You can pay student loans with a credit card by using an online bill payment service like Plastiq, or you can perform a balance transfer. A balance transfer moves your payment obligation from the student loan provider to the credit card issuer.
Paying your student loans with a credit card has benefits and drawbacks. The best part about paying with an online service is that you can earn rewards. If you do a balance transfer instead, you likely won’t earn any. But credit card interest rates tend to be a lot higher than student loan rates. So if you can’t pay off your balance right away, you could end up with more unsustainable debt. A 0% credit card could help, but you typically need good credit or better to get one, and it would only buy you time until interest takes effect.
Here’s how you can pay student loans with a credit card:
U.S. Department of Treasury rules prohibit making student loan payments directly with a credit card, as of 2017.
You can use online bill payment services like Plastiq to make payments on your student loans. These services charge your credit card, then send a check or wire transfer to the loan issuer.
Third-party services charge fees. For example, Plastiq typically charges 2.5% of the transaction amount, although they’ll sometimes have promotions for lower fees.
If you’re able to pay through an online service, you can earn rewards on what you charge.
If third-party services don’t work for you, another option is to instead transfer the balance to a credit card. This could get you a temporary 0% interest rate, but you’ll typically need to pay a 3%-5% balance transfer fee.
If the company doesn’t let you directly transfer the balance, you could use a balance transfer check, which is a check that draws on your credit line instead of a bank account. You can get one from your card’s issuer. Just bear in mind that standard balance transfer rates and fees will apply.
10 of the top 15credit card issuers allow balance transfers from student loans: Bank of America, Barclaycard, Capital One, Citi, Discover, PenFed, USAA, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, SunTrust Bank.
Only Barclaycard allows you to earn rewards on balance transfers.
All in all, it’s not a bad idea to pay student loans with a credit card if you can earn some rewards and avoid carrying a balance on your card from month to month. But it shouldn’t be an excuse to put off paying your bills. You should also keep your card’s credit limit in mind. Student loan payments can be fairly large, and you risk hurting your credit score by using more than 30% of your available credit.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.