Credit History with Converted Accounts, Max Number of Amex AUs, Money Orders at Walmart & More

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amex authorized user minimum age

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Your Questions Answered

A few days ago I opened up a discussion for readers to ask questions that they haven’t been able to find answers to. Yesterday I answered one reader’s question about acronyms and coded language and today I am going to answer a few more. If you want to ask a question yourself, head over to this post and leave a comment!

Question 1

Our first question comes from Hunter:

One question has bothered me a lot. When I upgrade a card or downgrade a card, how will this affect my age of credit history??

amex authorized user minimum age

When you upgrade or downgrade a card, you are simply converting the account. This is good because normally it will keep the same account number and the same history on your credit report. I have done this with several banks and have always had my account history transfer over. In fact, when the account number stays the same, there is no change on your credit report since they don’t report the actual product you have.

Keep in mind the one major pitfall of upgrading or downgrading an account is that you may not be eligible for a bonus as a new customer on the new type of card. For some people, cancelling and taking the hit on the age of accounts is worth it so they can get a bonus on the other card. It is all about weighing your options and determining what is important to you.

Question 2

The next question comes from Walt:

What’s the maximum number of authorized users you can add to American Express Credit Cards?

amex authorized user minimum age

This is actually a good question given the number of Amex offers out there. The answer is that I haven’t found a published limit as to the number, but people have reported getting a financial review in the past from having too many authorized users. Let take a look at how much Amex charges for additional cards on some of their accounts:

  • Amex Premier Rewards Gold: There is no annual fee for up to 5 Additional Cards. The annual fee for 6 or more Additional Cards is $35 for each Card.
  • Amex Green: Annual fee for the Additional Cards will be $30 for up to 5 Additional Cards. If you add an Additional Card to your account following your Basic Card application, you will be charged an annual fee of $30 for up to 5 Additional Cards. The annual fee for 6 or more Additional Cards is $30 for each Card.
  • Business Gold: $50 for the first Employee Card and no fee for other Employee Cards

So it seems that Amex often groups the first 5 additional cards together and charges more for 6 and up. Of course with the Amex Personal Platinum, they charge $175 for up to 3 cards and then more for each additional card. Personally, I feel five authorized user cards is probably pushing it, but Amex doesn’t have a hard limit that I have run into.

Question 3

Walt then asked in regards to Amex:

Is there an age limit for authorized users. I’m thinking of adding my 7 and 16 year old? Yep for the Smart & Final offers.

amex authorized user minimum age

Yes there is an age limit. In the old days, American Express never seemed to enforce this, but nowadays they do, sort of. When you try to add an authorized user to your account, you will need to go online and enter their social security number and date of birth. Here is the official policy:

“Members must be 15 years of age or older and must never have had a defaulted account with American Express.”

Related: The American Express Blacklist Explained & Strategies For Removal

If the person you are adding isn’t 15 years old, then you will get the error as shown in the screenshot above. There are two possible ways around this:

  • Call American Express and try to get them to add the authorized user over the phone. Some people have claimed the agent didn’t ask for the date of birth, but I have heard reports otherwise.
  • Fat finger the date of birth online. Lets say your kid is 13 and you accidentally choose the year of birth as 2000 instead of 2002. A few people have told me this works. Let me be clear that I don’t recommend this since it is against their terms and rules, but I have heard of people having success doing this.

Question 4

Finally Christian asked this:

I’ve been doing the Redbird and Bluebird method of MS, and have often thought about MO’s at Walmart. The problem is that Kate never seems to work with that option, and the last time I selected MO’s on the screen, the machine alerted someone to come look at what I was doing, even though that part wasn’t working (as usual). Do I just go up to the money center and use GC’s? If so, do I split payment? I’m really not looking to go heavy duty, but 2-3k per month would be great. TIA.

walmart kiosk

Note: Buying money orders is not something I generally recommend for beginners or anyone. I am answering the question as asked, however I am not recommending that people do this.

Finding a Money Center kiosk that actually works can be tough, but finding one that sells money orders is like finding the mythical lost city of Atlantis. I have actually never seen a kiosk that allows money orders and believe this functionality was disabled almost universally due to fraud.

The good news is that you can purchase money orders at the actual Money Center. Locally the limit is $1,000 per money order, although I have heard some stores go higher. If you are using $500 cards then just tell the cashier you want to purchase a $1,000 money order and split the charge among two debit cards. You can either subtract the fee out of the money order amount or pay it separately.

