Paying bills with a credit card

There’s no way around it: Bills have to be paid. But when it comes to how you pay them, you might have options. Depending on the bill, you might be able to pay by credit card, check, money order and more. 

Of all your choices, using a credit card to pay your bills could be the easiest and most convenient. But is it the best solution for you?

Key takeaways

  • Depending on the type of bill and the merchant, you may be able to use a credit card to pay bills.

  • Mortgages, rent and car loans typically can’t be paid with a credit card. 

  • You may need to pay a convenience fee if you pay some bills, like utility bills, with a credit card.

  • Using a credit card for your monthly bills can offer opportunities to earn rewards. But make sure you know what to expect when it comes to things like due dates and interest rates.

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Can you pay bills with a credit card?

You may be able to use your credit card to pay bills. You may also be able to pay your bills with a debit card.

What bills can you pay with a credit card?

There are certain types of bills you can usually pay with a credit card. But be sure to check whether there’s a convenience fee to use a credit card if you’re paying a bill for:

  • Utilities

  • Cable TV and internet services

  • Cellphones

  • Medical bills 

  • Subscriptions and streaming services

Other types of bills generally can’t be paid with a credit card. These might include:

It’s also worth noting that you typically can’t directly pay a credit card bill with another credit card.

Should you pay bills with a credit card?

There really isn’t a set answer to whether you should pay your bills with a credit card. It depends on whether the merchant allows it and whether it makes sense for your situation. If you can do it responsibly, you might find that paying bills with a credit card is a good choice for you.

Benefits of paying bills with a credit card

Making bill payments with your credit card can have some advantages. These could include:

  • Credit-building. If you use your card responsibly over time by doing things like paying your statement on time each month, it can help you build a credit history and improve your credit scores

  • Convenience. Some credit cards include a variety of digital benefits. For example, Capital One offers AutoPay, which lets you set up automatic payments for your monthly credit card bills.

  • Rewards. You may be able to earn rewards like cash back, points or miles when you pay bills with a rewards credit card.

  • Flexibility. However you choose to pay—online, over the phone or in person—you can generally use a card.

Considerations before paying bills with a credit card

If you use a credit card to pay bills, keep in mind that you’re creating another bill to pay. So before you do, it’s a good idea to consider whether you can manage the payment. Consider whether:

  • You understand the terms of the credit card. If you’ve read the credit card customer agreement and the account opening disclosures, you’ll know what to expect when it comes to due dates, fees, interest rates and other information.
  • You can pay the credit card bill on time. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains, you should make your payments on time, every time. That’s because your payment history is an important factor when it comes to your credit scores. And missed or late credit card payments can affect your credit and lead to late fees and higher interest rates, depending on your card.
  • You can pay at least the minimum. Paying your balance in full every billing cycle might help you avoid paying interest. But if you can’t pay your balance in full, the CFPB recommends paying as much as possible—and making at least the minimum credit card payment. As the CFPB explains, “The higher the balance you carry from month to month, the more interest you pay.”

How to pay bills with a credit card

There are different ways to pay bills with your credit card, depending on the type of bill and the situation. If you’re paying a bill in person, you’ll use a payment terminal to swipe, insert or tap your card. If you’re paying over the phone, you’ll give your card details to a customer service representative. 

If you’re paying online, you might enter your card information and personal details into an online payment portal. Depending on your credit card issuer, you may be able to use a virtual card number, which can help avoid exposing your actual credit card number. 

For recurring bills for things like subscription services, you might be able to schedule a monthly automatic payment from your credit card. 

Paying bills with a credit card in a nutshell

Paying bills with a credit card can have pros and cons. Some downsides could include extra fees or interest charges. Benefits could include increased payment flexibility and the opportunity to earn more rewards points. If you can do it responsibly, you might find that paying bills with a credit card is a good choice for you.

Looking for a credit card that’s right for you? Check out how to get pre-approved for a Capital One credit card quickly and easily with no impact to your credit scores.

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