The Complete Guide to Plastiq: Pay Bills and Earn Points in 2017

Plastiq

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Whether you’re hitting a minimum spend to earn a nice sign-up bonus or earning the last of some points necessary to book a vacation, it’s much easier to meet your goals when you can put your big purchases on a credit card.

Unfortunately, some of our biggest expenses each month (like rent, mortgage payments, or utility bills) might not accept credit cards at all. That’s where Plastiq can be a huge help!

Let’s dig into how this service can help you earn tons of miles and points and get you closer to your next amazing redemption.

What Is Plastiq?

Plastiq is a service that allows you to pay pretty much any bill with a credit card. If some billers still won’t let you pay directly with a credit card, this service is your key to bypassing that restriction.

Basically, when you pay Plastiq with a credit card, they cut a check on your behalf to the recipient.

There are a few restrictions to note. First, the business/individuals you are paying must be located in the U.S. or Canada. Plastiq cannot be used to fund things like retirement accounts and health savings accounts.

And perhaps it goes without saying, but you cannot pay yourself either.

How Do You Make a Payment?

Plastiq really shines because they make the payment process so incredibly easy. Both adding a credit card to your account and adding a business to pay are extremely simple processes.

Platiq Add Card
Adding a card to your profile on Plastiq is easy!

To add a credit card, you simply enter the card info and its billing address. Once you have a card saved to your profile, you can add a recipient to pay. The recipient can be either a business/organization or an individual (not yourself).

Information you’ll need to enter can include the recipient name, mailing address, contact information, and account number (if applicable).

What Cards Can Be Used?

Plastiq accepts American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. This means you can use cards from Chase, Citi, Bank of America, American Express, and more.

If you’ve got a travel rewards credit card, you’ll probably be interested in learning more about this service!

Will the Charge Process as a Cash Advance?

The short answer is no. When you use Plastiq, the transaction will process as a purchase.

However, stay aware when using Visa cards. If the biller is not already in the Plastiq system, your transaction might be processed as a cash advance.

If the payment is going to be processed as a cash advance, the system will issue a warning so you can cancel before the payment is made.

A simple way to prevent this is to make a small test payment with a card on the American Express or MasterCard network. Once this is done, the biller will be in the system, and you won’t run into issues with Visa cards.

What Are the Fees?

The standard processing fee charged by Plastiq is 2.5% for credit cards and 1% for debit cards.

Keep an eye out for reduced fees; they regularly run promotions with both American Express and Mastercard that reduce the fee to 2%.

How Long Does a Payment Take?

You can either schedule a payment for a future date or start a payment immediately. If you choose to start your payment today, your credit card will be charged immediately. However, if you schedule a payment for a future date, your credit card will be charged on the date you specify.

Once a payment has been processed, it will generally take 5 to 7 business days for the check to be delivered to the recipient. It’s easy to schedule payments in advance, since Plastiq’s scheduling function indicates the check delivery date based on your payment processing date.

What Are Common Uses for Plastiq?

Plastiq Pay Rent
You might as well earn miles and points when paying your rent or mortgage!

The sky’s the limit when you think about how many goods or services you can purchase via Plastiq. Here are some of the most common uses:

Popular Uses of Plastiq
RentMortgage
TuitionUtilities
InsuranceTaxes

When Should You Use Plastiq?

Now that we’ve discussed how to make a payment and reviewed the types of recipients you can pay, let’s talk about when you should use their service.

With a 2.5% processing fee for credit cards, it’s important to consider the benefit you will receive before submitting a payment.

Earn a Sign-Up Bonus

Let’s say you’ve opened a new card or 2. Each card comes with a sign-up bonus if you hit the minimum spending requirement in the stated timeframe. For many of us, paying rent or a mortgage is where we spend a sizable chunk of our money.

For a small fee, you can now put those large expenses on your new credit card to help you earn the sign-up bonus. When you consider the value of the points versus the fee, you’ll often see that the sign-up bonus far outweighs the fee.

