Manufactured Spend Canada – AC Conversion Prepaid

Generally, I don’t post about things on the down-low, but given that it’s been around for quite a while and I’ve already hinted at it multiple times, I might as well.

Manufactured Spend Canada – Reloadable Cards

Additional Reading: The Hottest Manufactured Spend Method in Canada is Dead

I’m referring to the CIBC AC Conversion Prepaid Card.

Manufactured Spend Canada - AC Conversion

Manufactured Spend Canada – AC Conversion

This card is a partnership between CIBC and/or Air Canada. The card itself I believe is run on an i2c platform, a prepaid company in the US. They have a call center in Montreal as well.

The intended purpose of this card is for foreign currency transactions, from which they make a 2.5%+ margin on. It’s a multi-currency card that has lots different currencies you can choose from, from Australian Dollars to Japanese Yen and Mexican Pesos. The card holds a maximum of $3000 CAD cumulatively from all currencies.

This has had a bad rep because there are a ton of issues with the card. Many credit cards used to treat this as a cash advance, although I’ve heard basically no reports of that the last few months. And there were so, many, problems. The card had problems loading occasionally. The “fraud” team at CIBC would look your card (for weeks even) while they verified your identity. Then of course, you’ve got ATMs not working, problems withdrawing, and of course when the ATM eats your money.

Additional Reading: The ATM ate my money!

Personally, I had close to $10,000 locked for 2+ weeks which is could be a huge problem if you don’t have that cash to churn.

Using the CIBC AC Conversion Card

The card is surprisingly not a bad option IF you go to countries with significant ATM fraud (I’m thinking Latin/South America). The best debit cards in Canada that don’t charge for out of network ATM transactions generally require you to keep a few thousand dollars in there to waive the monthly fee, so if your card does get compromised theoretically you’d need to file a claim for thousands of dollars if thieves managed to compromise your card, not to mention the inconvenience if you primarily bank with them.

You can keep literally $10 on your account if you wish, and the first ATM transaction per month on this card is free.

In terms of MS, though, what was so good about this card was the fact that you used to be able to load up to $2000 a day, per card (limit one per person). This would be done online.

Because you can load in Canadian Dollars without a charge for utilizing a credit card, you could get, for example, 2500 Aeroplan points for free if you were using the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege . There’s also no fees to use CIBC ATMs, so to liquidate, you’d just do an ATM withdrawal in person. Online loads, and ATM withdrawals, all with no fee. That’s as good as it gets. It reminded me of the US Manufactured Spend world in the old days.

Additional Reading: Great TD Aeroplan Visa Offers!

CIBC AC Conversion Card - Loading

CIBC AC Conversion Card – Loading

This was great. Really, really, great. Except for the part where I was holding 600 or so 20$ bills, and the tellers first looked at me like I was money laundering. Of course, I explained to them that was a complex scheme that involved travel and circulating large amounts of money through my credit cards. Then they would come to know me as the kid who deposited a huge stack of 20’s everyday. 😉



The credit card companies also blocked several of my cards throughout, but they pretty much couldn’t do anything as these were legitimate transactions.

Manufactured Spend with this now?

Ok, I’m finally getting to the part that most of you want to read. This card still works for earning points, except it’s severely hobbled. You are now limited to loading 1x $100 CAD per day. Technically, this is still not bad because you’re earning 3k a month/36k a year, per card. You cannot get more than one card per person – they will shut you down.

When you sign up, you first must load in a foreign currency with a minimum of $100 CAD. You can then transfer this back to CAD (you lose 5% when you do) or spend in the actual currency. If you load in USD, that’s pretty easy.

There are terms and conditions on the website, but forget that. They’ve made up their own arbitrary rules, and that’s how it is. I’m doing you a favour by spilling how it works in detail.

The initial load, as well as future ones can be done with a debit OR credit card (Visa/MasterCard). American Express is sadly not accepted, otherwise, I would have gone ham with my American Express Platinum or Business Platinum Card.  The loads can be done online, or through their app.

CIBC AC Conversion Card App

CIBC AC Conversion Card App

Their day is based on EST, so you can load twice at 20:59 and 21:01 Pacific. The withdrawals are also per calendar day. You are limited to 3 withdrawals daily, to a maximum of $2000 a day. When liquidating at an ATM, CIBC operated terminals are free. They will let you withdrawal a maximum of $400 at once, so for fee free withdrawals, you’re limited to $1200 each. It’s worth nothing that many machines will error out after the second withdrawal, so you’ll have to move to the next one.

