, which is linked at Alliant. Once the money shows up (it takes several days) I simply pull the funds into my Alliant checking via ACH.

Heck, just this morning I cashed in at Citi as well. That reward will come to me, in about a week, in the form of a paper check. That check will be scanned into my Alliant checking. So it’s exactly the same thing as at Keesler in the end: cash money in my Alliant checking.

I’ve never understood the Keesler points thing. They gave me three points for every dollar I “spent”. You have to cash in at least 2500 points at a time. No problem. I had the points. For each of those points they rewarded me two cents. I didn’t argue with them. I took the money and smiled.

Look, I don’t understand what is going on. If you get the card you will garner at least 2%, which is a decent reward today. You might make more. What’s not to like?

ETA

I neglected to mention there is no annual fee associated with the Keesler Visa Signature card.

It has been over five weeks since I have posted, so time for an update:

Things are going very well. Tax-free money being raised here is helping to pay for delivered food, which costs more.

I have abandoned Argyll’s rule. This is no knock on Argyll; not at all. It’s just that strategy has changed with the demise of First Advantage Bank (a terrible loss for this enterprise). I am therefore limited to three month CDs, which is longer than I would prefer. What I do now is to buy CDs just after the various CC statements close. This gives me a bit less than two months of “free money”, meaning no loss of interest. The final month I must cover on my own. This also has the advantage of not working the cards so hard. I only buy a new CD, using a given card, after that card statement has closed on a zero balance. This applies to all my cards with the exception of my Alliant Vise Signature.

Fortunately I still have a goodly number of credit cards up and running from back when this hustle was “big time” in 2018 and 2019. So it all works out. I’m now at only between ten and twenty percent of what my monthly dollar volume was back then. Hence tax free income today is in the hundreds of dollars per month, not the thousands. Still, it helps a lot with the cost of pandemic food.

Other than that, I sadly have not developed a second counter party. If the one I’m using blows up . . well . . I’m flat out of business. Maybe I would go back to GTE. I dunno. Probably not cause who really wants their horrible six month CDs.

Anyway, bottom line, it is nice to have a little something going on the side. It helps, and tax free income always is a delight. :smiley:

ETA

Couple of additional thoughts before I leave this thread alone for another four to six weeks, or whatever:

First, it has always been an advantage of this little CD hustle, as opposed to other forms of manufactured spending (MS), that it can be accomplished entirely from home . . . no need to go into a store.

This was good for me at the start, way back, because my home is distant from stores of any kind. However now, with the pandemic, who wants to be in stores anyway just to do MS! I like being able to make a bit of money on the side without need to leave home.

Second, it takes all kinds of people to make a world. Hence I’m about to present a strategy with which I do NOT agree and which I NEVER have practiced . . . not one time! This is offered without my recommendation and, in fact, I think this is a bad idea. Nevertheless, everyone is different and I’m aware certain individuals engage in the following so here it is:

A variation on the “buy CDs with a CC side hustle” is to buy your CDs with the intent of cashing them in early and paying the EWP (early withdrawal penalty), if any. Obviously you make more money this way because your dough turns over more times per year. Example:

Suppose you do what I do, buying three month CDs with a CC having a 2% reward. I can do that four times each year with the same principal, so my tax-free take is 8%. Not too bad.

But some people might cash in that same three month CD after only two months, paying a very small EWP. They could roll that same principal amount over six times each year, raising their tax-free take to 12%. That’s a lot higher than mine.

Some people are doing that. I don’t like the scheme because I worry that, done too often, such as that could get me thrown out of a credit union or declared persona non grata by a bank and let go as a customer. That’s why I always allow my CDs to run to maturity.

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I’m surprised the banks and CU’s don’t care about the recycling of funds. Instead of just renewing your 3 month CD with the funds from the current CD, you can withdraw it and charge it.

Good on you for discovering it early. It reminds me of the buying of coins from the US Mint.

I’m assuming Bank of America cards don’t work for this because you could get a lot more than 2% with the Merrill Edge Platinum Honors thing.

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Fond memories. That was one of the greatest, and most fun, FW deals of ALL TIME!! :smiley:

I have the Bank of America Cash Rewards World Mastercard. This card pays a 3% reward on amounts up to $2500 each quarter in my chosen category of online purchases. I use the card once each quarter to buy a $2500 CD, collecting thereby the highest reward available to me on any of my cards.

It is too bad B of A imposes the $2500 limitation. But I am definitely not squawking or complaining. In this “show me the money” world . . . . they do. :smiley:

Why aren’t you using Bank of America/ Merrill Edge Preferred Rewards? You would get 5.25%. and they have so many variants, so multiple cards with online purchase category. I have an MLB card and 2 Cash Rewards card. Or you could just get the 2.625% on everything with the Premium Rewards card…

  • An eligible Bank of America personal checking account
  • Three-month average combined balances of $20,000 or more in qualifying Merrill investments accounts and/or Bank of America deposit accounts. Visit the Bank of America learning center for more information.

