Manufactured Spending

One Bank Just Made Manufactured Spending a Little Easier

I’ve had my Bank of America checking account since high school. For a long time, I was using it for money order deposits and then using those funds to pay off credit cards I used for manufactured spending. I decided to switch that to my Wells Fargo account – just to separate my ms activities from my personal finances. This way, if my bank account got shut down, at least my personal banking activities would’t be affected. So I used my Wells Fargo account to deposit money orders and pay off credit cards. Well, Bank of America has me reconsidering my strategy because they just made it a whole lot easier to pay off credit cards…at the ATM!

Use checks at the ATM to make credit card payments

I used to deposit money orders into my Wells Fargo checking account and then use the funds to make payments on my credit card. Yesterday I found myself with a bunch of cash to deposit. Knowing my dad’s Bank of America Alaska credit card payment was due, I decided to instead use the cash to make a payment at the branch. It seemed easier than depositing the funds first and cash payments are generally safer in terms of avoiding shut-downs.

So I went to the bank branch (something I don’t enjoy), stood in line, and told the teller I wanted to make a credit card payment. She informed me I could actually do this at the ATM. “I can pay this Alaska credit card with cash at the ATM machine?” She confirmed that not only could I pay my credit card bill with cash at the ATM, I could even make a payment with a check or money order. To top it all off, the payment would be applied immediately. Being able to make credit card payments at the ATM seems like a no-brainer. I always wondered why banks, with all of their technological advancements, hadn’t bothered to set up payments via ATM. After all, you can pretty much do anything else at the ATM – why not credit card payments? 

The process for paying my dad’s Alaska credit card off at the ATM was incredibly easy. The teller did insist on standing by in case I had questions, but it was all very self-explanatory. I simply inserted the credit card into the ATM and a screen popped up, giving me two options: “Make Payment” and “Other Options.” I imagine the only thing you can do under “Other Options” is check your card balance. I selected “Make Payment” and was asked to enter the amount. Next, I was instructed to submit the cash into the appropriate slot. It was the same exact process as depositing money into a bank  account. 

The Bank of America ATM allows up to 40 bills per transaction – the same limit imposed on bank deposits. Since I was using more than 40 bills to pay the Alaska credit card, I had to make two payments. It went smoothly and the whole process probably took less than 3 minutes. 

I hope more banks will begin allowing credit card payments via ATM machines. For starters, it saves time that you would otherwise have to spend standing in line. The ability to pay off credit cards at the ATM speeds up the gift card churning process significantly. You don’t have to wait several days for your money order deposit to go through before you can pay off your credit card balance. It’s worth noting that some banks will shut you down if you use money orders to pay off credit cards. I don’t do this often, but if I do find myself with money orders and a payment due date approaching, at least being able to make credit card payments at the ATM machine will save me time.

Since the Bank of America ATM also accepts checks for credit card payments, I will probably start using checks to pay some credit cards off. Wells Fargo is notoriously slow when it comes to clearing deposits and processing payments, so being able to write a check and use it to pay off a Bank of America credit card balance at the ATM will be a huge time saver for me. As I said, I don’t ms much these days but if I do pick things up, then at least I’ll save a ton of time on gift card churning with Bofa cards, even if I am making payments from a Wells Fargo checking account.

Were you aware of Bank of America’s new ATM feature? Do you plan on using it to make credit card payments?

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  1. I didnt understand something? you have to feed the atm machine with cash? But you still have to deposit the Money orders in your account and take out cash?

    • You feed the ATM machine with cash but it goes directly towards paying off your credit card balance. No need to deposit the funds into your checking account first, make a payment on your credit card, and wait for it to process.

  2. Which banks will shut you down for paying credit cards with money order?

  3. I know wells fargo lets you make mobile deposits from your phone, I wonder if they will let you pay your bills that way as well?

  4. Do any credit cards pay 5X at drug stores when buying visa debit cards?

    • Citizens Bank Cashback Platinum MasterCard offers 5% cash back at drugstores in the first 90 days. The Wells Fargo Home Rebate Cards pay out 5% at drugstores in the first 6 months.

  5. I’m sorry, but this just awful advice. Unless there is an urgent need, I would recommend people to NOT use a major CC issuing bank for depositing MOs/paying off CCs directly. You can almost always pay CCs directly via MO through other methods, but there is a reason people do not do it. Do not poop where you eat folks unless you don’t care to be shut down.

    • agreed. Any volume and at is gonna get your shutdown. silly reason to lose a major bank

    • It’s not just for MO liquidation. If you’re using a non-Bofa account for money order liquidation, being able to use a check to pay your Bofa card off at the ATM is much more convenient.

    • Hi Mike, You wrote: “You can almost always pay CCs directly via MO through other methods.” Apart from depositing MO to a checking account, then paying from there, any other methods ?

  6. Ariana, this is great news — thank you for sharing the news. I’d been making about one payment per mo. with m/o toward paying my BA/Amtrak monthly balance. Had done this for about four months, and last time, the teller seemed was trying to get me to deposit the m/o first into my (dormant) BA checking account…. But wow, if I can simply make payments (with cash and/or m/o) via the atm machine, so much the better.

  7. I cannot say I knew this either, will try it next time I am at the bank! thanks!

  8. What do you put in the “from” field on the MO when you deposit it?

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