Author: Trav

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    • @bluecat- Thanks for the input. Having never used venmo personally, I’m wondering if you could expand a little. What do you not like about it (or maybe easier, do you like anything at all about it)? Have you used Amazon Payments and how does it compare? I’d love to get some firsthand knowledge of Venmo and the differences between that and Amazon Payments.

  • Forgive me if I’m being dense or if I missed it in your explanation, but how does the person to whom you sent the money get it out to give back to you?

    Also, when you say a maximum of $1,000 per month is that a calendar month or every 30 days?

    • @AJM- Two great questions. The person you send the money will have their Amazon Payment account linked to a bank account. They can then transfer the money from their Amazon Payment account to their bank account, which usually takes 5-7 days. Once the money is in their bank account, they could pay you back either through check or cash.

      To be honest, I’m unsure about whether the $1,000 is per calendar month or every 30 days. To be safe, I’d urge that you wait 30 days between each transfer. If anyone else knows the answer, I’d be happy if they chimed in.

  • HI There,
    I am curious, can you use this method to pay someone, such as a babysitter or housecleaner? What process would they have to go through (How much of a hassle would it be for them?).
    Thanks. Love the blog.

    • Yes, you certainly can use Amazon Payments to make recurring payments to someone for a service. It is not much of a hassle. All the other person would need to do is set up an Amazon payment account just like how I showed on the video and make sure to add their bank account.

      After that, you would send them the money from your Amazon Payments account to their Amazon Payments account. Then, they can withdraw the money from the Amazon account either to her bank account (which takes 5-7 days sometimes) or to an Amazon gift card, which is instant. Both of these options are free.

      Great question, thanks for enjoying the blog!

  • Doesn’t Amazon Payments charge the recipient for credit card fees? I tried to set up an Amazon Payment way back when and they didn’t deducted like 3% …

    • @Shannon- I’ve never once been charged a fee, either for sending or being the recipient. As far as I can tell, personal accounts do not get charged the 3% fee unless they go over the $1,000 a month limit. Business accounts do seem to be charged with a fee, however.

      Some people have reported being able to send $1,000 in one lump payment but I’m only able to send $500. I can, however, send up to $1,000 a month, I just need to make it in 2 payments instead of 1.

  • Does this method count as a purchase on the credit card and thus directly earn you points as well, or does it only count towards a minimum spend total but not count as a regular purchase? I imagine it’s the latter, otherwise it would be a non-stop points bonanza!

    • @Chris- Actually, it is the former! Amazon payments will count as a purchase on your credit card, and therefore you will directly earn points as well. Many people use it as a way to get some extra points even when not meeting a minimum spend. The only reason it isn’t a full-on bonanza is that you are only able to transfer $1,000/month without incurring a fee. As I write in the post, tread lightly and don’t get greedy. Use it to make payments to people that are sensible, but don’t abuse the system and you’ll be able to earn a small amount of points, month after month. In the long run, it adds up nicely!

  • Thanks for the tip! Is possible for two people to transfer the same $1000 between their Amazon Payment accounts every 30 days, racking up 1000 points a month?

    • @Anonymous- I would not suggest transferring the same $1000 back and forth between accounts. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend transferring any amount between two accounts like that. For example, I wouldn’t transfer from Account A to Account B and transfer back from Account B to Account A. I would only transfer one-way. If you opened up 3 accounts, you could possibly go Account A to Account B, Account B to Account C, and then Account C to Account A, but I wouldn’t just go both ways with two accounts. Way too easy to track and Amazon is likely to shut you down.

  • Can you make mortgage payments using your CC thru Amazon Payments and still not be charged the 3% fee ? Currently my mortgage payments get debited out of my bank account every month.

    • @Shah- I’m interested in how you would go about doing this? I have only ever sent money through Amazon Payments to another personal account, not a business account. I know that for personal accounts, the limit is $1,000 a month to send and receive. If you’re mortgage was under $1,000 a month, what you could do is set up an account for yourself, tied to the credit card you want to spend on. Then, set up an account for your significant other, and send the $1,000 from your account to hers. Then, you could have the mortgage be directly taken out of her bank account every month.

      This way, you are indirectly paying your mortgage with a credit card and not getting hit with any fees.

  • Trav,
    I am sure doing this every month would be a big red flag for Amazon… even if I put in the optional comments “This is for the mortgage…” or some like that. :)

  • another way to get your money back : you can use paypal. ask your friend (or whoever received your amazon payment) to send a personal payment to you using paypal. it’s free.

    • @lcrot- Great to know! This is a great way for people who live far away from each other since they can’t exchange cash and it is easier than sending a check. Thanks.

    • every time i’ve received money into my paypal account, they deduct their fees from the money. amazon doesn’t deduct any fees from either party for the personal account.

