Free Money From the U.S. Mint

Posted by Madison on August 15, 2008

Well not exactly, but it’s pretty close! It does require a little bit of work though! (And the free money is actually from your credit card… but the U.S. Mint makes it possible!)

Earn Credit Card Rewards by Buying Cash

I’m guessing that most of you by now have a cash rewards credit card.

If only there was a way to buy money, get your cash reward, then deposit the money at the bank and repeat. If you aren’t charged any fees and the transaction qualifies for rewards it’s free money!

In the olden days you used to be able to use savings bonds to do the trick, but that loophole is long gone. We’re in luck! There is a new way, courtesy of the U.S. Mint.

Here’s how it works:

Why would the U.S. Mint offer this?

To encourage robust national circulation of $1 Coins (non-numismatic, circulation-grade coins), the United States Mint has introduced the Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program. This program makes it easy for retailers, financial institutions, and other interested parties to obtain smaller quantities of $1 coins than can otherwise be obtained from the Federal Reserve.

Terms and Conditions from the U.S. Mint:

  • The $1 coins, wrapped in rolls of 25, are available in quantities of $250 (1 box) or $500 (2 boxes).
  • The United States Mint pays for standard shipping and handling of domestic orders. Any special handling will be paid by the customer.
  • Orders are limited to two boxes ($500) per President.
  • Specific coins are available only while supplies last.
  • Please allow approximately 1-2 weeks for shipping.
  • All sales are final.

Update: The U.S. Mint has added a new term and condition that states: “The immediate bank deposit of $1 coins ordered through this program does not result in their introduction into circulation and, therefore, does not comply with the intended purpose of the program.”

Buy your coins: Circulating $1 Dollar Coin Direct Ship Rolls

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Comments to Free Money From the U.S. Mint

  1. I like this blog, but I must step in here and object to this post.

    My credit card rewards program gives me one point for every dollar. After spending $2,500 I can receive a $25 reward…which I believe is typical.

    That means I would have to go to the bank and deposit 2,500 one dollar coins for this plan to be worth my while.

    I doubt the bank will be happy about this, because it defeats the purpose of selling coins this way to put them in circulation.

    Also, you run into the danger of being zapped for interest because you are putting the order on a credit card after all.

    You might argue…”What if I’m only a few hundred points away from cashing in on that big $25 reward?”…well the best idea would be to continue using your credit card as you normally would…you’ll make it.


    • Chump,

      The key here is, you must pay off the entire balance of the credit card each month. If you pay off the balance of the credit card you never pay them a dime. I haven’t paid a dime of interest since I opened 4 lines of credit over the past 12 years.

      I love playing the 18-36 months no interest and then setting up my own monthly payments to pay off the month before but that is a different topic entirely.

      Chump, the key to remember is paying it off and then you come out ahead.



  2. You could take the offer in a smaller dose.

    I purchased one box of 250 and have been spending the coins on coffee, lunch, etc. I earn a few extra dollars from the rewards card and also incidentally fulfill the Mint’s purpose.

    Presidential Dollars

  3. Right, actually spending the coins works just fine…but if you’re buying the coins to deposit them (as the post suggests), it’s not worth your (or the Mint’s) while.


  4. @ ChumpChange: Great objection. While this is free money, it is one of those that takes some work and arguably, more work than it might be worth.

    We have a 2% card, so it would only net us $50 in the example, but I would argue that a free $50 isn’t bad.

    I agree that the bank wouldn’t be thrilled. So a better use of the money would be using it like you would a normal ATM withdrawal and spending it, as P.D. suggests.

    @ P.D: Great idea to use it on your normal spending. Do you recall how long it took to get your box of coins?

    This would also be a great source of money to give to kids for an allowance.


  5. My credit card rewards only amount to 1% on these types of purchases and finding $500 worth of things to buy might be overkill for my wife and I.

    It might be something to look into though since I have always had Scrooge McDuck fantasies and large 500 coins might be enough to give myself a good shampooing. The $50 free bucks would be like icing on the cake.

