I’ve quietly blogged about PayTm before, a Canadian payment app backed by Alibaba. Essentially, the app lets you pay bills, including university tuition, using a credit card. While they normally have a fee, right now they’re running a fee-free promotion, with no published expiry date. You can use my promotion code PTM1158559 on PayTm.ca which will give each of us a $10 credit after you make your first $25 payment. On an app store, make sure you download the PayTm app that has a little maple leaf on the logo (there’s another one for the Indian market).
While this is an amazing promotion normally, allowing you to pay most bills (including property taxes, CRA, etc.) using a credit card without a fee, it’s also a great manufactured spend technique. I decided to use one of my previous universities to continually send payments through PayTm. That university would refund my account by e-transfer, which made this a phenomenal manufactured spend opportunity. I would pay my university using PayTm to a maximum of $1500 per day per account, it would hit my university account a couple days later, and I could process a refund shortly thereafter. Since PayTm accepts Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, it’s easy to earn valuable points quickly.
After quite a bit of manufactured spend, I received this email from the institution regarding my most recent refund request:
Your refund request has been declined for the following reason:
We are unable to provide you with a refund due to the recent activities on your student account. Please email us with your last two payment receipts and an explanation on you have been making payments with no course registration. You can email me directly at [REMOVED]. I am the Assistant Supervisor of the department.
I had a lot of money tied in the account. I know I’d get the money back at some point, as a third party can’t just hold your money without having an actual entitlement to it. However, there’s no reasonable way to explain my spending pattern, and I did want my money back quickly. I called the representative, explained exactly what I was doing. She seemed to understand and not care, so long as I promised to not do it again. She also said she’s monitoring a number of other accounts doing the same. So, not a big deal, but once caught, I won’t be able to do it again with this institution.
Regardless as to my experience, that’s only one of thousands of potential billers I can overpay and get a refund from. The game isn’t dead until PayTm closes the promotion. Will that be soon? I expect so. The fee-free promotion has lasted for months, and I suspect the company will at some point want to generate revenue, since they’re certainly operating at a loss right now absorbing the merchant processing fees.
While I suspect there isn’t much time left to use this meaningfully for large manufactured spend, it’s still a phenomenal and free way to quickly meet minimum spend requirements on credit cards. Usually with these types of manfuactured spend opportunities, you’re limited to Visa/Mastercard. However, since PayTm accepts American Express, I would register for as many American Express cards with minimum spend requirements and meet those quickly with PayTm. These are some cards worth considering:
These are great cards to get with worthwhile signup bonuses, but spending $13,000 in three months is normally a difficult challenge for most of us. However, with PayTm, you can meet this goal within 9 days by overpaying a biller $1,500 a day and getting an overpayment refund shortly thereafter. Just don’t overdo it with one biller, like I did with my school!
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