Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Kellie Jez
Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.
We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.
Student loans are a bill you might resent or loathe. If you don’t like the idea of accruing interest on your student loans for years, you’ve probably contemplated trying to pay off student loan debt as quickly as possible.
You may have even considered using a credit card to pay student loans, only to find that it’s much more complicated than it seems.
In this guide, we walk you through whether or not you can (or should) pay student loans with a credit card!
So, the question remains: can you pay student loans with a credit card?
The answer is yes, but it may be more complicated or costly than you initially expected.
To be clear, you can use credit cards to pay student loans, but you’ll only want to give serious consideration to doing so if you can avoid excessive fees.
For example, if you strategically use balance transfer checks from credit cards with 0% APR promotions, you can pay off student loans while deferring credit card interest.
The most obvious reason why you’d want to pay student loans off with a credit card would be to prevent student loan interest from accruing further.
For example, if your student loans accrue at an annual rate of 7%, a $100,000 student loan balance will accrue $7,000 in interest every single year. If you can find the right way to pay student loans with a credit card, you can interrupt the interest accrual cycle, which can save you thousands of dollars every year.
In contrast to student loans whereby payments are typically automatically deducted every month, you get lots of additional flexibility to determine your repayment schedule if you consolidate your student loans through a credit card.
There are a ton of reasons why you shouldn’t pay student loans with a credit card, but the biggest one is that you will incur enormous additional fees and even more interest if you don’t know how to avoid them.
To start off, do not pay your student loans by pulling out cash from your credit card using a cash advance. Usually, cash advance fees are in the ballpark of 25%, which is overwhelmingly costlier than typical student loan interest.
Also, do not pay your student loans with an ordinary credit card using a balance transfer, because standard balance transfers have high APRs of 20% to 30%, as well as 3% to 5% balance transfer fees. Paying these fees is even worse than a cash advance.
You should always avoid paying student loans with a credit card if the fees outweigh the interest you’d otherwise accumulate if you just paid off the loans the normal way.
Furthermore, your student loan interest may be tax deductible, so paying your student loans with a credit card will eliminate this deduction.
Lastly, if you pay your student loans with a credit card, you won’t be able to negotiate any repayment plans with your original lender or servicer, so just keep that in mind.
There are 3 good methods available for paying student loans with credit cards. In this section, we’ll go over all of them.
There are third-party payment companies that you can use to pay for certain bills or purchases that don’t traditionally accept credit cards. One such example is Plastiq — this company is most popular for facilitating rent payments, mortgage payments, and vendor payments for businesses.
Certain restrictions apply depending on what card you have, but you can even pay for tuition using Plastiq, so you might not even have to take out student loans in the first place.
Plastiq charges a 2.85% fee and the company will send out checks to your creditor on your behalf.
So for example, if you pay off $50,000 in student loans using Plastiq, you’ll be charged a one-time fee of $1,425. You might be using a credit card to earn a solid welcome bonus or ongoing rewards to help offset that fee. After that, you won’t have to worry about your student loans accruing interest any longer — but credit card interest will accrue if you don’t use a 0% offer.
Most federal and government student loans do not allow repayment via credit card. However, if you’re working with a private lender for student loans, you might have the ability to pay your student loans off directly using a credit card.
That way, you can accumulate credit card rewards without accruing any payment fees — be sure to check with your lender before attempting to make any payments.
Hot Tip: Having a huge balance suddenly pop up on your credit report can drop your credit score, so be sure to keep that in mind.
The very last way you can explore paying your student loans is to use credit cards with introductory balance transfer offers available. It’s important to caveat that interest-accruing balance transfers are available on many credit cards — that’s not what we’re aiming for.
Specific credit cards offer introductory promotions after you sign up, whereby you can get a time period of 0% APR on balance transfers. For example, there may be a credit card that offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 months with a 3% balance transfer fee. When you are approved, you can request balance transfer checks, which you can make out to your name and deposit into your bank account. After the check is deposited, you’ll receive a cash infusion in your bank account and a corresponding credit card balance. During the promotional APR period, you will defer credit card interest from accruing on the balance.