    Steward @ My Family’s Money

  6. Madison – do the math. 2% of the $500 limit is $10. As others state, if you spend this, no big deal, but it’s not really worth the trip to the bank.


  7. @ JoeTaxpayer: Good catch! I was referring to the $2500 example that ChumpChange was describing. ($2500 x 2% = $50)

    Although, you did bring up a really good point which I didn’t call attention to in the article…

    the $500 limit is per President. It looks like there are six currently available right now, so you could buy $2500 worth or more.

    I think they also add Presidents over time, when they first rolled it out, I think there were only a few available. I expect that they might add more in the future.

    If you got creative and did the max under each name in your household, the return might start to pay off…. of course you still have the problem of finding a way to deposit the money.


    • Limits change :). As of today, 2/18/2011, the Mint’s Web site states:

      “There is a 4-box $1 coin limit for every 10-day period on any and all $1 coin orders. Beyond that your credit card will not be authorized.”


  8. I like this idea as it’s a creative way to make some money and would require very little time. Yes, it does require using a credit card, but it should only be used for those that don’t carry a balance. If you have a CC balance, it defeats the purpose as you have fees.

    I do recall reading about a man who paid for a new truck with coins. By law, you could walk into any store and use the coins to purchase your items. Since it’s legal currency, they have to accept it. They might look at you funny, but it’s still real money.

    Scott @ The Passive Dad

  9. Scott,

    Contrary to urban legend, retailers do not need to accept these coins. The phrase “legal tender for all debts public and private” only refers to debt, not to payment for goods or services.

    If you attempt to pay off a creditor with legal tender, they must accept it. A retailer, however, absolutely has the right to limit the forms of payment they accept, as they often do.


  10. Can’t you open a 0 % intro APR cash back credit card for 12-15 months,then charge as much as possible on coins and earn rewards points and interest.

    The only reason why I am not doing this is because I am afraid the coins will “get lost” on their way from the US Mint to my house. In other words your risk/reward ratio is not as rosy as everyone else claims it to be 🙂

    Online Dividends

    • “All packages are insured for their full value.” (from the US Mint Web site)


  11. @ Online Dividends: I like the way you think! Combining the rewards and a credit card arbitrage scheme all into one.


  12. Qestion for Madison: I am canadian and checked the Canadian mint website, however I can’t seem to find coins that have a dollar for dollar value.
    Most coins listed there for sale are in the 1 dollar coin for 30 dollars range if not more.
    I can’t seem to understand how the US presidential coins are working?

    Agent Scully

    • Read the paragraph near the top of this page, right under “Why would the U.S. Mint offer this?”.

      It would seem the Canadian Mint doesn’t offer a similar program and only sells collector sets.


  13. I’d like to draw your attention to another note on the Mint’s web site:

    “The purchase of $1 coins under the Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program is a cash equivalent or cash-like transaction. Ordinarily, such purchases are not elegible for credit card rewards, cash-back, cash rebate, and similar programs. Check with your card issuer for its terms and conditions.”

    Just in case, I’m glad I didn’t charge this to my 0% APR credit card… that’s 0% on purchases – 19.24% Cash APR :).

    We’ll see what happens. Either way, don’t do this just for the money. If you have any interest in coins this can be fun though. I used to get dollar coins from the bank back when I worked a job where I had to reimburse a lot of people for small amounts of money. You certainly get people’s attention if you pay them in dollar coins – same in retail situations.


  14. Just FYI, my PayPal debit card paid my cash back reward just fine.



    “The United States Mint will implement an order fulfillment charge of $12.50 for each box of $1 Coins purchased through the $1 Coin Direct Ship Program effective November 15. This new charge is a result of our continual effort to review programs to ensure that they meet our commitment to prudent fiscal management on behalf of the American public.”


  16. So a box of 250 coins costs $275… 1% rewards on 275$ will be $27.5… profit of $2.50… is it worth it?/ or am i miscalculating something here


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