  • Is this $1000/month limit per person you send to, or is it a personal account limit to your Amazon Payments account of $1000 max? I ask that because I send my rent to my landlady for almost the full $1K, does this mean I can’t use AP to send someone else $1K in a payment in a separate transaction?

    • @John- It’s $1,000 a month per PERSONAL ACCOUNT. That means that you’ll only be able to send $1,000 from your account each month, regardless of whether you send $1,000 all to one person or $500 to one person, $500 to another.

  • is there any way to get “caught” doing this? is it considered fraud? can you be prosecuted or anything for doing this trick? girlfriend is insisting i ask.

    • @benjamincahn- If you get too greedy, you can get caught. This happens if you do a few things that I don’t recommend:

      1. Send money from account A to account B and then money back from account B to account A. Amazon will catch on pretty quickly and close your account.
      2. Sending more than $1,000 a month. You won’t get your account shut down, but you will pay a fee for sending more than you are allowed.

      it is not considered fraud because you are sending money to someone, which is just what their system is set up for, and since they allow you to use credit cards, everything is completely legal. The only thing that may happen if you push the envelope is that you get your Amazon account shut down. They are a private company, and therefore can choose who to give accounts to and who to take them away from. Other than that, there isn’t any penalties.

  • I just tried using amazon payments to meet the minimum spending on my card and I thought I sent it as goods but must have accidentally sent it as a cash advance because my credit card company put it as a cash advance and charged me a fee. Do you know if this will still count towards the minimum spending requirement or will it not because it was a cash advance?

    • @Amanda- What credit card company did you use? I’ve heard that Citi MAY count it as a cash advance even if you select goods and services. I haven’t heard of any other credit card companies giving problems though.

      If you did select cash advance by accident, I’m pretty sure it won’t count towards the minimum spend. What I would do though is to call the credit card company up and just ask the customer service rep. You wouldn’t want to stress out about if, in fact, they do count a cash advance towards the minimum spend. It’s unlikely, but you won’t know unless you call them up and ask.

      Good luck!

    • @Irene L- Yep, sure can. Just tie whatever card you want to use to your Amazon Payment account and use that. I use a different one almost every month.

  • Any idea whether this might end up getting taxed? Especially since it’s being listed as goods/services, could it end up being considered taxable income?

    • @Elie- This is a great question, and one that has been discussed at length on different forums to varying degrees of success. As far as I can ascertain, it seems like the consensus from Amazon is that they will not issue a 1099 to the receiver unless they have completed $20,000 worth of transactions AND 200 transactions.

      That means that if you are using Amazon Payments to send 1 payment each month of $1,000 to the same person each time, that person should not receive a 1099 because they only received $12,000 total for the year and there was only 12 transactions. Again, this is the best that I could come up with.

      Here is the exact wording from Amazon:

      Beginning with the 2011 tax year, new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations require that U.S. third-party settlement organizations and payment processors, including Amazon Payments, file Form 1099-K to report unadjusted annual gross sales or payment volume information for customers that meet both of the following thresholds in a calendar year:

      More than $20,000 in gross payment volume, and
      More than 200 transactions.

  • Currently, my spouse and I only have one credit card (joint applicants) that earns miles. Can we use the same credit card to send $1,000 from each of our account–$1000 from me to him, and $1,000 from him to a 3rd party?

    • @Irene L- The $1,000 limit is per Amazon Payments account, not per credit card. Therefore, you should be able to use the same card to send $1,000 from your account and then also $1,000 from him to someone else without having any trouble from Amazon.

      The only thing to be a little wary of is from your credit card company. If you are making other purchases on those cards, then it shouldn’t be an issue, but if they see a $1,000 Amazon payment each month from both people and nothing else, they may begin to ask questions. So just make sure you are also using that card for other things so it doesn’t stick out.

  • How does the transaction appear on your account? Just “amazon payments…” or does it have the name of the person whose account it is going to?

    If I send money to my spouse’s amazon account but she is also a co card holder of the credit card being used, that might look suspicious.

    • @Jon- Every time I’ve done it, it has simply shown up as “Amazon Payments”. It has never shown the name of the person it is going to, so you should be fine.

  • I’ve been transferring $1k between my two accounts for a year. Different emails but same address, bank account, etc. Once I transfer to my 2nd account I withdraw to my bank account and then online pay the credit card. 2 $500 transfers take about 15 minutes to complete and deposit.

    • @TomDC- Wow,same address and bank account? That’s pretty nice, although maybe risky. I guess if you’ve been doing it for a year with no problem, then maybe it will work for others! I’m still going to transfer the money to my sister instead of a second account for myself, but its nice to know that someone else is able to do it even easier.

  • Just an idea.
    What if I use my card but send funds from my trusted friends amazon acct to my account?
    Saving the need for them to be involved with writing checks and waiting on funds to clear, etc? Would this be obvious to AP?