Hot Tip: Check out our featured credit cards list to see the great sign-up bonuses offered right now. Many of them are large enough to allow you to book a one-way award flight!

Hit a Big Spend Bonus

Many cards provide annual bonuses for hitting specific spending thresholds. From free hotel nights to bonus miles/points to elite status, using Plastiq to pay your bills can help you earn these perks. You’ll have to decide if these perks outweigh the processing fee in your particular situation.

Here are some examples of the perks you could earn:

Credit CardSpending RequirementPerks
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express$30,000/$60,00015,000 SkyMiles and MQMs toward status at each benchmark
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express$30,000SPG Gold status (also provides Gold status with Marriott and Ritz-Carlton)
The JetBlue Plus Card$50,000Mosaic status for the remainder of the calendar year and the following year
Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card$30,000Travel Together companion ticket
Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card$75,000Platinum status (also provides Platinum status with Marriott and SPG); Gold status at $10,000
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card110,000 Rapid Rewards pointsCompanion Pass for the remainder of the current year and the following year
Citi® Hilton Honors™ Reserve Card$40,000Diamond status; free weekend night at $10,000
Hilton Honors™ Surpass® Card from American Express$40,000Diamond status

Another perk for those who fly Delta regularly is the Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver that can be earned through one of their co-branded American Express cards. If you spend $25,000 in a calendar year on one of these cards, it waives the requirement that you must hit spending thresholds with Delta to earn status.

United has a similar arrangement with the United MileagePlus® Explorer Card. With $25,000 in spending, the Premier Qualifying Dollar requirement is waived up to Premier Platinum status. (Earning Premier 1K status will still require you to spend $12,000 on United flights.)

Points Outweigh the Fees

If you’re not working on a minimum spend or an annual big spend bonus, make sure you carefully consider which card you use when paying via Plastiq.

Since you’ll be paying a 2.5% fee, you will want to use a card that earns a category bonus if at all possible. If you will only be earning 1x points from your card, it’s best to top off an account so you can book an award.

Additionally, it might be worth it for you to earn points this way if you want to fly business or first class, since points are much more valuable when booking premium cabin travel.

How To Earn Fee-Free Dollars?

Plastiq Referral
Refer friends to make Plastiq an even better deal for earning miles and points!

Plastiq has a referral program that allows you to earn fee-free dollars. If you have 1,000 fee-free dollars, that means you can pay a bill of $1,000 without incurring the normal 2.5% processing fee.

Referring friends is a great way to make the service even more valuable to you!

Final Thoughts

It’s safe to say Plastiq is one of our favorite tools for earning miles and points. It allows you to use a credit card to pay bills that typically don’t accept credit cards. When you consider the fact that some of our biggest recurring expenses don’t accept credit cards, a service like this can really come through!

With a little strategic use, you will be on your way to a new sign-up bonus or one of the many annual big spend bonuses. Finally, keep an eye out for promotional fee reductions so you can get the most bang for your buck!

Soon enough, you’ll have earned so many miles you won’t know what to do with them. Might we make a suggestion?

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 2 Starpoints® for each dollar of eligible purchases spent on the Card at participating SPG® & Marriott Rewards® hotels. Earn 1 Starpoint for all other purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on International purchases.
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights, all with no blackout dates.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply Now Full review

FAQ

What is Plastiq?
Plastiq is a bill pay service that allows you to use a credit card to make payments. They send a check or initiate an electronic bank transfer to the payee on your behalf.

Who can I pay with Plastiq?
You can pay businesses, organizations, and individuals located in the U.S. or Canada.

What cards are accepted by Plastiq?
You can use American Express, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover for almost all Plastiq payments.

What are the fees to use Plastiq?
They charge a 2.5% processing fee for credit cards, but often run promotions that reduce the fee. The fee for debit cards is 1%.

How long do payments take to be delivered?
Once a payment has been processed, checks are delivered in 5-7 business days.