Alternatively, you can liquidate at other ATMs, which has negligible fees but has higher amounts. As an example, TD ATMs charge $3 and let you take out a maximum of $990, so that’s roughly 0.3 cpm ($0.003). When you load, most details on your credit card have to match. Most importantly, the billing address on your credit card has to match what the address on your credit report (and the one you signed up with).

That makes it quite difficult to just say, pick up a card from your friend. It’s also a significant risk for them, because they’re liable for the transactions that you make, it circumvents the terms and conditions of the card, and theoretically, you could be money laundering on their card. But I digress.

I do find my credit card statements very amusing, though.

CIBC AC Conversion Credit Card Statement

CIBC AC Conversion Credit Card Statement

You must have a Canadian credit file to get one of these, as they perform a soft pull on Equifax when you get the card to validate your identity. If somehow you get tripped up by their audits, you’ll have to send in your ID.

I have no idea how much longer this will last, so get on the train before it leaves the stations (or sputters and dies).

Pick up the CIBC ACConversion Card here.

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  1. […] 为什么现在才说 就像我之前说的,一般这种信息只会在小范围内传播,如果你和好积友关系到位,你可能已经在AC 卡可以每天充值$1000加币的时候就开始使用了,可惜现在从以前每天可以充值$1000加币变成了每天只能充值$100加币。虽然从一个月一张卡赚取3万积分,变成了3000积分,但是一年算下来也有36000积分。 可以兑换一张往返北美的机票了,也可以换一张国内的海航阿拉斯加头等舱机票了, 所以还是有一定价值的:)。还有一个撰写本文的原因是,诸如Canadian Kilometer和DCTA都不止一次都刊发过类似内容了,所以好积友认为也应该把这个产品和方法在华文圈唠叨唠叨。 用什么卡充值? 个人一般使用阿拉斯加的联名卡,靠此方法兑换国泰头等舱机票一张(飞行体验报告还木有时间写),价值超过一万美金。阿拉斯加积分还可以用来兑换海航航班,可谓是积分中最有价值的航空里程。还有一种用法就是,可以用来满足某些信用卡开卡奖励的消费需求。比如头三个月花多少钱获取多少的开卡奖励积分。 […]


  1. Very thorough post. Thank you.

    The card is still a good way to generate spend to qualify for the signup bonuses on travel credit cards. For example, the signup bonus for the RBC® British Airways Visa Infinite is 50,000 Avios, but to get that bonus, you need $9000 spend in your first three months. With my day-to-day shopping habits, $9000 in spend over 3 months is a little outside my comfort range. But… with the CIBC AC Conversion card, I can generate $100 in spend a day, which also works out to $9000 over 3 months, so I should be able to generate most or all of that $9000 spend using this method alone. (RBC’s deadline to apply for the card is May 31, I believe.)

    One question about the screenshot you posted…
    You show many transactions on the same day. How do you manage that?
    (Or is that screenshot from just before The $100 Limit took effect?)

  2. jerry305: If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that the $100 per day restriction was implemented on March 27, 2017.

    Great card! Thank you Moksha, Luca, Efi, Mark et al for funding my trips for the next 2 years! 😀

  3. Very interesting — thank you! I actually just tried to sign up for one — and the initial deposit isn’t showing CAD as an option. Do you recall if you had this issue as well? (ie: Initial deposit can’t be in CAD, but then CAD appears as an option for future re-loads?). I’m reluctant to add money on it in, say USD, GBP or whatever… and then try future re-loads and not have CAD appear as an option (maybe it’s killed for new signups from Canada?).

    • Whoops… “Choose the currencies and amounts with which to initially load your card. You can always change currencies and add more funds while managing your card in the future.”.

      Looks good so far. Fingers crossed!

      • And just saw this in your post too “When you sign up, you first must load in a foreign currency with a minimum of $100 CAD. You can then transfer this back to CAD (you lose 5% when you do) or spend in the actual currency. If you load in USD, that’s pretty easy.”.

        SO… nevermind. I got too excited. Thanks again, this is terrific, Canadian Kilometers!

          • Rather than transfering back to CAD, the best thing to do is just spend it in USD.

            For example, if you CAD $100 onto the card, which is about US$75, now you have a prepaid Visa card you can use for spending in the US. Just use it on a US trip, or use it for any US$ transaction online.

  4. That’s a really big stack of $20s! I found it a little easier to use the CIBC machines that dispense $50s. Fewer bills to count.

  5. Is there a waiting period before money loaded to the card becomes available for withdrawal? The machine wouldn’t let me take any of the money I’ve loaded out.

    • I’ve loaded and withdrew within a few hours.
      How many times have you loaded, and what exactly is the machine telling you?

