Manufactured Spending

GiftCards.com vs. GiftCardMall

Yesterday Whitney posted a question in the comment section about why I use Giftcards.com over GiftCardMall as my primary source for PIN-enabled gift cards. I’ve gotten this question quite a bit over the years and thought it was worth addressing, in case it helped others make sense of their manufactured spending strategy. For me, it comes down to a simple fact: I haven’t been able to get a GiftCardMall transaction approved in over five years.

The Backstory

Back in 2013, shopping portals were running an insane cashback deal on Visa gift card purchases through GiftCardMall. I don’t remember the exact amount, but I want to say it was between 3 – 5%. In other words, it was HUGELY profitable. Each card was capped at $1,000 (as opposed to $500) and the purchase limit was fairly high.

I placed one big order, it came through and I was generously rewarded for it. A few months later, I tried to place another order. By this time, the cashback amount had been lowered along with the purchase limit. My transactions wouldn’t go through. I figured at first it was getting processed as a cash advance transaction, and since my limit was below the purchase amount, the bank was declining it. But that turned out not to be the case.

Why GiftCardMall Keeps Declining My Gift Card Orders

Over the years, I’ve tried multiple times to place a Visa gift card order through GiftCardMall. Even the smallest transactions (i.e. $500) wouldn’t go through. On one or two occasions, I received a confirmation number, followed by a cancellation notice via email. So I gave it up and focused on buying my cards at giftcards.com.

I know lots of people who are able to purchase Visa gift cards from GiftcardMall without these issues. Unfortunately, that’s doesn’t apply to me, for whatever reason. My guess is I got blacklisted after that big purchase. If you fall into this group and are wondering which source you should buy your Visa gift cards from, consider the following:

Gift Card Fees

Giftcards.com charges a $6.45 fee per card, plus $7.45 for shipping. Meanwhile, GiftCardMall charges $5.95 per card and shipping is free on orders up to $1500. Above that, a $10.95 shipping fee applies. 

A ~$2450 gift card purchase would cost you $42.20 through Giftcards.com and $40.70 through GiftCardMall. Split your GiftCardMall purchase in half and you’ll save another $10.95 on shipping.

Cash Back 

The cash back payout on giftcards.com and GiftCardMall is often the same. Shopping portals like Yazing normally offer 1% cash back on Visa gift cards at both merchants. However, factoring in the lower fees makes GiftCardMall the better option.

It’s possible to get a higher payout on Giftcards.com purchases. Yazing offers 1.25% cash back on MasterCard gift cards purchased through Giftcards.com. Since MasterCard gift cards can be liquidated through money orders just like their Visa counterparts, there’s really no reason not to buy these instead. While an extra 0.25% cash back may not seem like much, it’s actually pretty significant. On a $2,500 purchase, you’ll earn $6.25 more cash back than on Visa gift cards.

Right now, iConsumer is offering 2% cash back at Giftcard.com: 0.8% cash back and 1.2% in stocks. Take that at face value. iConsumer could very well pull a BigCrumbs and rename the company in order to get out of paying their “partners” their fair share. But if you want to sign up anyway, consider doing so with my iConsumer referral link.

Purchase Limits

Giftcards.com limits gift card purchases to $2,500 per transaction and you can submit two per day. The monthly limit for both sites is $60,000 worth of purchases. That’s up from the previous $30,000 gift card purchase limit introduced a year ago.

If you haven’t been blacklisted like I have, GiftCardMall can be a cheaper place to buy Visa gift cards. If not, then 1.25% cash back on MasterCard gift cards isn’t bad either. Regardless of which site you go with, I recommend you churn gift cards in moderation and mix in lots of regular spending to avoid credit card shut-downs.

Which merchant are you using for gift card churning purposes?

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14 Comments

  1. Also worth mentioning gift card mall purchase comes with nice greetings card at no charge. Gift card. Com you need to pay $1.50

  2. Sexy_kitten7

    Great article! You should add “please churn responsibly” to every post! haha

    I don’t really do mail MS bc I’m too cheap to pay the fees but I did do the GCM 5back deal last December. It’s funny how the system cancels some transactions but not others. Should I do 3 at once? 3 separate? Same CC? Different? Same time? Space out? Computer? Mobile? It really makes it fun since you never know what you’re gonna get, much like in person MS. Lab studies have shown that rewarding rats unpredictably causes addiction (whereas fixed rewards do not). Just sayin’!

  3. Abdus Salam; Nick name-Shanto

    For last few months our local Walmarts are declining to accept Visa gift card for money order purchase. They are saying its a nationwide corporate decision.
    Is this true with your walmart? I am planning to meet with Walmart manager? Is there any other way to convince them?
    If you wish to answer, please use my nick name

  4. Ariana: I always appreciated your comments and tips, in this hobby, you can never learn enough from expert or pioneer like you, even though things change quickly and YMMV. Btw, I always order from GCM, 2 times per week, to get free shipping, i always order 4 $491 card and load on my serve or BB at walmart(most recently today), my Order Summary like this Subtotal: $1,964 Fees: $23.80 Shipping: Free Total: $1,987.80

  5. I normally order 9K VGC from GCM and 2k MCGC from GC.COM once a week to manufacture 44K a month, sometimes a little more or less. I use wally for VGCs and another place for MCGCs as I gave up liquidating them at Wally. Data Point since the new system was introduced at the wallys near me, none of the customer service individuals ask if the card if a GC anymore even yellow vest dont ask, the only downside if that I can only purchase 2K per site and up to 8K a day, btw my last MO purchase was on 12/19/2018 and everything was smooth at the different wallys.

    Good Luck!

  6. Your the Taliban of MS

    • Ariana Arghandewal

      And being the illiterate David Duke of the comment section is the highlight of your existence. Must be all that travel broadening your horizons.

  7. Simon,

    Just wondering why do you do $491 instead of $500 ? Don’t you wanna maximize the benefits ?

    • @Ahmed: i want free shipping, so my total including activation fee has to be under 2k with GCM, that’s why i do 491×4 (sometime i do 3×500 plus 1×470 for the order), also to @caveman: i came to serve/BB game late, i only got them maybe 8 month ago, that’s why no shut down yet, besides, I do not do big, also i like to load odd number# like 475, or 691, or 591 etc on my weekly shop trip, i only load gift cards, then pay them back through BB or serve after about 24 to 48 hours, I never xfered or linked to my bank. Just a DP for you. Thanks

  8. Ariana
    I don’t know if you have answered this as i cant find anywhere so i will ask anyway. Do you use serve and bluebird cards in you manufactured spending or just MO.
    Thanks

  9. Hi gang, so we purchase the gift cards using one of the two sources then buy the mo at Walmart ?

    This is still by far the basic, rudimentary functional way to generate ms?

  10. Has anybody been able to purchase any mc gc at 1.25% on either gc.com or gcm.com?

    In fact I cannot even locate mc on gc.com.

    Someone please advise.

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