US Mint Direct Ship Program
The United States Mint has made changes to their Direct Ship Program following several high profile stories about individuals using the program to earn frequent flier miles and other rewards on their credit cards.
Because the US Mint sold the coins at face value with no charge for shipping and handling, some individuals had ordered tens of thousands of dollars worth of coins to rack up rewards. Upon receipt, the coins were immediately deposited at the bank, resulting in zero net cost.
As of yesterday, Presidential Dollars previously available under the program have been removed and added to the "Sold Out" section of the US Mint's website. The option for 2009 Native American Dollars, which was previously "Sold Out" has become available once again. A 20-box household limit has been placed on the Direct Ship Native American Dollars.
The US Mint has added language to the Direct Ship product page which explains the intended purpose of the program and specifically 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."
A message in bold red has been added to the main and individual pages: "By clicking Add to Cart I agree that I understand, and will comply with, the intended purpose of the Program."
As a final method of preventing abuses of the program, the US Mint has also changed the way that purchases through the program are recognized by credit card processors. According to this article from the LA Times, the purchases are now recorded as cash advances, which typically do not earn rewards.
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Labels: US Mint