Today Lucky writes about whether the mint “game” is worthwhile and instead of hijacking his comments with a long post I figured I’d post my response here.

I have not, and will not participate in the mint game.  Why?  Well, I like my bank.  I get 4.25% APR on my checking account.  To some that might scream “sweet! interest on the float too!” but I would hate to kill that gravy train.  They only have 4 branches so if I’m depositing $1000 in coins every 10 days that is hard to shuffle.  If I still had an account at the big banks in Charlotte maybe I would.  If I could have the coins shipped directly to ING Direct or Schwab Bank for deposit maybe I would.  Since I’d have to take time out of my busy weekend (since I’m back to traveling Monday-Friday) and wake up early on Saturday after getting in at midnight I prefer not to.  I don’t even know if my bank has weekend hours so I’d either sit on my coins for a while, deposit them into my husband’s account at one of the big banks, or just not play the game.

For those who don’t know what the mint game is (since I’ve never talked about it) I’ll explain briefly.  The US Mint wants to get people to use the $1 coins.  To encourage this they are selling $1 coins with free shipping so it’s pretty much a cash advance without actually posting to your credit card as such.  This means you get money at face value and get points/miles for it if you use a points/miles credit card.  People went hog wild initially so credit card companies and the mint got suspicious.  The rules changed limiting the number that an individual can purchase at a time.  the website also states: “The immediate bank deposit of $1 coins ordered through this program does not result in their introduction into circulation and, therefore, does not comply with the intended purpose of the program.” You can order up to 4 boxes ($250×4=$1000) every 10 days.

So if you use a lot of cash anyway and can actually use these coins and use other money to pay your credit card, good for you.  If you are getting these coins to deposit and pay the credit card then good for you too.  I just don’t have time.


Posted by Grace Alexander | 6 Comments to Read

  1. worldtraveller2 said,

    the problem for me was just lugging it to the bank, standing in line and then embarrassingly pulling out the stash! not sure it is my game, but I don’t knock the ones that do!

  2. mrpickles said,

    I am surprised that you have ONLY one bank account.

    Those doing this properly players have several bank accounts and I know of one person who has 14 bank accounts and “shares” the wealth so to speak.

    No single branch gets bogged down with too many coin deposits. There can be Lifetime AAdvantages to playing this game worth more that the miles alone, especially if you are young. And the real players are still getting between 50-100k in coins per month.

  3. grace said,

    I have 4 bank accounts (NCBT, ING, PenFed, Schwab), but only 1 has a brick and mortar presence locally (NCBT). I used to have Wachovia and Bank of America accounts, but they don’t like you when you don’t use them. I had ING set up to automatically ACH money to Wachovia and Bank of America every month so I could use their ATM network while traveling. NCBT reimburses all foreign ATM fees (as does Schwab) so I got rid of Wachovia and Bank of America. I sometimes think about opening a SunTrust account so I can get the Delta Debit card, but I acquire enough sky pesos as it is.

    I didn’t fly AA at all last year. I have to send some random dining points or iTunes to them soon to keep the account active.

  4. Matthew said,

    Your interest rate is attractive. Any branches outside of NC?

    If I was smart, I’d play the game. I see no moral dilemma in taking advantage of a good deal.

  5. grace said,

    They have branches all over SC called SCBT, but the SC version is only 3.25%. I think it’s because SCBT bought Scottish Bank a few years ago and introduced the Mad Money checking account to increase depositers. I had the NC account for a good 6 months before Mad Money was introduced to SC.
    http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/783099/ lists all the nationally available “rewards” checking accounts. NCBT lets both pin and signature transactions count towards the 10 per month. Some are signature only.

    I probably would play the game too if I needed points for a specific trip. As it is right now I’m sitting on points and have no where to go. Obviously there wasn’t enough abuse to can the whole coins program.

  6. Oliver said,

    I am a US taxpayer. Quite frankly, I think it’s inappropriate to play this “game” at the cost of us taxpayers. After all, the shipping isn’t free to the US Mint (i.e., the government, aka as me) and the goal to get the dollar coins distributed isn’t reached since the banks presumably just ship the coins back to the central bank.

    Of course, ethics are rarely considered when it comes to miles and points.