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Are you trying to earn as many credit card points each month as possible? You can do so by making one-time purchases like plane tickets or birthday gifts. But did you know that most merchants also let you pay bills with a credit card when you schedule auto-payments? Here are some things to consider.
Pay Bills With A Credit Card
Paying your recurring bills each month is an effortless way to earn points on every card purchase. Depending on the expense, you can earn bonus points. You’ll see some of the best ways to earn points by paying your bills with a credit card instead of debit or cash.
You might be surprised by how many types of bills you can pay with plastic (or metal, like these best metal credit cards that are also known for their point-earning abilities).
How To Pay Bills With A Credit Card
You only need a few minutes of time to switch your bill payments to a credit card and start earning rewards. The only downside is that you will need to manually change the payment option of each bill you have.
Check Your Monthly Bill for Payment Options
The easiest way to see if you can pay by credit card is by looking at your current monthly statement. Search for the payment options section. If credit card payments are possible, you can see the enrollment procedures.
However, you should see if there are any processing fees. Some vendors add a 3% processing fee if you don’t pay with cash or check. Unless you can redeem your points for at least 3 cents each, this fee costs more than the value of the points you earn.
If you’re “old school,” you can write your card information on the payment stub your mail into the merchant. But if you pay in-person, ask the clerk if you can pay with plastic this time.
Switch Payment Method Online
As most places now do paperless billing, you can access your online account and switch your payment information. Each website has a different process. Look for a “payment options” or “account settings” button.
You may need to specify if this is a one-time credit card payment or your recurring default payment account.
Best Bills to Pay With a Credit Card
These are some of the bills you should focus on switching to credit card payments first. These categories can earn bonus points each month.
Your best all-around option might be a cash back credit card like the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. This card earns 1.5% back on all purchases. There is no limit to how much can be earned. New cardholders can earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Learn more: Cash Back Credit Cards
But you can also get a card that earns bonus cash on select purchase categories, such as the Chase Freedom Flex℠. The Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% back on select rotating categories, up to $1,500 spent (once activated). However, note that your bills may not lineup with those categories.
A third option is a card that earns travel rewards. Although most of your monthly bills may be a “non-bonus purchase,” credit cards for travel purchases that earn points or miles can have higher redemption values than cash or gift cards.
Gas Stations and Public Transit
Few of us live within walking distance of our work, schools, stores, and friends. That means you drive your own vehicle or use public transit to get around town. While you pay for these expenses at the time of purchase, they are common and ongoing.
Certain credit cards are friendlier to gas stations and public transit than others. These are some of the best gas credit cards for your petrol purchases. If you use ridesharing services, these are some of the best credit cards for Uber and Lyft.
Another pay-as-you-go expense is groceries. And if you feed an army, your grocery bills are an easy way to earn either cash back or travel rewards.
You will likely need to buy your food at a full-service supermarket instead of a discount store such as Walmart or Target.
A card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives you up to 6% back. Cardholders earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Also, Plan It gives cardholders the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
Related: Best credit cards for groceries
Cell Phone, Internet and Cable TV Service
Several cards lump cell phone, internet, and cable or satellite TV subscriptions into the same bonus category.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3 Ultimate Rewards per $1 on phone, cable, and Internet purchases. You also get cell phone coverage benefits up to $600 per claim.
Some personal cards even offer cell phone protection when you use your credit card for your monthly phone bill. For instance, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers up to $600 protections after a $25 deductible. However, you will only earn 1 point per $1 on your phone bill with the Wells Fargo Propel Card.
The information for the Wells Fargo Propel Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Do you stream movies, TV shows, or music from a streaming app? If so, some cards let you capitalize on your streaming service plans. Your best option for ongoing points is the Wells Fargo Propel that can earn 3x points, one of the best credit cards for streaming services.
Your monthly auto, life, homeowner’s, and renters insurance premiums can be easy pickings as well. Most insurance providers won’t charge you a processing fee, unlike paying rent or making mortgage payments. Insurance premiums generally only earn the base rate for non-bonus categories. That’s 1 point per $1 for most cards.
While this is a boring way to earn credit card points, these premiums can be a large portion of your monthly budget.
If you make lump-sum payments, a credit card payment can help you earn a credit card signup bonuses, especially if you’ve been eyeing a limited time credit card offer. These large payments don’t happen every month for you. The annual $1,000+ payment can help you achieve a hard-to-achieve spending threshold.
Your electric, water, or gas utility provider may accept credit card payments. However, most utility providers and government agencies charge you a 3% payment processing fee. Other merchants either absorb this fee or bake it into the monthly bill amount.
You can pay your income taxes by credit card as well with one of the best credit cards for paying taxes. Like utility payments, the IRS or your state tax agency will charge a payment processing fee. If you need to manufacture spend to earn a limited-time bonus offer, this fee can be worth it.
Otherwise, consider paying your taxes with one of the best checking account bonuses (unless you’re getting a refund).
Medical Bills and Prescription Medication
Depending on your health insurance coverage, you may pay your out-of-pocket expenses with cash. These expenses can include your co-pay and medical prescriptions. Like other costs, there probably isn’t an auto-pay option. Yet, the doctor’s office or pharmacist will be ready to accept credit card payments.
You don’t need to be a gym junkie to earn bonus points on gym and health club dues. The World of Hyatt Credit Card earns 2 Hyatt points per $1 on fitness club and gym memberships. Dining, local transit, and plane tickets purchased directly from the airline also earn 2x points per $1.
Although it takes several minutes to enroll in credit card auto-pay, you effortlessly earn rewards points. Plus, you can pay most (maybe all) of your bills from a single account.
What bills can be paid with a credit card?
Most of your recurring monthly bills can be paid by credit card. Some of the most common examples include:
- Cellphone plan
- Home internet
- Cable or satellite TV
- Streaming plans
- Subscription services (Amazon Prime, Blue Apron, ebooks, magazines, home security)
- Insurance (Auto, homeowner’s, renters, life, health, home warranty, etc.)
- Utilities (Electic, water, and gas)
- Loan payments (although you may need to use a third-party provider like Plastiq)
- Income taxes
- Membership dues
Paying bills by credit card can be worth it if you don’t pay an extra processing fee. This fee is usually 3% of the purchase total. The redemption value of the points you earn may be lower than the fee amount.
Can I use my credit card to pay for my car insurance?
Most car insurance providers accept credit card payments. In most cases, you won’t pay an additional processing fee as your auto loan servicer might charge. However, it’s still a good idea to compare your premium whether you pay from a checking account, debit card, or a credit card.
Can I use my credit card to pay off another credit card?
You won’t be able to make direct payments from one credit card to another. Sorry, but this is a cash-like transaction and doesn’t earn any credit card points.
Your best option to pay this expense is with one of the best balance transfer credit cards. You will need to use your card from a different bank. Most balance transfer credit cards charge a one-time 3% transfer fee plus interest. Though, you might qualify for a balance transfer offer with a 0% introductory APR or a waived balance transfer fee.
For rates and fees of The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.