Yes, you can pay most bills with a credit card for points and many credit cards will earn you rewards for doing so. Expenses such as utilities, rent, medical bills and taxes are some of the opportunities to pay for bills with a credit card for points. You can only use a credit card to pay for other credit card bills if you qualify for a balance transfer. That allows you to move your existing balance to another card for future repayment (usually at the cost of a fee of around 3%). Most of the time, you won’t be able to make mortgage or rent payments with a credit card, either, at least not without going through a third-party app. But when you can do it, paying bills with a credit card can be a great way to earn points, miles or cash back. It can also buy you some time.
Just be careful not to use up too much of your credit limit between bills and other purchases. Less than 30% is best. Also, don’t use your credit card as an excuse to spend more than you would otherwise. If you don’t pay your bill on time and in full every month, you’ll end up spending a lot more on interest than you earn in points.
Here’s when you can pay bills with a credit card for points:
- Utilities: You should be able to pay your water, electricity, gas, cable, internet and other utility bills with your card. And you’ll get rewards just like any other purchase. The company may charge you a few dollars in convenience fees, though.
- Rent: Many landlords will accept rent payments using credit cards, but some won’t. Third-party services like Plastiq, RentShare and RentTrack allow you to make credit card payments when landlords don’t accept them directly. But their fees will probably wipe out any rewards you get.
- Medical bills: You can use a rewards credit card for minor medical expenses that won’t lead to a balance that bleeds into the next billing period. And you can use a 0% credit card to avoid interest on expensive health care charges. Some doctor’s offices and hospitals will take credit cards, but not all will.
- Taxes: Federal, state and local governments are happy to accept tax payments via credit card. But they’ll charge you a convenience fee of around 2% of the transaction cost, so that will definitely detract from any rewards you earn.
- Mortgage/car payments/student loans: You usually won’t be able to pay any of these bills directly with a credit card. But in most situations, you can use an online bill-payment service like Plastiq or a money transfer tool like Venmo. You’ll be able to earn rewards through these services, but they’ll be countered by the fees you’re charged.
- Other credit card balances and eligible loans: If you qualify for a balance transfer, you can use your credit card to pay off the balance owed on another credit card or loan at a lower interest rate. While some cards offer 0% introductory APRs on balance transfers, they generally come with a fee for each transfer. And you’ll want to pay off most of your balance by the end of that introductory period, or the card’s regular APR will apply to your balance immediately after.
The best time to pay bills with a credit card is when you get extra rewards or benefits for doing so. And those can take many forms.
For example, lots of credit cards offer big initial bonuses for spending a certain amount during the first few months your account is open. Some will give you free cell phone insurance for paying your mobile bill with your card. And many small business credit cards offer bonus points for common corporate bills, like office supplies and telecom services.