For example, if you’re approved for a $20,000 credit limit on a balance transfer card with a 0% balance transfer APR promotion for 12 months with a 3% balance transfer fee, you’ll be able to transfer around $19,400 with a fee of $582. Your total credit card balance will be $19,982, which won’t accrue interest for the introductory 12-month period as long as you make the minimum payment every month. On a student loan interest rate of 7%, that means you’ll avoid accruing $1,400 in interest.
Hot Tip: You should aim to pay the entire balance during the promotional period, as interest will accrue on any balance remaining after the 0% period is over.
What are the best credit cards to pay student loans? With a focus on cards with balance transfer promotions, we’ve got a handful of options to recommend.
Let’s get into it!
|Card||Welcome Offer and Annual Fee||Balance Transfer Benefits|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||
||0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%.|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||
||0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.|
|Citi Double Cash® Card||
||0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 19.24% - 29.24%|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||
||0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, 19.24% - 29.99% variable APR. (rates & fees)|
|Chase Slate Edge℠ Credit Card||
||0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. Variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24% applies after the introductory period ends.|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||
||Low Intro APR: 0% on balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% - 29.99%. Variable APRs will not exceed 29.99%. (rates & fees)|
This all-purpose cash-back card offers great bonus categories, including bonus points for every purchase you make!
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is easily one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. There aren’t many no-annual-fee credit cards that offer multiple great bonus categories like 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% back on all other purchases.
When paired with other Chase cards in the Ultimate Rewards family, you can transfer that cash back into points if you wish – making it one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet.
Probably our all-time favorite balance transfer credit card is the Freedom Unlimited card, which is issued by Chase. Currently, there’s an offer of 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24%..
There’s no annual fee on the Freedom Unlimited card, and the balance transfer fee is 5% with a minimum fee of $5.
Although the balance transfer fee tends to be on the higher end, we like this card because you generally get approved for higher credit limits than other balance transfer credit cards — also, the ability to earn up to 5% cash-back on your purchases makes a huge difference:
This card is famous for offering at least 1.5% cash-back on all purchases. Also, the Freedom Unlimited card has purchase protection, extended warranty, 24/7 fraud protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and secondary rental car coverage. Additional authorized user cards are available for no additional annual fee, too.
The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ sure does pack quite a punch — especially for a no-annual-fee card.
The Freedom Flex card is an incredible option for those looking for a well-rounded cash-back card, or a powerful point-earner when paired with a premium card in the Ultimate Rewards family.
The Freedom Flex card is a similar product to the Freedom Unlimited card; you’ll get a 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%. with a 5% balance transfer fee (minimum $5).
This credit card has no annual fee, too.
With the Freedom Flex card, you can also earn up to 5% cash-back:
The bonus categories are slightly different, but you’ll enjoy the same purchase protection, extended warranty, travel insurance, fraud protection, and no-cost authorized users.
Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
The Citi Double Cash® Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!
This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.
Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.
We love the Double Cash card because it offers simple cash-back rewards plus an attractive welcome bonus with an included balance transfer offer.
At the moment, the balance transfer promotion has 2 parts:
All you need to do is make the minimum payment every month to avoid fees until the introductory period is over.
The Double Cash card earns 2% cash-back: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay your bill (earned as ThankYou Points).
Other credit card benefits include World Elite Mastercard benefits, zero liability on unauthorized charges, 24/7 fraud protection, digital wallets, contactless payments, and access to Citi Entertainment.
This cash-back card offers a capped 3% at U.S. supermarkets, 3% at U.S. gas stations, and 3% on U.S. online retail purchases!
When it comes to cash-back credit cards, there are dozens of options to choose from. So what sets the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express apart from the rest?
This card is excellent at earning cash-back on your everyday purchases at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and on U.S. online retail purchases. So if you regularly spend money on everyday purchases, this could be the perfect card to add to your wallet.
