Pay Any Bill By Credit Card — For A 1.99% Fee

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It has long been a challenge to pay certain bills with a credit card. Personally, I’ve long wished for a convenient and easy way to earn miles while paying our mortgage every month.

It just always seems like a big sink-hole of an expense just sitting there begging for a way to get some mileage out of it.

Well, that wish has been granted. 

Plastiq is a somewhat new service that allows you to pay any bill by credit card for a 2.5% fee. But for a limited time, they are lowering the fee to 1.99% for those paying with an American Express or Mastercard. (Visa is still 2.5%.)

I’ve used the service for about a month with good results.

plastiq welcome

When To Use Plastiq

There are a few cases where paying bills with Plastiq can make a lot of sense. (And plenty of others will it will make no sense at all.)

First of all, if your payee accepts credit cards directly, you should pay that way. There’s no need for a middleman. This is for the cases where you would end up mailing a check, doing a bank transfer, or otherwise paying a bill with no way of earning miles in the process.

The key to keep in mind here is that you are still paying a 1.99% fee, even during the promotional period. So you are effectively buying miles, meaning you need to value the miles at more than the cost you are buying them.

Meeting Minimum Spend Requirements

It is often the case that the big credit card sign-up bonuses require you to spend a certain amount within a limited time frame, maybe $3,000 in three months for example. Depending on your circumstances, this can be an issue.

These are times that it may make sense to pay your mortgage, rent, or similar bill using Plastiq and eating the 1.99% (or even 2.5%) fee. If you met the entire $3,000 spending requirement using Plastiq, you’d pay a $60 fee ($75 without the promotion.) That’s obviously worse than meeting the minimum spend organically, but definitely better than missing out on the sign-up bonus altogether.

Just make sure that whatever bonus you are earning is worth more to you than than the $60 fee! And it probably is.

Hitting A Spending Threshold

Some credit cards have thresholds whereby you earn a bonus if you hit a certain spend over the course of a year. The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card, for example, awards a free night good anywhere in the US for those that spend $10,000 each year.  That’s in addition to whatever points you already earned of course.

So if you were to get within a month of your account anniversary, and find yourself having spent $9,000 that year, it could make a lot of sense to pay your rent via Plastiq to push you over the $10,000 level and earn the free night.

My Experience

I started using Plastiq last month to make our mortgage payment. It’s worth noting that I was just another random customer — I wasn’t invited to try the service, and didn’t realize that there would be a promotion like this coming up. In short, they had no way of knowing that I am a famous blogger write for a famous blog, so I would imagine that my experience should be typical.

I tried the service mostly because I curious as to how well it would work, and wanted to explore the opportunity to get some extra credit card spend for a bill that I couldn’t normally pay by credit card. Specifically our mortgage.

Creating An Account

It was surprisingly easy to sign-up with Plastiq. They require just your name, telephone number, and email. I think that was about it.

 

Promotional rate sign-up screen

Plastiq-2

Paying Our Mortgage

I searched for mortgage provider in their database of payees but I couldn’t find it. This made me a bit nervous as to whether Plastiq was going to work in our case.

Plastiq-3

But it turns out that for those not in their database, you just enter their address and essentially create a payee. It was pretty easy, though I will admit that I checked the address at least 10 times to make sure I got it right.

I then entered my credit card number, put the loan number in the memo along with my phone number, and hit submit. That’s it. I was then advised that the payment would take about a week to arrive, probably since they send a check by mail. It was all really easy, almost so easy that it made me think I must have done it wrong.

They also have the ability to do ACH transfers for some payees, but I have no experience with how fast those work.

Payment Posted

Sure enough, the payment posted 9 calendar days later, pretty much as promised.

Bills You Can Pay

You can pay bills to people or businesses in the US or Canada. There’s no limit to the amount of the payment. The key is that it ought to be a real bill. Supposedly they may require proof as to the service or good being provided, so keep that in mind. You also can’t use Plastiq to pay your credit card bill, so don’t get any ideas.

