Please tell me the U.S. Mint isn’t this stupid

Need a cash advance? Don’t want to pay cash advance fees? Go to the U.S. Mint Web site and use your credit card to buy some money and have it shipped to your house free.

You can order thousands of dollars of $1 coins on your credit card at face value, and the mint will ship them to you overnight free of charge. They are treated as a purchase, not a cash advance, so not only do you not pay finance charges, but you earn airline miles or cashback rewards just like a regular purchase. You can then immediately take the coins to the bank and deposit them to start earning interest, and you don’t have to pay for them until the due date on your next credit card bill.

$1000 of coins weighs about 20 pounds. Imagine the idiocy of a country that pays UPS insured overnight shipping on multiple 20 pound boxes, plus pays credit card merchant fees, just to take a loss to get people to use its currency. Sounds like something Zimbabwe would do, huh?

At first, the shipping seems to be $4.95. However, once I added the coins to my shopping cart and entered my shipping information the shipping became free. Assuming half an ounce for each coin that’s roughly 30 pounds for 1,000. At their cheapest rate UPS would charge $17 to ship that package from Philadelphia to Tennessee. (I used Philadelphia because it’s the closest mint.)

The Mint would have to pay about $20 in credit card merchant fees to take a credit card order for $1,000. The shipping is about $17. So the Mint is losing about $37 on every order. Holy cow that’s dumb.

4 Responses to Please tell me the U.S. Mint isn’t this stupid

  1. Steve K. says:

    My guess is that this is an experiment to see if they can pump more dollar coins into circulation. Since Congress refuses to give Treasury the authority to eliminate the dollar bill, they don’t have a whole lot of options available to get the coins out, but ultimately widespread use of coins rather than bills would save the federal government a considerable amount of money.

  2. smijer says:

    Anyone know what costs are associated with traditional methods of introducing specie into circulation? I don’t imagine costs as high as UPS shipping to individuals, but there may be costs I’m not imagining…
    [rq=133905,0,blog][/rq]Green Cities

  3. countertop says:

    Gonna do it today!

  4. Alcibiades says:

    Drop the penny and introduce a Lincoln $1 coin.

    We could also drop the $1 paper George Washington and put him on the $20 bill. They can just forget about Jackson anyway. He was against central banking.