The U.S. Mint has eliminated the credit and debit card purchase of $1 coins through its direct ship program effective July 22, 2011 due to large numbers of people ordering coins in order to win frequent flyer miles, then returning the coins to local banks. Customers who wish to purchase $1 coins through the direct ship program can still do so by wire transfer, check, or money order.
The Mint determined that this policy change is prudent due to ongoing activity by individuals purchasing $1 coins with credit cards, accumulating frequent flyer miles, and then returning coins to local banks. Local banks, in turn, returned coins to the Federal Reserve. While not illegal, this activity was a clear abuse and misuse of the program, the Mint noted in a news release.
The Mint has undertaken several aggressive internal and external actions to mitigate this issue, including restricting chronic and repeated use of credit cards, contacting customers who frequently placed large numbers of orders to ensure they were using the coins for legitimate business purchases, and other measures. While these measures eliminated a significant amount of misuse in the program, it did not end the abuse, the Mint noted. Eliminating the credit and debit card purchase of the $1 coin is the next step in efforts to root out abuse in this program and ensure it is better targeted toward fulfilling its intended purpose — which is to get the $1 coin into greater circulation.
Customers who wish to purchase the coins by wire transfer may fax their order to: 202-756-6585. Customers interested in purchasing by check or money order may do so by writing to: United States Mint, PO Box 71192, Philadelphia, PA 19176-6192.