Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

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.
Today on Coin Update News: Latest US Mint Sales Report

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28 Comments:

At December 15, 2009 at 12:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A minor correction. The presidents that were pulled (mostly from 2007) had a shipping charge attached when you ordered them this year. They were also limited to two boxes, if I recall correctly.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 12:10 PM , Blogger Les said...

After the abuses of the system, I for one am glad they put these changes into place.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 12:15 PM , Blogger Michael said...

The 2007 Presidents were limited to two boxes, but to my knowledge there was not a shipping and handling charge attached.

The product pages are still viewable and include: "The United States Mint pays for standard shipping and handling of domestic orders."

 
At December 15, 2009 at 12:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, recording those coins as cash advances should seriously HURT the program. Cash advances on credit cards not only don't earn rewards, but they begin accruing interest IMMEDIATELY! I really can't see anyone willing to help the Mint circulate dollar coins enough to pay interest on a credit card for it! I think they should have found a way to simply make the purchase exempt from earning a reward. A cash advance status hurts the buyer.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 12:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

agreed with 12:30 PM. with the addition of a 3% cash advance fee. Also if you have a preferential rate on your card, a cash advance can mess up how payments are posted. Not a good change

 
At December 15, 2009 at 2:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ordered a couple boxes of each of the 2007 coins earlier this year, and the Mint charged me shipping. The coins that were originally offered this year had free shipping.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 2:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so again the Mint's ineptness and poor operational controls are the subject of further embarrassment. Every week it's something else. There has to be someone running the show who has brains and is semi-alert.

Will someone please get Moy the heck out of there? How many more failed policies, decisions, and overlooked security controls can we expect? Really, from Best in The World to the object of worldwide laughter. What a pity.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 5:03 PM , Anonymous Dave said...

I am by no means a Moy fan and I do agree he should go. But don’t blame him for everything. The policy changes were necessary since people were abusing the system – at our expense. These people were costing you and me money. If the government loses money, we lose money.

From what I gather, it’s just speculation that interest might start accruing right away. Hopefully the credit card companies will know how to handle the transaction without killing the program.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 5:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave,

Every credit card I have ever had always charges a percentage of the amount of the cash advance (with usually a $5 minimum, and no maximum), plus interest from the moment of the transaction (which is usually when you have the cash in hand, assuming use of an ATM). However, in this case, you would be paying interest on cash you don't even HAVE yet (since the Mint has to mail the coins to you.)

I never use my credit cards for cash advances. I did it once many years ago when I was in college since I had no cash that night and I wanted to eat, but after paying a fee of $5.07 for a $20 cash advance, I vowed never to do it again.

No, it's just bad business to make those transactions "cash advances." There's got to be another way to exclude them from earning a reward without classifying them as advances.

I really hope this doesn't end up with the credit card companies simply excluding ALL purchases from the United States Mint from earning rewards. I would hate to lose my rewards for all the gold coins I buy each year!

 
At December 15, 2009 at 8:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally don`t see anything wrong with people who earned credit card rewards by buying direct ship dollars. It shows ingenuity. No laws were broken as far as I can see. If you make a direct ship dollars purchase with a credit card, it`s your business if you then deposit it all in the bank and then collect the card rewards. I do not like the mints solution by charging people now for the direct shipments like they are cash advances. As you may know, a cash advance tends to carry a much higher APR on ones credit card.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 8:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Mint really does have the credit card companies call these purchases cash advances, they might as well end the direct ship program right now. They're slitting their own throats. Who will help them circulate the dollar coins when they're having to pay credit card fees for buying them? Crazy.

 
At December 15, 2009 at 11:10 PM , Blogger Elwood said...

I'll be the guinea pig. I was about to order another box anyway. If this does indeed appear as a cash advance, then yes, the program will be dead.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 12:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ordered a box each of the 5 presidents a couple weeks ago. Just checked my credit card online and it doesn't look like the transactions are cash advances. Also, received a box today of Jefferson dollars and the packaging has changed. No white plastic tray and box is half the previous size. Anyone else experienced this?
I have been buying direct ship since the program started and have never payed any shipping or extra charges.When you go through the ordering process it appears as if you are charged shipping but in reality you are not. Perhaps that is the source of confusion for some.
If my direct ship purchases become cash advances, I too will end direct ship.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 3:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So whats the big deal, use your bank card, no extra fee's for your coins that way. You are not getting frequent flier miles, but then again, most of us wasn't worried about that anyways.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 5:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the Mint website page on the direct ship $rolls:
"The intended purpose of the Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program is to make $1 Coins readily available to the public, at no additional cost"

If I read this correctly there should not be a cash transaction fee or a shipping fee.

I had wanted to jump in and get rolls to search. If there is a cash advance fee I'll pass!

 
At December 16, 2009 at 7:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. I checked my old orders, and no, I was not charged a shipping fee.

I too enjoy searching these for errors, which was my main motivation for purchasing them. The rewards points were the icing on the cake.

My favorite thing to do with these, was to use them when we went to garage sales. I had several people ask "What are these?" It is a real shame that the golden dollar has been out for nearly a decade, and there are people out there that don't realize that they are "real" money.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 7:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i too enjoyed participating in the direct shipment program. it was fun to use the coins for purchases and see the expression on tellers' faces wondering what i was paying with? now that the mint is calling it a 'cash advance' purchase, my credit card company will be charging me way too much money on interest. definitely not worth it! too bad the mint is shooting themselves in the foot again. all they had to do was place a limit.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 7:54 AM , Anonymous Lope said...

5:45PM said...
[i]According to the Mint website page on the direct ship $rolls:
The intended purpose of the "Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program is to make $1 Coins readily available to the public, at no additional cost"

If I read this correctly there should not be a cash transaction fee or a shipping fee.[/i]

Again, the Mint is not telling you to use a credit card to order these.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 8:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it: How many people still order from the Mint by calling in to place an order, or mailing a check or money order? I'll bet the number is mighty slim. It's so much easier to just do it online, but the only way to pay online is with a card.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 10:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Use a Bank Card. I do and they take the money out of my checking account with no extra charges.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 11:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the whole point of using a credit card is to receive the coins in advance. therefore you get money in advance and do not have to pay interest on it (assuming you pay your bills on time). with a bank card, the mint gets your money first and you will not receive your coins for up to 2 weeks. why should i give uncle sam my money in advance?

 
At December 16, 2009 at 2:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would worry about it more if I got any interest from the money.
Years ago I used to put my money in the bank and I would get more back. Now it cost to keep money in a bank.

 
At December 16, 2009 at 8:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if you bought multiple items? Picked up a annual set, a little gold and a box of dollars? Will they split out the dollars...

 
At December 16, 2009 at 9:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, if you buy ANY other items along at the same time as Direct Ship dollars, you will be charged the $4.95 s/h fee. I tried to sneak in some other items once with Direct Ship boxes but the s/h charge was added.

 
At December 17, 2009 at 4:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE the diversity on this coin!!

It's a gotta have and will proudly be placed in my collection.

I buy coins because I collect, not to make a profit from others.

 
At December 19, 2009 at 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you talking about the same coin as the post? There is a female Native American on the front, and a female Native American on the back...not very diverse...

 
At December 24, 2009 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Steve said...

I just ordered a box of these using my credit card and the charge did not come across as a cash advance. Not sure if I earned any points on the transaction though.

 
At December 24, 2009 at 12:07 PM , Blogger Elwood said...

I got my coins today. It was charged to my credit card, credited as a purchase and not a cash advance...and I got rewards! Cash back, baby!

I don't plan on abusing it though. I actually do spend the coins far and wide.

 

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