Paying bills with a credit card

Paying bills with a credit card can be helpful and beneficial. Learn how to do it thoughtfully.

There’s no way around it—the bills have to be paid. But what about how you make the payments? You might have some options there. Depending on the bill, you might be able to pay in several different ways, including by credit card, check and money order. 

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? Read on to find out what to consider when paying bills with a credit 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 they may charge a convenience fee to do so. These could include:

  • Utilities
  • Cable TV and internet services
  • Cell phones
  • Subscription and streaming services

Other types of bills generally can’t be paid with a credit card. Check with the business, but these might include:

  • Mortgage payments
  • Rent
  • Auto loan payments
  • Student loan payments

Keep in mind that you can’t directly pay a credit card bill with another credit card. 

Benefits of paying bills with a credit card

Paying bills with a credit card can offer several benefits. These could include:

  • Credit-building. If you use your card responsibly over time, it can help you build a credit history and improve your credit score.
  • Convenience. Some credit cards include a variety of digital benefits. For example, Capital One offers AutoPay, which you can set up to automatically pay recurring bills.
  • Rewards. Depending on your card, you may be able to earn rewards, like cash back, points or miles, when you pay bills with a credit card.
  • Flexibility. However you choose to pay—online, over the phone or in person—you can generally use a card.
  • Protection. Credit card statements can act as proof of payment in a dispute.

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.”

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 whether the business allows it and if it makes sense for your situation. To help you decide, you can weigh the pros and cons, like whether you’ll have to pay a fee and whether you can avoid interest charges. If you can do it responsibly, you might find that paying bills with a credit card is a good choice for you.

We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.

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