With the bad news of the rolling ban at CVS stores for accepting credit cards for Vanilla cards, many savvy point earners are searching for ways to continue with (easy) manufactured spending. Obviously, everyone wants to find a way to replace that $5,000 per month (maximum allowed by Bluebird per account for reloads) with another easy way of spending. True, there are many ways to do it, but they require additional steps or may cost more in fees.
The biggest problem right now is for those who are trying to finish the minimum spending on high spend cards (like the American Express Business Platinum for 150K Membership Reward points or the AAdvantage Executive Citi card for 100K AA miles). I know many were right in the middle of the spending or maybe had just started. To have to do that type of spending without Vanilla/Bluebird may be a strain for some (the AA card requires $10,000 in 3 months and the Amex Business Platinum 150K offer requires $20,000 in 3 months).
Square To The Rescue
Square is the credit card processing company that started the move to plastic swipe/smartphone combo for mobile credit card payments. Square sends you a small plastic plugin for your Android or Apple smartphone or iPad. It plugs in to your headphone jack and you use it in conjunction with the app to run credit cards through for payment processing.
Now, Square does shut down accounts for those who make payments to themselves with their own credit cards, but it can be very useful for making payments to friends and family. It is kind of like an Amazon Payments deal or using Bluebird to transfer funds to another – but in person. The one part that has made Square not a good use for credit card payments with friends and family to earn points has been the 2.75% processing fee charged to the one who is accepting payment. Paying that type of fee eliminates any value that can be received from points, with the exception of possibly using it to meet minimum spending requirements.
However, I just received e-mails this morning announcing a referral program for Square. Instead of giving actual money for referrals, Square is offering a program where you will receive fee-free swipes on the next $1,000 of credit card transactions for every person you refer (as soon as they activate their account). This is good for up to $5,000 and applies to transactions for the 180 days of activation. So, you can refer up to 5 people and receive $1,000 in fee-free transactions for every one that activates their account. This eliminates the 2.75% fee and allows you to accomplish up to $5,000 in spending at no cost whatsoever. This is even better than the Vanilla route where you would have had to pay $39.50 in Vanilla fees for the same amount.
First of all, if you are a current customer, head to this website to enter your information and the e-mail addresses of those you wish to refer. Send the invites to those people who you want to refer. It may be best to include those people you know who also are in the credit card/points game so that you can each maximize your spending with each other.
If you are not a customer, try asking one of your friends or family members if they are so they can give you the referral. If not, head over here to sign-up. (this is not a referral link) After signing up, you will receive the credit card plugin and should be able to head to the link above to refer your friends and family. It is easy to do and you will not pay any monthly fees or fees of any kind except the processing fee each time you process a credit card payment (with the exception of the payments done with this promo).
Do not try processing your own credit cards through your account, you do not want to get shut down (since they look at it as cash advances). However, you can use it for payments of other kinds from friends, family members, clients and return the favor to others as well. In this way, you can easily use the $5,000 in fee-free processing offered by this promo. I have used Square for many payments in the past and love the app and the way they handle things. It is an excellent way to conduct business on the go and should be something you consider using for any business transactions down the road. Many large retailers now use Square as their credit card processing agent so it is not the small company it once was!