Friend for Hire

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When I first started using “the PayPal axis,” it was for a very specific reason.

I had just signed up for the Softcard (then Isis) Serve card, and I saw that in addition to being able to load $1500 a month automatically using a credit card, I could also do the same with a debit card.

As a miles game player, this knowledge was akin to opium. If effortlessly manufacturing $1500 in spending a month (or double that if you add in a spouses card) was good, then effortlessly manufacturing $3000 ($6000) a month was really good.

And the way that I found to double this automatic manufactured spending opportunity was to use “The Paypal Axis” to convert credit card spending into debit card spending.

To take a step back here and orient ourselves, what I’m talking about within the world of manufactured spending, is going from step “A” to step “C” in the following chart:


So what does one need to access “the PayPal axis.”One really only needs two tools.

The PayPal business debit card


Paypal Mycash cards (purchasable by credit card.)

The PayPal business debit card


This is simply a debit card that draws upon the account balance in your PayPal account.

You can apply for it here.

And it has the following features:

  • No annual fee
  • 1% cashback on all purchases
  • Ability to withdraw cash from your PayPal balance at ATM’s (for a fee)

The PayPal Mycash card


This is essentially a reload card that allows you to bump up your PayPal balance (as opposed to your pseudo-checking account balance.)

These have the following features:

  • $3.95 activation fee
  • You may load $4000/month using these on to your PayPal account.
  • I have had luck purchasing these with credit cards at both Walgreens as well as Rite aid drugstores.

So the essential sequence of events in the Paypal shuffle goes something like this.

Step one: purchase $500 PayPal my cash card(s) with a credit card at a drugstore. (Fee $3.95)

Step two: load $500 balance on to your PayPal account online.

Step three: automatically load $500 onto your Serve account online ($5.00 cashback.) (Limit $1000 per month for Serve accounts, and $1500 per month for Softcard Serve accounts.)

Step four:  Rinse and repeat.

So you can see that you actually make $1.05 for every $500 in manufactured spending using this method. It’s not much, but it is better than free.

It is worth mentioning that PayPal is fairly notorious within the manufactured spending community for shutting down accounts. I have never personally been shut down, but I did get a warning email when I withdrew money directly from my PayPal account to my linked bank account after loading it with Mycash cards.

So if I wanted to use this card in order to access my PayPal account balance without loading it onto my Serve account, the easiest and safest way to do so would likely be to purchase money orders with it.  (but that’s a story for another day…)

At this point I would hate to be shut down, because this is a pretty powerful manufactured spending tool.

Such techniques that are better than free and scalable up to $4000/month are few and far between in my experience…

Questions and comments below please!

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18 Responses to “Friend for Hire”

  1. Will November 30, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    I wasn’t aware of this option. PayPal has sent me numerous offers for their credit card, but never a word about the debit card. It will be nice to have something better than free for MS. When my debit card gets here, I am off to try to find the MyCash card.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. November 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm #

      You should have good luck at Portland area right aid and Walgreens drugstores. The Walgreens will only let you buy one my cash card at a time.

      Good luck


      • Will December 1, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

        Stopped by RiteAid tonight and was able to get 2 $500 myCash cards.

        • Miles Dividend M.D. December 3, 2014 at 10:47 pm #


  2. Conrad G December 9, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    Be careful! Flyer talk has this warning about Paypal debit:

    “The use of pre-paid debit cards (Netspend, Paypower, Univision, Paypal*, etc.) and VGC/MGC/AGCs is not allowed. While initial transactions may work, your account will eventually be flagged. “

    • Miles Dividend M.D. December 10, 2014 at 2:20 pm #


      I haven’t had any problem thus far with loading 1500/month onto 2 serve accounts (from 2 paypal business debit cards), but you know what they say about past performance…


  3. Sebastian December 10, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    I was able to buy $500 at Walgreens and load it to Paypal.
    Once the money is there you can transfer it to your bank but you are saying that they are know for shutting you down if you do this regularly right?
    Then you use the Debit card from Serve to transfer money there and pay bills, etc. So by doing this they won’t shut you down? You are withdrawing money as in the bank account first case… how is it different in terms of raising flags at Paypal?

    • Miles Dividend M.D. December 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm #


      There is no logic to it, other than a load to Serve appears to PayPal as a purchase, while a bank transfer does not. Empirically, I really only have these observations:

      1. I was sent a warning email to stop withdrawing my Paypal balance to my linked bank accounts.

      2. I have had no such warnings or problems with loading 2 Serve accounts with my paypal debit cards each month.

      What the future holds? I have no idea.


  4. Justin December 12, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Why sign up for the Debit card? I can create a Paypal Business account without signing up for the card. What objective is the card playing in this?

    It seems like you would go to drug store, buy paypal reload card, go online and deposit it into paypal account, and then either transfer funds to Serve or withdraw funds to bank account. Am I missing something?

    • Miles Dividend M.D. December 12, 2014 at 11:26 pm #


      The Paypal debit card allows you to automatically load an additional $1000-1500/month onto your Serve card in addition to the automatic credit card loads.

      The other point is that you will get shut down for withdrawing money directly from your Paypal account to your bank account, (I received a warning letter for doing just this,) so buying money orders with your PP debit card allows you to avoid this fate.


      • Justin December 15, 2014 at 8:41 am #

        Ahhhh that makes much more sense. Thank you for the reply!

  5. Pete December 15, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    Don’t you earn points on the initial purchase of the Paypal Cash? That’s not factored in to the profit margin here. Are we just trying to hit initial spend requirements, and thus may (or may not) get any benefit? Most every card has a 1% or 1 mile per dollar reward minimum. Buying $500 would net you $5 or 500 miles in addition to the $1.05 you mentioned.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. December 16, 2014 at 9:57 pm #


      thanks for the comment.

      You do earn points and meet spending requirements with the purchase of Mycash cards. In these calculations I am merely trying to define the immediate out of pocket expenses, (positive or negative.)


  6. Chris December 16, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Have you tried the American Express For Target cards? I recently purchased four of these (two in my name and two in my wife’s) I think I’m going to try unloading them by purchasing money orders instead of ATM WD’s ($3 + the ATM owners fee) I haven’t tried reloading them yet. So, I’m curious to see if a CC reload will work at the store. I know it cannot be done online.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. December 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

      Chris, I have never used that product, though frequent miler has written extensively about it. I don’t think you can purchase money orders with Amex, since there’s no PIN, but let me know if I am wrong.

      Keep us posted.


  7. Andy December 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    Thanks for this informative series. Aside from the online credit card and gift card loads of my Serve account ($2k/month), I have begun to use the Paypal ‘axis’ as well, and will try to max that out at $4k/month. I’ve run into some real boneheads at Walmart, so I haven’t fully explored the Serve / money order aspects of the Money Center and may try other locations for MO’s.
    Do you mind breaking down your own monthly MS amounts per flowchart item? As an MD myself, my ‘disposable’ time to perform MS is likely similar to yours — I just don’t want to dismiss a relatively straightforward MS opportunity if the marginal level of effort/risk is not too significant. Thanks again!

  8. Aaron January 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Not sure if you’ve explored the Target RedCard Amex yet, but it uses the same backend as Serve, but allows you to load up to $5,000 per month (max of $2,500/day) from credit cards. Really great new service that I hope continues allowing CC reloads.

    • Miles Dividend M.D. January 4, 2015 at 12:55 pm #


      Thanks for the comments.

      I did cover the Redbird in this post;

      I never made the jump from soft serve because I love not having to go to big box stores to load my card. But assuming you don’t mind going to Target, it is by far the best of the bunch.


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