I received an e-mail last week from Mike, a fellow Travel Hacking reader, and he was inquiring about my article I posted last month regarding manufactured spending with money orders. I don’t recommend it because your bank can shut you down and report you for suspected illegal activities. Mike’s question was “Why not just write the money orders out to the credit card directly thereby bypassing the need to deposit in your checking account?

Money Orders manufactured spending

That’s an excellent question! At first I thought credit card companies didn’t┬átake money orders as a form of payment. I decided to do a little bit of investigating and so I hopped on live chat with Citi and American Express. I was surprised that I received an answer back right away, but they both stated that they do in fact take money orders as a form of payment!

So if you do want to manufacture spend with money orders, it looks like you could deposit some money orders into your bank and then also have some money orders made out to your credit card companies and mail the payment to the bank. Keep in mind that you’ll have to mail in the money order and wait for the payment to clear. If I had to guess, this whole process would probably take 7-10 business days. If you have that much time to wait, then this may be a viable option for you. Since the process takes so long, I still won’t go this route.

The downside to going this route:

  1. Your already paying an activation fee on each gift card you buy.
  2. You then have to buy a money order with the gift cards. Keep in mind most places won’t let you buy a money order over $2k or $3k.
  3. You’ll need to buy stamps to mail in your payment.
  4. Wait 7-10 days for the payment to clear by the credit card company.

As always, it’s good to have options available! Thanks for the question Mike!