Obituary: US Mint Will Not Accept Credit & Debit Cards For $1 Coins

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Million Mile Secrets reader Missy (thanks, Missy!) alerts us to some sad news.

The US mint is NOT going to allow purchases of $1 coins via a credit card or a debit card. 

However, you can still purchase $1 coins by cash, check, or wire transfer, but I suspect that there won’t be a lot of folks signing-up to do that.

The day of reckoning is upon us!  But just as one door closes, another one will open.

Here’s what the statement on the mint’s website says (bolding mine):

“The Mint has determined that this policy change is prudent due to ongoing activity by individuals purchasing $1 coins with credit cards, accumulating frequent flyer miles, and then returning coins to local banks. Local banks, in turn, returned coins to the Federal Reserve. While not illegal, this activity was a clear abuse and misuse of the program.”

I guess the mint doesn’t want to help us meet our minimum spend on credit cards or get lifetime American Airlines status any longer.

I also don’t understand why the note mentions “frequent flyer miles” and not the enterprising folks who used cash back cards to rack up cash.  Perhaps we just got more publicity out of it!

It goes on to say:

The Mint has undertaken several aggressive internal and external actions to mitigate this issue, including restricting chronic and repeated use of credit cards, contacting customers who frequently placed large numbers of orders to ensure they were using the coins for legitimate business purchases, and other measures. While these measures eliminated a significant amount of misuse in the program, we believe some abuse still exists. Eliminating the credit and debit card purchase of the $1 coin is the next step in our efforts to root out abuse in this program and ensure it is better targeted toward fulfilling its intended purpose—which is to get the $1 Coin into greater circulation.

Fair enough.  It is the mint’s prerogative to take measures to accelerate the introduction of the $1 coin.  And there certainly was a lot of publicity around the US mint, for example most recently on NPR which was then relayed on major news channels and earlier on in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

However, I wish them luck, because I don’t see the $1 coin becoming popular anytime soon.  Unless the $1 currency bill is scrapped, it is unlikely that Americans will line up to use $1 coins.

Looks like I’ll have to update my 40+ ways to complete minimum spending on credit cards!

Will not being able to buy $1 coins with a credit card impact your ability to complete minimum spending on your credit cards?  Tell us in the comments!

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16 responses to “Obituary: US Mint Will Not Accept Credit & Debit Cards For $1 Coins

  1. The Mint and the politicians that lobbied for this must be so butthurt about this fail of a program. It was doomed from the start.

    I actually used to use about 25% of my order for random stuff. I used it as intended but coins won’t get circulated if the VENDOR that took coins from me wasn’t willing to give them back as change to another customer!

    What difference did it make if I deposited them directly to the bank or if the 7-11 manager I gave them to did? One extra step.

    • I don’t feel too bad that this has died, because it clearly wasn’t achieving the intended goal of circulating $1 coins, and was administered really inefficiently.

      However, I am slightly concerned that it took 3 years to finally close this loophole. Personally, I used this method in 2008 early 2009 for about $40K in coins, but stopped after that since it wasn’t worth the time investment to me.

      @Mike L – I agree, and I don’t understand how someone thought that this program would ever be successful!

      @Jeremy – Only about $40K to meet the minimum spend of our SPG cards when I was a poor student and had the time to unwrap coins and go to the bank.

      @Ed – The program was innovative, but was badly executed! Personally, I prefer carrying a few $1 coins than bills, but I don’t see a way for this to work for the entire country unless the $1 bill was discontinued.

      – Thanks for writing in! Here are my thoughts on sharing.

      – I appreciate you saying it like you see it. I agree that this program was abused, and perhaps it is better that they closed it down.

      @Bluto – Agreed!

  2. So, what was your haul Darius? 😀

  3. I’m somewhat glad that the guys at the Mint finally woke up to see what was going on and did something. It was kind of embarrassing that these guys in our government knew what was going on and yet did nothing about it for so long.

  4. What’s embarassing still is someone who thought this whole program would be a good idea.

  5. @Mike, I see your point but I think the idea was innovative. The problem was that the Mint probably never really stepped back to ask themselves if this program was working or not. Instead, they are shifting blame to us “game players” (and I’ll bet that’s more because of the negative press they got rather than any deep analysis of the program).

    What they really need is to understand how to get the coin into more circulation and maybe D has the answer: need to get rid of the paper dollar.

    But don’t you think that all money will soon go the way of snail mail? I hardly use cash myself anymore….got too many spend requirements to hit, is one reason! 🙂

  6. Now that this has happened will you stop trying to kill the other deals with the massive over-exposure you are giving on your blog? All the info is already freely available for those who want to go and look anyway (i.e. none are ‘secrets’ in the slightest) – it’s just that things have worked fine for years in a system in which those who invest the effort get their just reward and those who choose not to go about their merry way. Effort is rewarded, and the masses and journalists are kept at bay. Short-cutting this by offering everyone a free lunch (instead of asking them to work for it) just kills the deal entirely. Lunch today, starving by next week.

  7. I’m really disappointed that all of the abuse led to the (essential) shutdown of this program. I really wanted to buy some coins to both meet spend AND actually put them into circulation, but that ship has sailed. To me, it seems a real shame that we “frequent flyers” could have done some good for the country, but aren’t able to because of the actions of an over-zealous and selfish minority. I realize this isn’t a popular position and I don’t want to start any angry debates – it’s just the way I see it 🙁

  8. @Megan: To that I refer to my original comment, circulating them has to be a multi-pronged initiative. If I spend these at a retailer but that retailer does not circulate them back to other customers, then who’s fault is it? The government has made no real publicized effort to get these into circulation.

  9. Anytime a wasteful government effort is halted, I am happy. Overall, this is a plus for all of us.

  10. @Tony, I’m curious as to just how did *you* discover the USMint gig? How did you actually “invest the effort”, as you write?

  11. A good program gone away because of the abuse of the system. People get greedy and now we all lose.

    I’ve been buying these since the program started and I actually do spend the coins. It was fun and everyone liked them.

  12. Glad they finally shut down the abusers. Also, I think it’s kind of funny (hypocritical)(@Tony) that there’s no outrage about all the many web blogs and forums that hyped and promoted and detailed the how-to’s of the abuse of the coin program all of which hastened the end of the deal. I guess it’s o.k. for everyone else but just let Darius try mentioning such common knowledge on his relatively humble little blog and all h**l breaks out.
    Give me a break.

  13. Damn, I did it once a couple months ago to help complete a spend and it couldn’t have been any easier. I guess I was a little late to the party. I don’t see any problem in taking advantage of these kind of deals. With the internet they are going to come and go quickly. I think this one stuck around for so long because it was a government program. Oh well, on to the next one….

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  15. Maybe US mint can still go through this program, give 500 coins for 500 buck with free shipping, but we need to pay through our bank account or check !! just like how we pay our credit card bills !!