I’m not into signing up for any kind of serious business relationship with Merrill or with Bank of America.

I simply transferred an IRA from Vanguard to Merrill Edge. And they gave me $$$ to do that as well. I have a checking account, it’s sole purpose is to collect the credit card cash back and transfer back to Alliant.

Not sure why you are opposed to utilizing BofA if it is profitable for you.

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Hey, whudduya know. Miracles never cease.

Just got approved for two new credit cards for use here with this little hustle.

JFCU (Justice) approved me for a 1.5% reward card.

PSECU approved me for a 2% card.

More cards result in more income . . . . if I’m lucky.

Caveat:

After getting creamed at NFCU, and ending up closing that card down, I’ve learned my lesson. Each of these new cards will have to be tested at the outset with purchase of small, $500, certificates of deposit. If that works and generates a reward for me, it’s onward and upward from there.

But it’s nice to have new cards after quite a long time. I can make a profit with 1% reward cards, but I make more obviously when the reward is larger.

This will be it for a while. Gives me, I dunno, a total of about a dozen cards in the rotation. That pays for my expensive pandemic food. Lucky.

Whoa!! I should buy a lottery ticket. This is my lucky day!! :grinning:

I just found another counterparty!! And let me tell you, they are NOT easy to locate.

I guess it was a case of “seek and ye shall find”. I sought. But I’ve done that prior and come up completely empty. Not today. And it is great having a backup for, what was up until this afternoon, my one single counterparty.

How good? Decent

Their shortest CD is three months. That is a four multiplier. I can live with that number. Heck, it is TWICE as good as everyone’s old standby, GTE Financial . . . . which I no longer use.

Experimentation

Opened CD with my Alliant Visa Signature. Charge went through as a purchase! :smiley:

Life is good. I can use the money. Will buy more tomorrow. But for now:

I really should buy that lottery ticket. Today is best since pandemic began. :wink:

I need to go back where you gave out your instruction plans for this deal. Don’t remember details.
.
I’m in on a couple bonus deals.
The Citi pkg $700 for 3 mo stay (have 3). & Service CU $3000 3%, $500 5% (don’t know how long these last).

Bonus deals can be excellent money makers. I avoid them but many participants here love them.

Generally bonuses are one time events. You apply for a credit card and a nice bonus is attached if you meet the conditions, which many people are able to do.

My hustle goes on and on without need to apply each time for a new credit card. You are spending on the same card over and over to purchase certificates of deposit and earn tax free rewards. That means a lot less activity on your credit report than with bonuses, because rewards do not trigger credit report activity.

Like everything else I guess it is to each his own. But my preference is for the rewards route. I’m a big fan.

if you were to get audited, I would imagine it would not all be tax free because the reason typically used for “tax free” of CC rewards is that you are lowering the cost basis of whatever you bought…that doesn’t really apply to what you are doing. Who knows though.

First, there is no way my extra income would be picked up in an audit. It is never reported to the IRS (if it were I would pay tax).

But beyond that, I researched this matter carefully before ever starting my side hustle. The IRS is well aware of such income as I am receiving. Many people are doing what I am doing. The IRS chooses not to tax this type of income.

You are correct regarding all available guidance, but that guidance is all tangent and not directly on point. An audit (which will find that money, depending on the type of audit) is going to address the situation directly, and it’s a crap shoot as to what the final determination would be.

This is a rabbit hole we best not go down (yet again). Until there is a precedent on record (specific to this scenario), the best each of us can do is make a good faith effort to comply.

This is a commonly referenced fallacy. Income is taxable or it isn’t based on tax law; it being reported or not has zero bearing on that determination. It being reported only affects the likelihood of bring caught should you not report income.

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If they felt inclined to do a bank deposit analysis for some other reason, I imagine, they would notice it very much.

You are the first person I’ve heard of who talks about doing what you are doing. How can you say that the IRS aware of it right after you also say it’s not reported? Ha.

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No challenge. But you did not cast a sufficiently wide net. Buying CDs with a CC is widely practiced and is documented in detail many places on the net.

Several years ago the IRS detained a practitioner thinking he was up to something else, something of interest to them. After he explained to the IRS what he actually was doing they simply released him. They had no interest at all in income gained this way.

Any mention of the IRS having interest in this scheme is merely internet trolling. The only secretive aspect of this, here or elsewhere, is precise identification of counterparties. Counterparties are financial institutions which allow you to purchase short term CDs with a credit card. They are very few and far between. They are difficult to locate. And their names are generally closely head secrets by those of us who pursue this form of money making. Beyond that, everything is out in the open.