Is Plastiq Worth It? Paying Your Bills Online with Credit Cards to Earn Miles

29
2808

Regarding any information in this post about taxes: this is miles information, not tax advice. Consult a tax professional before paying your taxes with a credit card.

Plastiq is an online bill payment processing system that “empowers you to use your existing debit and credit cards to pay any bill, regardless of acceptance”. The charge for that convenience is 2.5% of each payment on a credit card and 1% on a debit card. At the moment they accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. You can pay with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express gift cards as well but the 2.5% credit card fee is applied.

You simply specify who you want to pay, and Plastiq pays them either via check or electronic transfer depending on what the recipient accepts. You are notified once your payment is received.

Who and What You Can and Cannot Pay via Plastiq

Examples of Who and What You Can Pay

  • Anyone providing a good or a service
  • Tuition and housing fees
  • Taxes (income and property)
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Mortgages
  • Car payments
  • Home loan payments
  • Home repairs/construction

Examples Who and What You Cannot Pay

Plastiq’s Referral Program

Everyone that signs up on for an account on plastiq.com is given a referral link they can share with anyone new who is signing up. You and the person both receive benefits once they make a payment of $20.

The following screenshots were taken from Plastiq’s blog:

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.36.13 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.36.21 PM

FFDs are “Fee Free Dollars”–basically amounts of payments you can make without the card processing fee. You have 90 days to use the FFDs after you earn them.

If you decide to sign up for Plastiq after reading this article, please consider using my referral link.

Promotions

Previously (like April 2015, for example), Plastiq has charged only 2% for processing MasterCards for promotional spans of time. It also appears that they are charging (at least some people) only 2% for all MasterCards at the moment, despite the website claiming 2.5% for all card types. If anyone else has gotten this rate for a MasterCard let us know in the comments.

Also, last month they offered a fee of only 1.75% if you paid your taxes with a MasterCard. I believe this was only sent out to people with plastiq.com accounts. I received an email notification about it. Register now and see if you get the same email next year:Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 7.08.14 PM

The asterisk after MasterCard signifies that you can’t pay all types of taxes, only these kinds:

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 7.09.40 PM

The lowest fee I’ve seen in the past is 1.87% for processing taxes on credit cards, so this promotional rate is the best I’m aware of.

The Company’s Reputation Thus Far

The following statement is from plastiq.com’s terms and conditions page:

“Delivery of funds to the Merchant typically takes between forty-eight (48) and seventy-two (72) hours but may take additional time.”

We can all understand that sending a check takes longer than an electronic transfer. But these FlyerTalkers complained of waiting over a week or even longer, which can be a real issue when we’re talking bill payment. The good news is that it appears Plastiq has been improving on this front in recent months, at least on this FlyerTalk thread.

I think a wise move– when paying a bill to a new recipient– would be to send a small amount way ahead of the time the bill is due and wait to see how it long it takes. If it is received in a timely fashion, then send the remaining amount due. This way you’ll know how long it takes for future payments to that recipient and you can schedule accordingly. You can auto-schedule recurring payments on plastiq.com but only if the amount is the same each month.

Is it Worth the 2.5% Fee?

On the right cards and in the right circumstances, yes.

The only cash back card on the market right now that would be worth putting your bills on via Plastiq is the Discover it card, and only if you’ve opened one within the last year. The Discover it® Miles Card earns 1.5% back on all purchases and Discover doubles that at the end of the first year of card membership, meaning you get 3% back. 3% >2.5% processing fee, so you definitely come out on top.

But you can do much better with your returns.

Often the effective rebate on meeting a minimum spending requirement is 20% or more. That means if you pay your large bills via Plastiq that are otherwise not payable on credit cards in order to open more cards and meet more minimum spending requirements, the 1.87% fee can be a drop in the bucket compared to the rewards you’ll earn.

If you’re not trying to reach a minimum spending requirement for a sign-up bonus, I wouldn’t use Plastiq for bill payments on cards that earn 1 mile per dollar as I don’t value any miles at greater than 2.5 cents (for example, my highest valued point is SPG at 2.5 and highest valued mile is Virgin America mile at 2.3 cents each).

Meeting Minimum Spends for Sign Up Bonuses

Ink Plus

The Ink Plus by Chase is a Business credit card offering 70,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months, but only until May 15, 2016 and only if you apply in a Chase branch. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to United, British Airways, Singapore, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, and more. The annual fee is $95, and it is NOT waived for the first year during this 70,000 point promotion.

If you paid $5,000 of your bills via Plastiq on this card, the processing fee would be $125. I value Ultimate rewards at 2 cents each, so you’d essentially be paying $125 for $1,500 worth of points (75,000 Ultimate Rewards, which you’d earn from the sign up bonus and the 1x on spending it takes to get there).

There is a similar offer with a 60,000 bonus point offer you can apply for online if you can’t make it to a branch. From meeting that minimum spend via Plastiq it’s like paying $125 for $1,300.

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

But don’t forget the Chase 5/24 rule. If you’ve opened five cards within the last 24 months, you will most likely get denied for this card.

Citi Prestige® Card 

This card comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first three months the account is open, along with a plethora of benefits that more than make up for the pricey annual fee. You can read all about it in my review of the Citi Prestige Card.

If you opened the Citi Prestige® Card and paid $4,000 worth of your bills with it via Plastiq, you’d be paying $100 for 44,000 ThankYou Points. I value ThankYou Points at 1.9 cents each, so that’s like paying $100 for $836 (44,000 ThankYou points from the sign up bonus and the 1x on spending it takes to get there). But you can stretch their value even more if you redeem on a premium cabin award like Singapore Suites on Singapore Airlines, considered to be the nicest First Class in the world by some people.

Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card

Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz

Until June 22, 2016, the Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz comes with 75,000 Membership Rewards after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Membership Rewards transfer to around 20 hotel and airline programs including Delta, Singapore, British Airways, and Virgin America.

The card has a $475 annual fee in the first year. But, like the Citi Prestige® Card, it comes with huge benefits like airline fee reimbursement, airport lounge access, and hotel status. If you paid $3,000 worth of your bills with it via Plastiq, you’d be paying $75 for 78,000 Membership Rewards. I value Membership Rewards at 2 cents each, so that’s like buying $1,560 for $75.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® 

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.44.21 PM

This card is similar to the Citi Prestige® Card in that in comes with many benefits that help offset the cost of the steep annual fee. If you spend $5,000 in the first three months after you open it, you get 60,000 American Airlines miles. If you paid $5,000 in bills via Plastiq on it, you’d be buying 65,000 American Airlines miles for a processing fee of $125. I value American Airlines miles at 1.5 cents each, so that sign up bonus along with the miles you earn to get it is worth about $975 to me.

While this isn’t the biggest return from a sign up bonus, people with a lot of bills to pay should consider it from the angle of meeting this card’s yearly spending threshold if status with American Airlines is something you’re eyeing. Spend $40,000 in a year and get 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles, which will send you on your way to earning status with American Airlines.

Application Link: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®

Bottom Line

Nearly any bill that you couldn’t pay before on a credit card you now have the opportunity to pay via Plastiq.com. It costs 2.5% for any MasterCard, Visa, or American Express payments. I would definitely use Plastiq to help meet minimum spending requirements, as that provides extremely fruitful returns. I would not use Plastiq for everyday spending, since it is difficult to get enough value out of your miles to make up for the 2.5 cent charge on every dollar.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Nice writeup. I have two mortgages, so I love Plastiq for minimum spends as an easy alternative to the busywork of buying gift cards and money orders.

  2. How long have you used it? Is it reliable?

    I did sign up but just want to make sure. I agree that this would be a hassle free way to make min. spend on credit cards.

  3. John–I haven’t had any problems. The site is easy to use. The only caveat is that payments can be a little slow. So you need to keep your due dates in mind and initiate the payment at least a week in advance.

  4. Plastiq service so far is reliable.. the mortgage payment takes about 5-7 days. The utility payments surprsingly takes 4-5 days. I still send the payments 15 days before the payment due date just in case.
    The credit card rewards help decrease the fees a lot (using my Citi Double cash back CC 2%!)

    If you are a new applicant, I would greatly appreciate it if you’d kindly use my referral link and you will get $200 fee-free dollars.
    https://try.plastiq.com/473671

    Thank you 🙂

  5. Just wish I could get a cash back card that worked with Plastiq. I figured today I could put about 76,000$ on Plastiq. Sure would be nice if they gave a discount for more spend using their service.

  6. If you’re looking for a promo that is current and won’t expire with Plastiq use my referral link: https://try.plastiq.com/390735

    You will save $200 fee free by signing up. I pay my mortgage, but there are tons of other things you can pay and earn CC rewards and points.

  7. All the plastiq transactions have gone smoothly except when trying to unload gift cards.

    Plastiq is running an American Express cards promo at 2% fee until Feb 28, 2017, good time to try out your first payment.

    If anyone interested in signing up, you can use my referral link.

    https://try.plastiq.com/453087

  8. Plastiq has been working great for me. So far I’ve payed a few thousand on my mortgage and have also done utilities. right now they’re offering only 2% fees on Amex and 1.75% fee on paying your taxes (that’s cheaper than the IRS’s 1.87%).

    Here is my referral link and if you spend at least $20 (they charge a $0.50 fee), you get $200 fee free dollar credit. Here’s the link and feel free to ask me if you have any questions:

    https://www.plastiq.com/cardholder_ui/start?referralCode=533212

    My code is the number at the end, 533212.

    Thank You!

    ps I’m trying to satisfy a promotion that if I get 10 referrals, I get $5000 Fee Free Dollars, so I’d be EXTREMELY grateful for everyone who signs up! Thank you in advance!

  9. I’ve used Plastiq to pay my mortgage and rent and have had no issues. Best way to meet credit card spend requirements.

    Current Promo: Make a payment of $100 or more in plastiq with my referral and we both get $2500 in no fee payments.

    Here is my link https://try.plastiq.com/453087.

    Any business cards would qualify for the promotion.

    Details:
    Refer any business with your unique code, and when they make a payment of at least $100 by March 31, 2017, both of you earn 2,500 fee-free dollars.
    That means you can pay $2,500 worth of bills without the Plastiq fee.

  10. I have 6 cards using Plastiq right now for minimum card spend. The fee is just part of the deal when getting 50,000 miles. When not going for a minimum spend I use my ATT More card to get 3x Thankyou points.

  11. New Plastiq Promotion:

    Get 2,500 FFDs ($2,500 of payments with no fees, i.e. Fee Free Dollars, FFDs) when you sign up with the link of someone who has been targeted. I was targeted and the requirements are that you sign up with my link and make a payment of at least $100 by the end of March to get the 2,500 FFDs. Referral and details below:

    https://www.plastiq.com/cardholder_ui/start?referralCode=533212

    My code is the number at the end, 533212.

    Info from Rep I chatted with: users must sign up with your code, enter a business credit card for payments and make a payment with that card to earn the credits that will be manually applied within a business day.

  12. Currently Plastiq is running a promo where you will earn $400 in fee-free dollars after making at least $20 in payment.I have recently tried out using the credit card and it works pretty smoothly.

    If anyone interested in signing up, you can use my referral link, the promo runs until April 28.

    https://try.plastiq.com/400961

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.