What will happen is that the cashier will enter a $500 payment amount, you will swipe the first card and then they will put in the next $500 payment amount and you will swipe again. It is pretty simple and all cashiers should know how to do this. Note that some Money Center cashiers are trained not to allow you to use pin-enabled gift cards for money orders, so YMMV.

Conclusion

There are many more questions left to answer and I’ll be trying to get to a few each day. If you want your question answered then please leave a comment here. Also, feel free to chime in with your experiences and opinions about any of these questions in the comments! Have a great weekend!

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Shawn,

    I think these 2 important info must be remembered when buying MOs at WM:

    1. MOs issued by WM are by MoneyGram. This is important because there are some mobile banks that don’t accept MGMOs for deposit. One common reason is that they print very lightly and even for those who deposit via ATM, you’ll likely have issues if they can’t be read due to faint print. Western Union money orders are widely accepted in brick n mortar and mobile banks.

    2. Vanilla GCs can only be processed at WM at $49.99 or less per transaction. Therefore, do NOT use them at WM for buying MOs. You can load them to your prepaids but it’s going to be a PITA. However, many grocery stores take any kind of debit cards, including vanillas. OVs are my favorite because they look like some of my bank DCs. Add the fact that any 4 digit number can be used as PIN at first use of OVs.

    Hope this helps newbies that are about to start dealing with MOs.

    • Very good points Mimi. Perhaps I should have gone into more details. i do find that the ATMs I use do accept Moneygrams, but they do often struggle to read the amount. Thanks for sharing your experiences and I agree that Vanilla cards $49.99 at a time at Walmart is not really a decent strategy.

  2. What is the concern with money orders? If considerably less than $10,000 per year per account, do you still have concerns?

    • Every bank has different limits. Many people have been shut down from their primary bank and had other issues. I just want people to use an abundance of caution. A lot of people buy money orders, so it is definitely an option.

  3. I have done 80k MOs deposited to a credit union and billlpayed out in the last 2 months. I always go in in person and make small talk and don’t hide what I’m doing. After a week or two of questioning glances and questions, it becomes accepted as the MO guy.

    • Thanks for sharing Carl. A lot of people have similar experiences to yours and I’m glad you shared. I just didn’t want to down play the potential for negative consequences.

      • Hey Shawn. Youre right man. Dont down play that at all. Please keep reminding people. I like how you straight up just say dont use MO. I dont either. Its just stupid.

        Note to Carl: So you MS $80k of MO in last two months?! Dude. Watch your back bro. Its not about “becoming accepted as the MO guy”. Theres something called Bank Secrecy Act and Civil Asset Forfeiture. Go Google it.

        • As long as you are not trying to structure, there is nothing illegal. Additionally, the federal government and the IRS have said they will no longer pursue structuring cases when there is no crime associated with it. 80 K into months is peanuts. At 40 K per month, that is only 10 K per week. I need to step my game up. I can easily do 40 K per week. For the people that are saying things about bank examiners, the Fed, etc. Does anyone have one concrete example of a manufactured spending individual having problems? look at marathon man doing 400 K per month

  4. vanilla GC. Can be converted into gas cards, and much easier to spend, they can also be used at grocery stores,

    We all get them once in awhile,,,

  5. Suntrust does NOT give miles for online load on REDBIRD. Do you know if they will
    give miles for loading at the Target store?

  6. Re; Carl
    More than likely the bank’s compliance folks will get nervous and ask you to stop the MOs. They don’t want to have to explain the volume to the Fed’s bank examiners. Might take a few months…
    YMMV

  7. Thanks for posting the response. My biggest concern is the cashier wanting to see the cards, particularly with a split payment. Sadly, my name isn’t Gift Card Recipient.

    • Yes this does happen, but not all of the time. Also, most Money Center paypads are located below the cashiers line of sight. Some people have been known to show the cashier their real debit card and then swipe the gift card.

  8. Since May 15, I have been unable to load any gift cards @ Wal-Mart on the ATM. I get a receipt showing a debit error and telling me to contact the card co. I have tried with the Metabank Visa & a Visa card from Wal-Mart. I have tried 3 different stores within 30 miles. Do you think Wal-Mart has recoded their ATM’s not to accept gc’s? Or maybe Serve has denied them? I am hesitant now to buy anymore but I need to load my Serve account. Any idea what’s going on?

    • I haven’t heard of anyone else having the same issues. Have you tried loading them at a register? I suppose the change could be regional, but I haven’t heard of anything like that before.

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