Over the past few months I’ve written about some great ways to pay a merchant that does not accept credit card. Through the bill payment system Plastiq you can actually use a credit card to pay your bills and Plastiq will send a check directly to the merchant. While Plastiq does charge a 2.5% fee for their service, there are some times when the points/cash back you earn through your credit card is worth more then the fee. Some examples of bills you can pay include: college tuition, preschool tuition, summer camp, contractor, lawyer, accountant, mortgage (just MasterCard and Discover), rent (just MasterCard and Discover), plumber, landscaper, etc.
There are currently two “promotions” where paying these bills 100% definitely makes sense!
- Earn 3x points with your Chase Ink Preferred credit card. For some unknown reason, the Chase Ink Preferred credit card is coding Plastiq payments as 3x points (instead of the normal 1x points you earn on most purchases). Although you are paying a 2.5% fee, the points you earn will be worth more then the fee. If you redeem the points for pure cash, you’ll earn a 3% return minus the 2.5% fee, for a total of 0.5% cash back. Or, if you transfer your points to a partner loyalty program and value your points at 2 cents per point like I do, then the 3x points is worth 6% cash back. After the 2.5% fee you are really coming out ahead at 3.5% which is great (6% return minus 2.5% fee = 3.5%) ! Learn more about this method here.
- Pay no fees using a Mastercard. Plastiq recently announced a in partnership with Masterpass where if you use a Mastercard to pay through the Masterpass payment option, you’ll pay no fees up to a certain limit. Any payments paid/scheduled by May 31st will have a cap of $500 and any payments paid/scheduled on June 1st or after will have a cap of $250. This promotion ends September 30, 2018. Learn more about this promotion here.
Since the Chase Ink Preferred credit card is a Visa card you cannot combine it with the MasterPass promotion. So are you better off using your Chase Ink Preferred credit card or a MasterCard, assuming you have both? Some popular MasterCards include: JetBlue, IHG, Citi AAdvantage, Citi Double Cash.
With the Chase Ink Preferred card, let’s assume you’ll use the points earned to transfer to a partner loyalty program and redeem at 2 cents per point. As I ran the math above, that means you’ll come out ahead with a 3.5% return (6% with the points earned – 2.5% Plastiq fee). Now let’s compare that to using a MasterCard, such as JetBlue. Their points are worth about 1.3 cents per points which means you end up with a 1.3% return on your payment. Although you are not paying a fee it is still a lower return then the Chase Ink Preferred card. Same goes for the other points/miles earning credit card or even a card that gives you a fixed 2% cash back return.
So why would you take advantage of the Masterpass promotion instead of using your Chase Ink Preferred credit card?
The main reason one would take advantage of the Masterpass promotion is because you can pay your rent or mortgage using a MasterCard. Visa does not allow rent/mortgage payments through Plastiq, so using a MasterCard is your best option for this popular payment type. Although since there is a cap you’ll have to make multiple payments, most likely, to fully pay your bill.
Also, not everyone has a Chase Ink Preferred (although you might want to consider it!) and the chances of having one of many MasterCard credit cards is higher.
Overall though, I highly suggest seeing what bills you have that you can pay through Plastiq to take advantage of these free points/cash back options. I’ve personally been taking advantage of both and have been making a lot of money/earning points through Plastiq. You can learn more about my experience here.