      • I’ve loaded four times. First, it told me that I had exceeded my daily withdrawal limit (the $400 I had loaded over four days,) then it said that my financial institution declined the transaction.

  6. Question:

    why can’t we just deposit $ into bank through ATM right after we withdraw it?? instead of going to the teller.

    • I don’t think the stack shown above would fit into an ATM.

      Sure, you could deposit cash into an ATM.
      Some folks aren’t comfortable making large cash deposits into an ATM.

      You could also just go spend the cash on the street, too. It’s your cash. Do what you want with it.

  7. Max $100 for a day?!!!
    Seriously, if it is used for travel (i mean the real one), how many days to plan ahead to load the funds needed for an international… lol

    cibc is too smart…

  8. Hi,

    I would have expected credit card companies to treat loading up this card (or any reloadable card) as a cash advance, yet, if I understand correctly, this is not the case, at least with the TD card. Can you confirm that reloading the card is treated as a purchase as opposed to a cash advance? If so, is it only the specific TD card or does this apply to all cards?

  9. Hi,

    Can you confirm that reloading the card is treated as a purchase as opposed to a cash advance? If so, is it only the specific TD card mentioned or does this apply to all cards?

    • It’s my experience, with two different MasterCard issuers, that this is just a standard merchant transaction; no other fees added.

      I’m interested to know if a cash advance on a different card even COULD be processed in that manner. I’m providing to a CIBC a credit card number, expiry date and CVV code, from a MasterCard. Wouldn’t I have to use the physical card, say, at an ATM, to enact a cash advance? I’ve never done a credit card cash advance, at a casino, etc.

      • I do not do cash advances, so have no experience with them. However, all the terms and conditions that I have seen, interest is charged immediately for cash advances and “cash-like” transactions, thus no interest free grace period like there is when the card is used to purchase merchandise or services.

        I am wondering how loading the AC conversion card with a credit card from another institution is not considered a cash advance or cash-like transaction? Am I missing something here? Or perhaps these cash and cash-like transactions only apply when the cardholder initiates these transactions directly with the card issuer and that requests for payment from another institution are treated the same as if they were made by a merchant?

  10. Thinking of using the initial US $ online.

    Does it work just as a normal visa card? or just a pre-paid gift card?

    • It is a Visa prepaid so it works like a Visa and accepted wherever Visa cards are accepted. It is not a credit card though: you don’t have consumer protections like zero-liability in case someone fraudulently swipe your card.

  11. Hmm… I see nothing in the T&C that would limit the card to 1 per person, or 1 per address.
    Anyone have experience with that?

  12. Heads up. MBNA treated loading this card as regular purchases up to July 20th 2017, and then suddenly started treating it as cash advance starting July 21st 2017. Here is what a portion of my statement looks like:

    07/19/2017 07/21/2017 CIBC ACCONVERSION PREP TORONTO ON 0351 $100.00
    07/20/2017 07/21/2017 CIBC ACCONVERSION PREP TORONTO ON 1391 $100.00
    07/21/2017 07/24/2017 CIBC ACCONVERSION PREP TORONTO ON 0792 $100.00
    07/21/2017 07/24/2017 CASH ADVANCE FEE 0792 $7.50
    07/22/2017 07/24/2017 CIBC ACCONVERSION PREP TORONTO ON 2681 $100.00
    07/22/2017 07/24/2017 CASH ADVANCE FEE 2681 $7.50

  13. Be aware – I opened the AC conversion card account a couple of weeks ago and have been depositing $100 daily, I received the card yesterday and when I tried to withdrawal $400 from the ATM it declined the transaction. After calling AC Conversion, they told me that I had surpased my daily limit of 60% of the deposits done within the last 48hrs, which doesn’t make sense.

    When looking at the card online, it shows “Blocked due to fraud”. CIBC asked me to send a copy of my ID and a proof of address, which I have done… now I can only wait…. $1500 are stuck in the card now.

  14. I’ve been trying to set up a new AC Conversion card. After the initial address information screen, I get a blank screen. This has happened on new and old versions of Safari and Firefox (for Mac). Anyone been able to set up a new card lately?

  15. Hello, I just want to make sure I understand this. I get a AC conversion card,(at no charge) then I load it with money ($100) using my credit card (mastercard). I then take my AC conversion card to a CIBC bank machine and withdraw the $100. In the end I get the points on my mastercard and I have $100 cash in my pocket which I use to pay off the $100 on the mastercard. Thanks.

  16. Just got off the phone with CIBC rep. She said CIBC has put a auto-lock on the card. You can’t withdraw more than 40% of your card balance each week. The machine will eat your card and you will have to call them to request a new card, which will take 3-4 weeks. IMO, not worth it.

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