Why are people selling $20 bills for $24 on Ebay? Plus shipping?

Ok, I’ve been staring at these auction for a while and I just can’t put it together. People are selling $20 bills (as well as other denominations) well above face value, with a couple extra bucks thrown in for shipping, and they’re selling like hotcakes.

The auctions go on to say as reasons for the sale:

I’m staring at this but can’t make any sense as to why you just can’t use your own cash, or find a better way to earn $20 than by spending $26. What the heck am I missing here?

Don’t at least some of the cases named in that notice amout to ‘I have some kind of online assets worth money but no straightforward method to convert them to cash’?

Money laundering

Believe it or not, there was a time when CC’s were not accepted for groceries.

I know that some CC’s allow only a certain percentage of Credit Line to be withdrawn in cash.
This would allow you to exceed your cash withdrawal limit:
I have CC with $5000 LofC. Only $1000 can be withdrawn in cash.
I need $1200 cash.
I get the $1000, then buy 10 20’s on ebay.

Isn’t that the opposite way around though? For money laundering the person with actual cash loses out some face value in order to legitimize the cash. In this case someone is paying a premium to end up with more cash.

In some places, welfare comes in the form of cards that cannot be redeemed for cash or used to buy booze, lottery tickets, etc. It’s horribly patronising and wrong headed, and of course leads to said poor people being even poorer when they exchange their embarrassing “I am on welfare” cards for cash, at a loss.

Perhaps this is an example of that.

ETA: And yes, if I were in that position I might well prefer $80 in cash to $100 on a shame card.

Yeah, it’s such a terrible thing when your patron is being patronising… wait.

There some legit uses for this. Eg if you sell items online through ebay but can’t get a bank account like many people in the US. Yes you can get a PayPal debit card but in some cases you might need cash.

Can the EBT (?) card aka Food Stamps be used as a credit card? Do they have a Star or Interlink symbol on them?

If so, then this is a much better deal than I remember getting when using Food Stamps for cigarettes - that was something on the order of 3 or 5 to one - $ to $5 of stamps to get $1 of cigs.

(I love it when people get “Look at THAT - Those People are living high on MY money!” when they find out somebody used his Food Stamps to buy lobster/Champlain/Filet Mignon/etc… That person is doing somebody else’s shopping. He will maybe get $0.50 on the dollar for the stuff)

Hell, even on this board, people were getting weird about WalMart’s policy of cashing checks for $2 - they are ripping off the poor! They can get a check cashed free at the bank!

No. YOU can get a check cashed for free at the bank. You have an account. Banks don’t like poor people, so they have minimum balance requirements.

Those who can’t get bank accounts go to the Payday Loan people and pay MUCH more to cash a check.
I did some work for a bank in the late 80’s. Internally, they accounted $9 to process a check*.
Wal-Mart was discounting the cost in exchange for having the customer in the store with cash in hand.

There are all kinds of situations the poor know about that those who have a bit of money don’t know about.

    • Those obscene bounce charges may or may not cover the actual cost of sorting the check, sending the check and/or its image to the Fed, then all hell breaks loose if it bounces. Backing out the credit, mailing notices, all the stuff that they have to do probably costs more than the bounce charge

In Japan there are shops which will buy things such as train or concert tickets for cash. They actually buy postal stamps as well, and a scam is to buy these things for your company and then get cash for it. Sounds sort of similar.

I don’t see how it is wrong headed if society, which pools up other people’s money in order to fund welfare support for its needy, insists on that money being spent on actual sustenance, for which it is intended, rather than on alcohol or lottery tickets for which it is clearly not intended. I agree it would be preferable to have a welfare system where such safeguards are not necessary, but apparently they are.

In any case, food stamps can’t be redeemed this way so it’s a non-issue.

I’d guess a good percentage of buyers are outside the US and have gathered money in online accounts but have no way to get actual dollars out of those accounts.

The rest is probably people who got a Visa prepaid card from someone for some reason, but really want something you can only get via cash.

I know someone who copied the rules, regulations and how to use e-bay and sold them on e-bay for £7-50 + £2-50 postage until e-bay caught on and took it down. He made a very nice profit. People will always believe that something that costs money is better than if it is free

Did you read the rest of my post, or any of the other posts in this thread, where it was pointed out that the people who have the addictions will trade their cashless welfare cards for money to feed their addictions? And therefore end up poorer and worse off than if you’d just given them cash?

Trust me; I have been poor, I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, I have been on welfare, I have had close relatives who struggled with addictions. These patronising and, yes, wrong-headed, schemes do not work. They make poverty worse.

How is this different from putting $22 in coins in a coin-star machine, for a $20 bill? You are paying a premium to have your assets in a different form.

In the UK, banks are obliged to offer a “basic” no frills account. No cheques, no overdraft. Just the facility to have your income (wages or benefits) paid in and for you to draw cash at an atm. Almost no one legal pays in cash these days.

In some places you can see a queue of people at midnight on a Friday waiting to draw their benefits. The dealers are there too.

Thats not the case in the US, thus many people with no bank accounts and thats why services like this and pay day cheque cashing companies exist. And even in the UK it can be hard for many people to meet the ID requirements. Try opening a bank account in the UK if you live in a share house and have no bills or lease in your name.

That’s true. A teenager who lives at home is unlikely to have the necessary documentation. It can be easier if a parent has an account at the same bank, but the ubiquity of cheque-cashing shops demonstrates that many people still have trouble.

OK, then I guess I’m just as clueless as the other poster. You’re saying that giving $100 in cash is better than a $100 SNAP card, since then the addict can buy $100 worth of drugs instead of having to sell his SNAP benefits for $80 cash, and only getting $80 worth of drugs?