    • @Buddy- I’m actually not sure about this. I’m assuming that the problem might arise with trying to tie YOUR credit card to his Amazon account because they would have different names on it. But try it to see.

      If that problem does arise, one way to get around it might be to make him an authorized user on the account and then he’d have his own card.

  • I bet you thought you covered all the hypotheticals already! ;) I’ve got one more. Can I transfer $1,000 to my hub’s amazon account with 1 credit card and he transfer 1,000 bucks (not the cash I just sent him) to me from a different cc, or is that virtually just transferring money from A to B and back? Thanks so much for the awesome post!!!!

    • @Toni- I believe that Amazon will see this as basically sending from A to B. They won’t know that the $1,000 he is sending back to you isn’t the same you sent him, even if it is from a different credit card. They will see it as A–>B then B–>A. It’s not guaranteed that they will shut you down for it, but it does seem risky and could set off some red flags. I’d be careful…might want to get a C involved in the equation and go A to B, B to C, C to A.

      • Even sending money from A -> B -> C -> A seems risky to me. Amazon is not stupid, and they have all the information in their records to see that $1000 was sent from A to B, then $1000 was sent from B to C, then $1000 was sent from C to A. Does having the information available mean they’re going to catch you? Not necessarily, but it is risky nonetheless.

        But if you send $1000 from Amazon account A to account B, have B withdraw the money, and deposit the cash into your bank account, Amazon does not have the necessary information available to realize that the money is just traveling in a circle.

        • @Dex- I agree that it is a little risky. Personally, I don’t do it, and I’ve warned people that it can be a bit risky. I stick with the simple A->B, then have B withdraw.

          However, if you do want to route it through multiple people, A to B, B to C, C to A is much better than simply, A to B, B back to A.

  • You’re very helpful Trav. Another question, lol:

    I plan on doing this every month as it seems like a great way to earn free 12,000 points a year. But of course I am still concern. I plan to play it safe like you: I plan to send, lets say $950 every month to my sister. She is nice (just like yours) enough to write me a personal check every month because I told her I am too paranoid to have any of her funds electronically funded to me. She agrees. So I am only willing to do A -> B, and thats it. Can I really do this EVERY month for a year (or longer)? Until Amazon finally decides to put a fee? Is this at all sketchy? Red Flags?

    What do you do? Do you recommend just maybe a couple times a year? Maybe $500 a month every month? Have you heard of stories where people got shut down from ONLY doing the “Safe” A -> B method? Thanks Trav…

    • Having your sister pay you by check leaves an electronic trail just like an ACH transfer. If you really want to be careful your best bet IMO is to have her withdraw the funds as cash and hand you the cash to deposit. Obviously you have to weigh the benefits vs the hassle of jumping through hoops. Personally I think the chance of getting caught is low enough and the benefit is worth it. Think about it though. You’ve got three independent companies (credit card co, amazon, bank) with compatmentalized information that, when viewed together, shows what you are up to. But these are private institutions with their own motives and they are not going to share info with each other.

      • @dex- Completely agree. The cash would leave no trail. However, as you said, the chances are so low that I’m not worried about an electronic trail between three companies.

  • Hi. I created my AP account without any issue (having all facility of send/receive money). But when I tried to create my wife’s AP account using her SSN, it created the account but put restriction on send/receive the money. My wife just arrived in USA 4 months back and we got her SSN 1 month back only. She does not have any bank account and Credit Card and any credit history as of now. So due to this, AP could not verify my wife’s details? But I gave correct SSN and Address while creating account. So, does credit history/bank account/credit card is also necessary to get verified? (However AP does not ask any bank/CC details while opening the account, then why still credit history needed?). I emailed AP and they reply me “we are not able to identify and no more communication will be entertained”. Is there any way to get my Wife’s AP account set up with no restriction (with correct SSN and Address)? Am I missing something? Please suggest. Thanks in advance

    • @yogesh- Unfortunately, the situation seems pretty dire. Since AP is a private company, they can choose who to approve and who not to approve. I wouldn’t give up, but I wouldn’t be overly optimistic. I’d try calling them up if possible to explain the situation. Ideally, they want to protect themselves against fraud, but if they are willing to listen to your situation, maybe you can change their mind.

      Good luck…sometimes, persistence pays off.

  • I’m currently sending my wife $1,000 each month since we have separate bank accounts. I know it would be too risky for my wife to also send me money. But I also have a 2nd bank account that has not yet been set up with Amazon. Do you think it would be too risky for me to still send my wife $1,000, and then for my wife to send me $1,000 into the 2nd bank account and by using different e-mails?

    • @Scott- Hmmm…it certainly is a little risky, and I’m not sure Amazon Payments will let you set up two separate accounts with the same name. I guess you could try using a separate email account, but again, it may be a bit risky. I personally wouldn’t do it, just because I wouldn’t want to ruin the easy $1,000 a month thing I got going.

