Most of us have heard of Square if you’ve been manufacture spending on your credit card for some time. If not, Square allows you to connect this credit card reader to your phone and swipe credit cards. The funds then deposit into your bank account within a few days. At 2.9% per swipe, this gets to be one of the most expensive ways to manufacture spend. In fact, you’d probably be losing money. Some credit card companies will consider this a cash advance if they catch you swiping your own card or they may even shut you down. You’d only want to do this if you were in a pinch to meet a credit card signup bonus offer.
I was looking for an alternative in case I ever had to swipe my own card. I stumbled upon Plus by EMS which is very similar to Square, except the swipe fee is only 2.25% per transaction. Still expensive as you’re going to pay $22.50 per $1,000 you swipe. I signed up and I never got the card reader in the mail. I tried e-mailing the company and never got a response. Therefore, I took my complaint to Twitter and the situation was cleared up within 48 hours.
On to the good stuff. So you’re wondering, does Plus by EMS actually work and did my credit card companies pick up the swipes as a cash advance? Well there’s good news and bad news. First, the good news. My credit card company, Citi, did not charge the swipe as a cash advance. The bad news, Plus by EMS actually does not allow you to swipe your own card. EMS actually called me 4 days later to very the swipe and they wanted me to provide an invoice. I explained that I swiped my own card, and they told me I would have to refund the transaction. I agreed as I was just testing the waters. You’d think EMS wouldn’t mind since I KNOW the swipe isn’t fraudulent (come on, it’s my own card.) The representative also informed me that you are limited to $10,000 a month. If you go over that, your funds will be held for 60 – 90 days! So even if you’re thinking about being creative and trying to come up with invoices, it looks like EMS would be very skeptical if you’re swiping the same cards over and over again.
At this time, I would NOT recommend getting Plus by EMS to try and manufacture spend on a credit card. If you’re in a pinch, check all your local grocery stores to see if they sell Visa gift cards with a pin.