a toy figurine in a box of coins

Revealed: Top 3 Canadian Manufactured Spend Techniques

While limited, Canadians have access to some manufactured spend techniques. As a reminder, manufactured spend (‘MS’) is where you use your credit card to buy a cash-like product and then pay off your card using those funds. In doing so, you can earn a substantial number of points.

This post will review my three favourite Canadian MS techniques. As a disclosure, I am not fully revealing all techniques, namely to preserve them, and because some techniques have been disclosed to me in confidence by others.

  1. Royal Canadian Mint

This is by far the easiest MS technique in Canada. The Royal Canadian Mint sells special face-value coins at cost. This means you can buy a $200 coin for $200, using a credit card. Right now, you can purchase $2350 worth of these coins ($20 for $20, $25 for $25, $50 for $50, $100 for $100, $200 for $200). Once you get the coins, you simply deposit them into your bank account and pay off your credit card.

Update: This program has closed.

You can use a Visa, American Express, or Mastercard to make your purchase. There is no delivery fee, nor is tax/customs charged on deliveries to Canada or the United States. To get to the full $2350 value, make sure you add the maximum number of all face value coins from the main menu.
Shop The Royal Canadian Mint for Canadian circulation and collector coins! Click here!

  1. AC Conversion

I’ve written about this product before. Lots of people have had problems with it (read the comments). While this is, in theory, an excellent method of MS, I’ve had a lot of problems with it. The technology is finicky, ATM withdrawals often fail, and I actually just had a problem where the ATM withdrew $400 from my account, but didn’t give me the cash… which is going to take months to fix.

  1. Credit Card Gift Cards

You can buy credit card gift cards from a number of stores, including gas stations and grocery stores. Some of these products have “reload cards”. This method is pretty obvious – use your credit card to buy these pre-paid gift cards, some of which allow you to take the value as an ATM withdrawal. Some stores will even give you a rebate on your purchase in terms of their own points (think Air Miles or Shoppers Optimum). This method isn’t the best, considering you’re almost always paying a purchase/reload fee, but can definitely be helpful in meeting minimum spend requirements.

At the end of the day, I think the Royal Canadian Mint is by far the easiest and most profitable MS technique in Canada. You can easily do ~ $2000 a week through this method, which translates into a free short-haul flight a month (or a round-trip European flight a year).

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  1. How long does it take to arrive these coins? And will it work if I do two separate orders one after the other with the same credit card?

    1. Usually about a week. Possibly, but definitely use two different email accounts and slightly vary your address (“110 fake st” vs “110 fake street”)

  2. Great post!

    I spoke with my TD Bank here in Vancouver – and they seemed pretty unsure on how to accept the coins. any advice on documentation or paperwork we court take along to banks in the event they refuse the deposit?

    1. There’s thr Mint FAQ – it indicates a phone number a bank can call in order to redeem the coins. Another option is to tweet TD and print off their response πŸ™‚ another option – get them to call the TD at the world exchange plaza in Ottawa. They know how to redeem them and can explain to them quickly πŸ˜‰

  3. What do you mean with RM that you can purchase $2350 of these coins – is there a limit?

    Also, any idea on which banks in downtown toronto will easily deposit coins


    1. Each coin has a max limit (ex $200 coin is 2, $20 coin is 5). So you purchase the max value of each face value coin. I find RBC and TD are the best for accepting these coins. The bigger the branch, the better

  4. This seems like a lot of hassle. Assuming it takes you 10 minutes to purchase the coins and 30 minutes to deposit the coins…nothing can be done in a bank for quicker πŸ˜‰ . This also assumes you will be passing the bank and not going out of the way. So based on the above it would take you 40 mins per week. Let us assume an hour due to issues at the bank, Royal Mint and assuming you don’t live next to a bank. So 100,000 points would take you 52 hours of your personal time. Now let us take another example, if you worked those 52 hours at a rate of $20 hour you would accumulate just over $1000, enough for a return ticket to Europe. Factor into the account that 100,000 you would have to pay taxes of say $150-200 then you come out even…however with your example you are assuming your flights will be available with points with mine you are not…

  5. I tried the AC Conversion trick and my card was blocked after my second withdrawal … that was 3 weeks ago. CIBC is still holding my funds so I’m pretty screwed with the credit card I loaded on billing in the next 2 days. I would stay far, far away from this method. The Mint and Gift Cards are a much more tangible way to MS.

  6. PSA – continue at your own particular hazard!

    Joined when I first caught wind of this card – loaded 100 USD onto it. Got charged the change expense + “activiation”…seems sufficiently innocuous. Got my card in a couple days.

    At that point I loaded $1000 CAD – it appeared on Visa as a cash advance (which implies fees + interest charges!). I rushed to the ATM today to attempt to confine the damage. The ATM had a withdrawal limit of $400…. After my first withdrawal, the ATM took my card on my second attempt. So I am screwed over with $600 in limbo and no card to utilize.

    Called CIBC and they say they’ll “investigate it” and will take no less than a couple days to recover my card. FML. It’s fortunate I didn’t top-up more than $1K..

  7. Apparently MS is not my thing. I was told by a friend about AC Conversion and when I went to do it, it worked for about 5 days and then it all went downhill from there.

    The “compliance” team from MBNA called me and asked me what all these transactions were because they looked fraudulent. I didn’t have a real valid excuse so I told them I was trying to earn points. They did NOT like that and cancelled my credit card and I have now been banned for life from MBNA.

    To make matters worse, CIBC called me to ask me why I had so many withdrawals from my card. I managed to get out all my money except $800 before the call but now they are “investigating” me for money laundering … so that’s nice.

    Managed to get about 5,000 Alaska miles … if MBNA actually credits me with the spend.

    All in all … it’s a terrible way to MS. Buyer beware.

  8. DCTA: can you confirm if you can still load CAD? I havent been able to load CAD for months. but all other currencies work

      1. arghhhhh this is soooo annoying. it pains me that you among others can still load CAD but i cannot!!!

        i was barred from loading CAD about one month in but they still let me load euro/usd which i actually do use often enough. but why no CAD!! argh!!!

        how long have u had the card?

  9. horrible experience with AC Conversion. Lack of customer service is the nail in the coffin. If you call CIBC, all they do is transfer you around. Had some issues with withdraws and locked up card and took hours to resolve. NEver again

  10. Managed to get 4 cards through family and loaded up to $12k.. and now all the cards are frozen due to fraud.

    CIBC won’t tell me anything and told me their fraud department has contacted the authorities. I don’t know what I’m going tell my wife and parents. =/

  11. AC conversion still works for me. Been loading for a few months and have accumulated over 50,000 credit card points. Great way to earn points!

    1. wtf!!! this is soooooooo unfair how have you not been blocked yet! i’ve been blocked on CAD only for months! (again usd and euro works for me). i’m sure you have gotten calls from them as well. whats your secret, how have u not been blocked.

        1. hmm i dont think so.

          what are you loading and drawing per week?

          assuming you got the card when it first came out, i would have pre-rated my earn rate at about the same as yours, maybe less?

  12. The police contacted me about money laundering on the AC Conversion card, and my account got frozen with 2k still on it :/ super worried, and I’m not sure what is going to happen.

  13. The machine ate my card, AC stating that I was money laundering money for drugs. Froze my AC card and chequing account. Beware

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