      I’d suggest roping a 3rd person in and going A–>B B—>C, C—>A that way it can’t be traced.

  • I may have missed it but does everyone have separate bank/checking accounts when doing this. Would it be suspect if you and your wife had a joint account? Both AP accounts would then have the same checking acct linked to it.

    • @Chris- I believe having the same bank account linked could raise some red flags. I have done it this way though: Have my Amazon Payments account not linked to any bank account. Then sent money to my sister, who has a bank account tied to her AZ account that is a joint account between her and I. I’ve never had a problem doing that.

      So basically, as long as you don’t have the joint account tied to both AZ accounts, you should be fine. Just don’t tie it to one of them.

    • @Teresa- Extra points? You’ll get the 1,000 points for the $1,000 sent, for sure (the standard 1 point for $1). But I don’t know of any cards that give bonus points for sending Amazon Payments (such as the Chase Ink Bold, which gives 5x for office supply stores, 2x on gas, etc.).

          • Since the post is old, i would just like to inform anyone that is confused by amazon’s purposely misleading fee structure which consistently lists 2.9% fee (though that is for businesses that are selling products thru amazon but it certainly confused me). The fee structure has definitely not changed as of 1/30/14, i can attest that i was just able to send 999$ without incurring any fees to a family member. I used my barclays arrival card and was able to get 2x pts or 1998 or roughly 20$ worth of payback for travel expenses. Everything is still as the post states :)

          • @Keith- Thanks for the reference point. Yes, it is confusing how Amazon states the rules, but the fee is ONLY for businesses. Individuals can still send $1000 a month fee free.

  • Hey Trav, thanks for continuing to come back here and answer our questions. I’m all set up with my account and my wife’s account. Just sent a payment to her an hour ago so I will see how it goes. Like you, I want to play it safe with only an A>B arrangement. Question: I’ve read plenty of concerns people are having about Amazon tracking IP addresses. As you may know, all computers in one home will have the same IP address. Do you log into your account and your wife’s account with the same computer or in the same house? I’m hoping its just a case of paranoia. Do you take any special precautions to perform the transaction?

    By the way, did I just read that you don’t a have bank linked to your AP account? If not, that is why you can only send $500 per transaction. Have to have a linked account to send $1000. You may already know all about that; just wanting to be helpful.

    • @Bart- I use the same IP address for my account and for my sister’s account and have never had a problem. I send it from my account, and then take it out of my sister’s account on the same computer.

      I have added a bank account since I wrote this, and you’re right, you need to have a linked bank account to send and receive $1000.

  • Has anyone tried:
    Sending $1000 to your spouse, and your spouse swnding $1000 also from their CC to you? Would that get you banned?

    • @scott- Some people have done it, but I don’t recommend going from A–>B–>A. It could easily get you banned. I’d definitely tell you to try to throw another person in the mix and go A–B, B–C, C–A.

  • Still new to all of this and have been reading for days…I’m not clear on the business side of this. If I have a business with business expenses to companies, does that still work, or is it just payments to individuals?

    • @Lisa- You should be able to send payments to businesses as well, but I believe AZ Payments will charge a fee once you go over $1,000 per month.

  • My friend sent me $1000 Amazon payment in April, is it safe for me to send back to him $1000 this month (May)?

    • @Aaron- I’d be careful sending A–>B and then B—>A. It should be ok, but you might want to add a third person in!

  • Question:

    What if I put my wife on the card as an authorized user? Now I use the card to send her $1000 and it goes to her bank account. Then she uses the same card, but with her name on it, to send me $1000.

    Both of our Amazon payment accounts only sent $1000 each…but the card has now used $2000 worth of it’s required spend amount.

    This seems too good to be true!

    • @Samo- You definitely could do that, and I don’t think Amazon would have a problem with it or ever find out. The only thing I’d be wary of is Chase seeing you spending so much money on Amazon in one month, but if you put other purchases on as well, it shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Trav: My wife has an Amazon account. It has my credit card (my name on it) linked to it. Can she use my cc to send money to my Amazon payments account? Or does she need to use a card that is in her name? (Sorry if dumb question). Thx for informative post and answers!

    • @TryingToUnderstand- Amazon probably won’t let her send money with a card that has your name on it. If it does, I’d be very careful. I think it’s much safer to send it from a card that has her name on it, not yours.

  • Is it possible to keep sending each month 1000$ to my friend, and every month, he gives it back to me by writing me a check to my bank account ? Would Amazon Payment find it weird or is it ok to keep doing it over and over for years ?

    • @Julien- It’s totally fine to send it to the same person, month after month. I have sent it to my sister for about 2 years now, every month. No problem!

    • @Jose A- The problem is that Paypal charges a fee for you to transfer money via credit card. Amazon Payments didn’t used to, which was why it was gold!