The Amex Blue Cash Everyday card is our first Amex card recommendation in this list. Amex is known for offering great credit limits, which will greatly benefit you if you’re looking for a balance transfer card.
The current balance transfer offer is 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, 19.24% - 29.99% variable APR.. The balance transfer fee is 3% or $5 of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Additionally, you will earn up to 3% cash-back:
We should also note that there are 2 extra benefits to be aware of:
The Chase Slate Edge card is a great option for those looking to build their credit.
Chase revamped the Chase Slate Edge℠ in 2021. It’s a no-annual-fee card designed for those looking to build their credit or those who need a low-interest APR card for a large purchase or balance transfer.
While the Chase Slate Edge card does not offer the opportunity to earn any rewards, it is a great option for those who are just beginning their credit journey, and the card still offers lucrative benefits that any cardholder would find value in.
The Chase Slate Edge card is a credit card built solely for debt consolidation and credit — this balance transfer credit card, which is issued by Chase, does not offer any rewards at all, but it does offer a 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. Variable APR of 20.49% - 29.24% applies after the introductory period ends.
There’s an introductory balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, the balance transfer fee is 5% or $5, whichever is greater.
As another part of the welcome offer, you’ll get an automatic review for a higher credit limit when you pay on time and spend $500 in your first 6 months.
With this card, you’ll be automatically considered for a 2% APR reduction when you pay on time and spend at least $1,000 by your next account anniversary (until your APR reaches the Prime Rate plus 9.74%).
This credit card offers purchase protection, extended warranty, secondary rental car insurance, fraud protection, zero liability protection, and fee-free authorized user cards.
This card is great for those who want to earn cash-back with U.S. supermarkets, U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit, and U.S. gas stations.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a stellar cash-back credit card for those looking to maximize every purchase they make.
With bonus categories like U.S. supermarkets, select streaming services, U.S. gas stations, and transit purchases, this card rewards you for the items you spend the most on in a big way! For those looking to earn up to 6% cash-back on their purchases, this could be the card for you!
The last card we’ll cover is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, which is one of the few cards out there that offers superb rewards and a balance transfer promotion.
Offering a shorter Low Intro APR: 0% on balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% - 29.99%. Variable APRs will not exceed 29.99%., the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card is worth considering due to a higher welcome bonus and better rewards categories.
The balance transfer fee is 3% or $5, whichever is greater.
This card earns up to 6% cash-back on purchases:
Every year, you can also qualify for 2 extra perks:
Paying student loans with a credit card probably isn’t as easy as you initially thought. Indeed, if you log into your student loan repayment portal, you’ll find that you can usually only make loan payments with a bank account.
However, if you use a bill payment service like Plastiq, you can have checks mailed out to your loan servicer by paying a service fee. In the case of Plastiq, the fee is around 2.85%.
Another alternative is to use balance transfer credit cards to pay your student loans — and this is probably the best idea if you can find the right credit cards to use. If you stick with the Freedom Unlimited card, Freedom Flex card, Double Cash card, Amex Blue Cash Everyday card, Chase Slate Edge card, or Amex Blue Cash Preferred card, you might end up saving quite a bit on interest fees.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Slate Edge℠ Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
It depends. If you use a third-party payment provider such as Plastiq, you can pay your student loan or tuition fees with a credit card at an additional fee.
Most loan servicers, including federal and government student loan servicers, do not accept credit card as a form of payment, though a few private lenders do.
You can, but it’s probably not a good idea unless you’ve located a card with a 0% introductory APR promotion on balance transfers.
Yes, student loans are reported on your credit report, so they will affect your credit score. The exact extent to which student loans affect your credit score will depend on your payment history, the size of your student loans, and the portion of the loan that is paid off.
Yes, you can absolutely use Plastiq to pay your student loans. You can also even use Plastiq to pay for your tuition, which might eliminate the need to take out student loans to begin with. Just keep in mind that Plastiq charges a 2.85% fee for these types of payments.
Was this page helpful?