Off the top of my head, here are bills that I can think of that I have often wished that I could pay via credit card.

  • Mortgage
  • Rent
  • Nanny / babysitter
  • Electric
  • Water
  • Private party sales, such as buying a car on Craiglist
  • Tuition
  • Contractors
  • Professional services
  • Medical expenses
Now you can earn miles while paying for one of these
Now you can earn miles while paying for one of these

Bottom Line

This is real service with a real value proposition. Plastiq seems to serve two communities of people — those who need short-term financing to occasionally cover everyday expenses and those who want to earn miles on transactions where they otherwise can’t, and are willing to pay a fee to do so.

There are certainly other opportunities out there to increase credit card at lower costs, but for those who just want a solid, straight-up, legit way of earning miles and points while paying bills that they otherwise couldn’t pay with a credit card, this is a good deal. I’ve personally had a favorable experience, so I hope they are successful and sustainable. 

I don’t know how long the 1.99% promotional rate will last, but I would suggest signing up now if you want to try out the service.

As always, just make sure that you are getting more value out of the miles you earn than the fee that you are paying to earn them.

Have you used Plastiq? What was your experience?

Comments

  1. @tim did you notice I quoted from the post? You’ll see that after I commented Travis updated the post to an accurate statement 🙂

    My comment was meant in good fun, not intended to be snarky, for what it’s worth. I apologize if it came across otherwise.

  2. Gary — Yeah, there was some confusion about how the offer came to be. Sorry about that. I did read it from FM first, though appreciated your analysis too.

  3. Could be a dumb question but….can you pay off a credit card using Plastiq? Meaning, can I use my Citi card to pay off my Chase credit card bill?

  4. Matt E. how cool it would be 🙂

    Btw even the 2.5% rate is acceptable if you use the BofA Travel Rewards card and you meet the $100k balance requirement. In that case you get a 2.625% cash-back towards travel expenses. Small margin but better than nothing. Otherwise I doubt if you can get more than 2.5% with Amex MR, Citi Thank You or Chase Ultimate Rewards since this type of spend earns you one point only.

  5. Travis, Thanks for posting this. I have signed up and used my Amex everyday preferred card to make a payment today that I would otherwise have written a check for. Earning 1.5 Amex membership reward points for 2 cents is a very good deal from my perspective.

  6. So does it make sense, assuming the normal rate of 2.5%, to pay a $3,000 a month mortgage payment just for the points? If you break that out over a year it is essentially paying $900 for 36,000 points, yes? Ignoring the minimum spend requirements, what cards, if any, would have a value that would make this worth the $900?

  7. I have a min spend on a card that has a foreign transaction fee (ftf) I have an upcoming trip. Can I use a cc with no ftf to book hotels, etc and pay that cc bill with the one with the min spend, so I can get my min spend with no ftf?
    Thanks.

  8. @anyone
    Can you use gift cards on this? For instance, can I go to office supply store, get gift cards at 5x points, and then use the gift cards on Plastiq? I guess the secondary question is, if you can use gift cards, can you use multiple gift cards to complete one transaction?

    Amex gift cards at office supply store usually are $4.95 fee and a $200 max balance. That is approximately 2.5 cents per point. Combine that with the 2.5 cents per point on Plastiq, it seems like you are breaking even–again, if both scenarios above are permissible (I’m assuming most people spend more than $200 per month on their mortgage).

  9. Good job uncovering this.
    I was recently required to get healthcare coverage for the next 28 months and wanted a way to get points. NJ doesn’t allow recurring healthcare premium payments with credit cards, so I was stuck having to write a monthly check without a bonus. Why? It could be that the insurance providers do not want any charges contested. As long as they get their money, well, that’s customer service!

  10. Wonderful! Use my referral link

    https://try.plastiq.com/809517

    Or by using my Promo Code: 809517
    at the bottom of the page when you sign in before you click submit.

    You will receive $0 in fees for up to $500 in transactions, that’s $12.5 in savings and you will get 500 points in your credit card.

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