This post is for intermediate hobbyists. Please do not dive in without understanding the risks and possible consequences.
If you have been reading my books and this blog, you already know that to me, there are three acceptable levels of manufactured spending.
Prime MS is something I can do in the comfort of my own home and be done in 15 minutes or less. Examples:
- Amazon payments (up to $1,000 a month per account)
- AMEX Serve (up to $1,000-$1,500 per account plus debit spend).
- AMEX GCs and Simon Mall VISA business and personal Cards online, mentioned here.
Something I can do with a short detour to/from work (or where I have to be anyway) and be done with it in 1 hour or less. For example, I sometimes find myself in Long Island or New Jersey for work or leisure, which puts some Walmarts and Simon Malls within my reach.
EMERGENCY MS (which is often STANDARD MS gone wrong)
Anything that takes more than an hour of my time for less than a stellar compensation. It often happens due to things gone wrong (read about my traumatic Walmart experience) or when I take on more than I can/should handle to meet credit card spending requirements. Includes making stand-alone trips to CVS or/and Walmart and using credit cards at 2.7-2.9%.
If you think that I am too lazy and simply not cut out for this hobby, I have two things to remind you.
1. I live in Brooklyn, New York, which means no Walmarts within 1-hour drive and/or tolls.
2. See the name of this blog again.
So, I was very pleased to learn that Jeff Bezos decided to help our community out once again with the new Amazon Local Register payment system. ALR is a swiper that you connect to your cell phone or tablet in order to process credit cards. It looks exactly like the competition, such as Square and Paypal, but with one considerable difference.
ALR will charge you 1.75% for the service until January 1, 2016. Others charge up to 2.9%.
Why is it great? Because you can use your credit card to buy a gift car that you can promptly “unload” via the ALR to your own bank account. Not only does it make meeting spending requirements a breeze, you can also get a profit. All this from the comfort of your own place! I know, I know, Walmart junkies won’t like that; no excitement, no adrenaline rush… What are you gonna do! 🙂
For the rest of us, though, this is a terrific way to do some MS with minimal effort. Of course, you don’t have to use a gift card. You could use your own credit card if you so desire and still make a tiny profit. AMEX Fidelity gives you 2% cashback on everything, so you will be getting 0.25% profit even after the fee.
Or you could swipe gift cards and make some real points or cashback, but since people have been getting way too sensitive about their secrets lately, I’ll write some of my thoughts and findings in the newsletter that’s coming out tomorrow (I mean later today). Subscribe if you haven’t already.
Since ALR is just a few days old, here are a few (really very few) datapoints.
- You don’t need to be a corporation and have an EIN. Your SSN will work fine, but do sign up with a different email or it will replace your Amazon Payment account. AP accounts are free, thus much more valuable.
- You must physically swipe the card to get this fee, otherwise it’s 2.75%.
- There is a $10 processing fee, but they will credit it back.
- You will not receive the 1099 (at least Amazon says you won’t) unless you reach 200 transactions AND $20,000. Not OR, AND!
- There is no reason to believe that Amazon can’t shut you down if you go crazy. Don’t go crazy.
- It doesn’t work with everything. In fact, I have no idea if it’s going to work with my LG, but I’m willing to take this risk. 🙂 Here is the list of the devices it has been tested on:
Compatible Phones and Tablets
Amazon Local Register is compatible with Apple devices running iOS 7.0+ and select Android devices running Android 4.0.4+.
Amazon Local Register is compatible with the following Apple devices running iOS 7.0+:
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4s
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- iPad mini
Amazon Local Register is compatible with the following Android devices running Android 4.0.4+:
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy S5
- Fire HD and HDX tablets
Amazon Local Register is compatible with Apple devices running iOS 7.0+ and select Android devices running Android 4.0.4+, including Galaxy S3, S4, S5, and Fire tablets. It may work on other Android devices, but it has not been optimized.
OK, that’s it for now. Do not forget to subscribe to my newsletters for in-depth analyzes.