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Key link: Plastiq special 1.5% bill payment offer
Here’s finally I think a good and super quick and easy way to earn miles paying your rent or mortgage and anything else that you’re currently paying by check or online billpay.
Back in May I wrote about Plastiq, a service that lets you pay bills with a credit card. It’s convenient, you earn miles for the payment, and it costs less than using Paypal.
Last month they ran a special offer of 1.99% fees when paying bills with a MasterCard or American Express.
Not everyone should be ready to jump on a service charging a 2.5% fee, it means you’re buying spend at 2.5 cents per dollar (or paying 2.5 cents per mile if there are no bonuses involved). So even though that’s cheaper than competing services, it’s a niche play .. worth doing if you need a boost to meet minimum spend on a credit card, but not something to use every day. At 1.99% the points you earn should be worth more than the cost.
Now they have an even better short-term offer.
- Both new and existing users can get a 1.5% fee when paying any new business (a business they haven’t paid before) with a MasterCard.
- You can get that fee on any transactions scheduled to that business (or new businesses) by September 30. (Recurring payments to the business – like a landlord or mortgage company – scheduled by September 30 will still have the rate applied to them even if they’re over a year out.)
This is a huge offer that makes sense to me for:
- Meeting minimum spend requirements for a signup bonus.
- Spending enough on a card to earn a spending threshold.
- Everyday spend, if you have the right card or if you need to top off for the right award. At 1.5% even an airline co-branded MasterCard probably makes sense.
Even at 1 mile per dollar (unbonused spend) you can buy as many miles at 1.5 cents apiece as you have bills — or even can prepay bills.
What Bills Can You Pay With Plastiq?
Plastiq will let you pay an US or Canada business or person for any amount. The only restriction is that the payment has to be for a good or service. You can pay an individual person, for instance, if they’re your landlord and you’re paying them rent or if they are your contractor or landscaper.
Just don’t try to pay yourself, a spouse, or another person just to send money (a “peer to peer transfer”), that’s not allowed, and I’ve seen reports of some individuals receiving payment being asked for documentation that there was a bona fide good or service involved for which they’re being paid. It’s not like the ‘good old days’ where you could send $5000 to your spouse for free with Google Wallet, and they could send you the same back.
While you can pay bills with credit cards issued outside the US and Canada, payment recipients need to be in either of those countries.
They don’t allow payments to credit card companies, either (so you can’t pay your credit card bill with a credit card) and no “trust/retirement accounts” either.
How to Pay a Bill With Plastiq
You’ll create an account and then verify your email address. Then:
You can specify any recipient of funds you want to pay using your credit card. And you can specify whether they get a check or an electronic ACH transfer (provided you have their banking information).
Frequently Asked Questions
Will this code as a purchase or cash advance?
I have not heard of any payments coding as a cash advance. Plastiq does flag one possible instance:
For the vast majority of payments, these are not coded as cash advances. The instances that are are if you’re paying specific Canadian merchants with a Visa card. If you are doing this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to determine if it will fall under this
Can you pay bills with a gift card or debit card?
I heard it can take awhile to pay someone.
That’s not a question. But some transactions get flagged and require additional information. This is especially true if you’re paying an individual. Say your landlord is a person not a company, they may contact you wanting a copy of your lease. They aren’t a peer-to-peer payments service and are coding transactions as purchases, they need to keep their paperwork good to continue being able to process bill payments like this, and at low rates. And process could take a few days once you provide the documentation they’re looking for. I don’t advise paying bills, especially the first time with a business, close to the due date. Remember that even if you aren’t paying an individual, as long as you aren’t giving them electronic transfer information, they’re mailing a check.
Multiple Benefits to the Service, But it’s Fine to Use Because We Want the Rewards
The landing page even highlights Act Now & Rack Up Rewards, so this isn’t something where exposure is going to ‘kill the deal’, I’ve spoken with one of Plastiq’s founders who understands that using their service helps cardholders earn rewards and that’s a strong motivator.
It’s an easy way for folks outside the US to pay US vendors. It can be convenient to pay a bill by credit card close to the due date, but at the beginning of a credit card billing cycle (and thus have nearly 60 days to actually pay).
And I love retaining chargeback ability when paying by credit card versus having to pay a merchant via billpay or by check — I rarely ever need to file a dispute, but it’s great knowing that I’ve paid by credit card and could do so if necessary.
Sign Up Now and Schedule Payments By September 30
Note that I receive $5 if you sign up whether you use the service or not. (Update: that was from a previous Plastiq promotion, there is no benefit to me at this time.)
This 1.5% discounted rate for paying bills via credit card isn’t available through the ‘general’ Plastiq website, in order to get it you need to sign up with the special offer link.
I’ve talked with the folks at Plastiq and they tell me that if you’ve already created an account with them you can still have the offer provided you know about it and use the link.
Key link: Plastiq special new member offer