What is a financial mystery shop?

Financial Mystery Shop at ATM

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and AdamR

Hey Buzz,

I know you said that Mystery Shopping companies don’t deal with certified checks, but I had an assignment recently where I had to cash a check at a payday loan place.  So, I’m confused.  What are good and bad shops that deal with money?

-Financially Frazzled Frannie

Hi Frannie,

To clarify: Mystery Shopping companies do not PAY by certified check.  That’s actually a really big scam!

Financial institutions have a variety of shops available.  Here are the main ones you’ll see out there:

1)   Pay-day check cashing: The mystery shopping company will give you a check to cash. It is usually pretty small, (under $40) and may be your fee for the assignment.

2)   Opening a new bank account: You’ll have to go in and meet with a representative to get options about opening a new checking, savings, or money market account.  Sometimes you may actually have to open the account, other times you just need to get the information.

3)   Closing a bank account: Generally, you’ll get these shops after you’ve already done an “opening” account shop.  🙂

4)   Teller shops: You’ll have to wait in line to deposit money, or break a large bill.

5)   Investment shops: You meet with a representative to see what kind of mutual funds or other investments they recommend.

That’s pretty much all that’s out there.  When it comes to financial shops, just remember that they’re usually a very reasonable fee ($5-$40) not $200 or $500; and you will never be required to cash a certified check and wire money elsewhere. That type of “assignment” is a complete and total scam.

 Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company.  Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!


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