More thoughts on Square Cash

This is a followup to yesterday's post on Square Cash, the new e-mail based online peer-to-peer payment service by the people who brought you those little white smartphone dongles. I've been experimenting with it some more, and I want to give a rundown of some of the most lucrative options that have occurred to me so far.

Rewards-earning debit cards

This one's a no-brainer: use your rewards-earning debit card to transfer up to $10,000 a month. My first transfer, from my Bank of America Alaska Airlines debit card, has already posted to my account, and appears as a normal debit card purchase (the merchant category is 7299, "Miscellaneous Personal Services (Not Elsewhere Classified)."

This makes me VERY confident that I'll earn rewards for that transaction. 

Turn your PayPal accounts into Bluebird accounts

While it doesn't apply to everyone, if you live in a region with CVS store locations that sell Vanilla Reload Network reload cards, you're probably already loading your Bluebird account with them and paying off your credit cards, or transferring the money out to your bank account.

Those same store locations will also typically sell PayPal My Cash cards, which likewise have a $3.95 activation fee for cards with up to $500 in value. If you have a PayPal Debit MasterCard linked to your personal PayPal account (it's completely free), then you can use that card to send money from your PayPal account using Square Cash.

Better yet, if you have a Business or Premier PayPal account, your Debit MasterCard also earns 1% cash back. As in the case of the Bank of America card, I'm fairly confident you'll earn rewards on these free Square Cash transactions. Consequently, you can manufacture $4,032 in spend each month at a negative cost: you'll make $40 in cash back, which more than covers the $31.60 you'll spend for PayPal Cash cards!

This option appears to be rapidly vanishing, but if you have access to PayPal My Cash cards at 7-11 store locations coded as "gas stations," you can also earn tons of points taking advantage of that common bonus category.

Experiments with other prepaid cards

Unfortunately, Square Cash doesn't accept cards that it identifies as "prepaid" cards. However, their method of identifying prepaid cards is not entirely accurate. Most gift cards have been reported as not working, while a small minority appear to work.

My Nationwide Visa Buxx card was correctly identified as prepaid cards and wasn't accepted.  My US Bank Buxx card isn't in my name, so I didn't want to risk adding it to my account.

In the course of my research on the MasterCard rePower network, I applied for the H&R Block emerald card, which is loadable using Green Dot Moneypaks and hopefully soon with Vanilla Reloads. I was able to add my emerald card to Square Cash successfully.


I truly believe this is a game changing development, at least for as long as it lasts, and I encourage you to start experimenting, since no one knows how long that's going to be!

Developing: Square Cash

I spend a lot of time talking about the Bank of America Alaska Airlines debit card. It's not the only rewards debit card available, but it is - in my opinion - the best (low annual fee, earns miles on PIN transactions, earns super-valuable Alaska miles). I get a lot of questions about whether the card is still available to new applications, and I can't give a straight answer, since I already have the card. However, this link still takes you to a working website, so I have no reason to believe it's not available.

The occasion for this observation is that there's a new, free method of manufacturing up to $10,000 per month using debit cards: Square Cash .

The very first thing you should do if you're interested in this technique is read this entire FlyerTalk thread and this terrific Wall Street Journal article.

Now you know everything I know. Some observations:

  • People are reporting only occasional success with gift cards. If you're a gift card churner, for now you'll have to see for yourself whether the cards you have available will work with Square Cash.
  • There's one report of failure using a MyVanilla Debit card. That's a shame, since this would be a terrific way to unload $2,500 per week.
  • Any rewards-earning debit card should work and earn rewards (Suntrust Delta Skymiles World Check Card, Bankoh Hawaiian Airlines Visa Check Card, ufb direct Airlines Rewards Checking).
  • As long as you have 2 e-mail addresses and 2 different debit cards (one to send and one to receive) , you should be able to send money to yourself. Make a small test payment to make sure it goes through.

It's still early days, so don't be surprised if the details of this deal change as we go forward. But if you've been looking for a new hack that you can get in on the ground floor of and, most importantly, share your experiences with the community, here's your chance!