There’s a discussion on Flyertalk about several prepaid debit products that you can buy online (free, with free shipping) and that you can then load online with a credit card.
You can load up to $2500 per day onto the card and store up to $10,000 at a time.
Some key fees:
- $3.95 monthly service fee, waived when you load $800 or more to the card each month
- $2.95 for loading the card by credit card
- $2.50 ATM cash withdrawal fee (in addition to fees charged by an out of network ATM)
- $0.50 Bill pay fee
The card terms seem to suggest you can load a maximum of $250 at a time with a credit card, making it uneconomic and significant effort for each $2.95 fee. However reports are that in fact $2500 loads are permitted. So $2500 charged to your card for $2.95, once per week per card.
Issues to consider:
- While they do ask your social security number when you order, they don’t pull your credit.
- It’s probably the case that Chase, Barclays, and Bank of America will treat these loads as purchases rather than cash advances. I wouldn’t be surprised if Citibank treated them as a cash advance (which means you don’t earn points, but do pay interest). Regardless of the bank it’s always a good idea where possible to ask to have your cash advance limit set to zero — you’d rather have a transaction that’s going to process as a cash advance declined.
- The cards are issued by Metabank. Expect that after a few loads and unloads they may decide to shut down the account — loading up a lot of money that you use right away is both not the kind of customer they’re looking for and also something that raises flags. You should never use more money than you can ‘float’ on cards like this because if you get shut down it may take some time to receive your money back.
I’ve ordered some cards and will be trying them out. The most common ways to use these among readers will likely be the purchase of money orders, though I’ll be interested to look into the billpay feature once I have a card in hand to register.