Can I automatically charge my account 12 times a month?
March 25, 2008 6:51 PM   Subscribe

I have a checking account through my local credit union which gives me 5% interest. The catch: I need to make 12 check card purchases a month.

Can I somehow automatically charge a few cents to my account 12 times a month? I'd really like to use a card with miles for my purchases.
posted by anomie to Work & Money (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I don't understand.. what are you trying to pay? A bill? Is the problem that your credit union doesn't offer a check card? Or they charge to use it?
posted by pete0r at 6:58 PM on March 25, 2008


Find something you can use that's billed monthly.

I would suggest signing up for an Amazon.com S3 account. It's their online storage service. Then you can backup your Documents folder to online storage space and it'll cost you only a few cents per gig per month.
posted by lockle at 7:01 PM on March 25, 2008


I'm thinking we might have the same credit union - I have an account with the exact same terms. IMO, it's worth using the check card for twelve purchases per month in order to get the higher interest rates.

Lockle has good advice in finding something that you can bill to your check card monthly. I also use my check card instead of writing checks - at the grocery store, etc. In fact, between my check card and online bill paying I haven't written a paper check in many moons.

Grocery store, Starbucks, any place you don't spend huge amounts of money at and won't eat too deeply into your rewards card are places you can use your check card.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2008


Twelve cups of coffee...? Wouldn't earn you that many miles anyway, and its a small amount to give up in exchange for 5% earnings.
posted by Asherah at 7:20 PM on March 25, 2008


pete0r: To clarify, If I don't use the check card 12 times in 1 month, I don't get the 5% interest on my checking account.

lockle: That would only give me 12 transactions a year, not per month.

I'm starting to think that Asherah may have it, unfortunately coffee at ~2 bucks a cup * 12 = 24, which starts to dent that interest, since I wouldn't normally buy it.
posted by anomie at 7:31 PM on March 25, 2008


Some vending machines accept credit cards now...buy 12 bags of chips.
posted by Diskeater at 7:42 PM on March 25, 2008


What about gas? Could you break up your fill-ups? Might be kind of annoying, but you could put in a little at a time and run them as separate transactions. Heck, you wouldn't even have to fill it up. Just plan a gas day once a month where you put in $12 worth of gas in your car $.25 at a time.

Definitely not automatic.

You could create 12 accounts like lockle mentions. If they are indeed a few cents that might work.

Could you create / upgrade a paypal account (to premiere) and automatically bill *yourself* twelve times a month? I don't think you'd avoid charges from paypal but they might not amount to much.
posted by GPF at 7:42 PM on March 25, 2008


12 songs on iTunes?
posted by dcjd at 7:46 PM on March 25, 2008


GPF has the right approach: break larger purchases into smaller purchases. This can easily be done at pay-at-the-pump gas stations. You can also ask the cashier at the drug store or supermarket to split your purchase into two or three orders. Don't be afraid to use the check card to purchase things you would normally use cash or change for: fast food, a pack of gum, a Coke or a candy bar.
posted by Andy's Gross Wart at 7:49 PM on March 25, 2008


just use it to buy the little stuff that really isn't going to get you that many miles anyway...lunch at cosi, that gallon of milk you keep forgetting to pick up, greeting card for a friend's [event].
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:52 PM on March 25, 2008


You can ask a cashier at most chain stores to put $X on this card, and the remainder on this other card. They'll probably think you're weird, and you definitely shouldn't do it if there's a line behind you, but it could be done.

Or, stop at a convenience store or gas station on your way to work 3 times a week for a cup of cheap brewed coffee or a single-serving bottle of milk or soda. Or gum! Gum is cheap. I think the gas station is actually your best friend in this situation.
posted by vytae at 8:00 PM on March 25, 2008


Along the lines of GPF's suggestion- Google Checkout appears to charge $0.20 per transaction with no monthly or annual fee, so there's another way to charge yourself.

Alternately, Amazon's MP3 downloads are cheaper than iTunes, I think, but with that type of service you may want to check that they're not going to batch your purchases.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:06 PM on March 25, 2008


Make a copy at FedEx Kinko's with your card, then print your receipt from the kiosk. Make another copy. Print another receipt from the kiosk. Make another copy. Print another receipt. It used to be that it ran a new credit entry either at the end of the day or when you print a receipt. Sounds awfully tedious, though.
posted by Skwirl at 10:41 PM on March 25, 2008


Could you buy things for other people and have them pay you back in cash/check?
posted by chara at 11:41 PM on March 25, 2008


Surely you have more than twelve individual transactions per month. Just use your check card more than you do now. Coffee? Check card. Gas? Check card. Dinner? Check card. Since you're not already using your check card twelve times a month, it might seem weird or uncomfortable, but every time you're making a smaller purchase, or a larger one you can afford with your account balance, resist using cash or a credit card and pull out the check card.
posted by punishinglemur at 11:58 PM on March 25, 2008


I'm having a hard time understanding how this could be a problem. You buy fuel for your car, right? Do you buy groceries? How about monthly bills? Do you ever eat out? Just whup your card out for each of these and you should be golden.
posted by phredgreen at 3:02 AM on March 26, 2008


phredgreen, et al:

I should have stated in my question that I don't make a ton of purchases, period. My only regular purchases are groceries every two weeks, and gas about once a month.

Another reason I don't want to use my check card for these purchases is that the online banking is awful at this institution, and I'd like to be able to track my expenses in mint.com using a credit card that gives me miles and cash back.

I'm going to try something in Google checkout. Failing that I'll do the incremental gas-up once a month. If anyone has any new answers I'd still be interested. Thanks for the help all who answered.
posted by anomie at 6:05 AM on March 26, 2008


At another CU with a similar program, I've heard of some guy who goes to the grocery store once a month & goes thru the checkout 12 times buying something dinky like a candy bar or a pack of gum. I go with the coffee/snack thing myself.
posted by epersonae at 9:49 AM on March 26, 2008


@epersonae
At another CU with a similar program, I've heard of some guy who goes to the grocery store once a month & goes thru the checkout 12 times buying something dinky like a candy bar or a pack of gum. I go with the coffee/snack thing myself.

@anomie
I should have stated in my question that I don't make a ton of purchases, period. My only regular purchases are groceries every two weeks, and gas about once a month.


Happened across this post just today- sorry if I'm late to the game.

epersonae has the idea right. You already go to the grocery store 2x and get gas 1x per month. If you have a local grocery store that doesn't mind (most big box grocery's don't) you can split up your regular purchases and ask that they be rang up as multiples. Whiel this annoys me to no end when I'm behind someone at a grocery rush hour... I suppose they all have reasons for it and I see people doing it all the time.

If you did gas 2x a month and split your groceries into 5x transactions on both visits, that's your 12x monthly that you need. This uses your existing purchases and adds a small amount of time to your schedule to get it done.

If you need to automate it, hopefully Google Checkout worked for your needs, or AmazonS3. I know a gentleman who, in a similar need and circumstance, would purchase several items individually, and return them (credited back to card) as the transactions were still considered valid, and no money left his pocket. THis does put some burden on the reatiler who's paying the transaction fees though, so I don't recommend it personally.
posted by emjay at 8:39 AM on October 2, 2008


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