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Can You Pay Bills With a Credit Card?

Can You Pay Bills With a Credit Card?
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated December 4, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Using your credit card to set up autopay on monthly bills can help you avoid being late on payments and help you rack up valuable credit card points and rewards faster. However, paying bills with a credit card isn’t always a good idea. In some cases, you may have to pay a convenience fee. And, if you tend to carry a balance on your credit card, using your credit to pay regular bills can mean you’ll end up paying interest on those bills, making them higher than they already are. Here's a closer look at how paying bills with a credit works, when it can be a good idea, and when it may not be.     

Is It Possible to Use a Credit Card to Pay Your Bills?

Yes, it is possible to pay many of your regular bills using a credit card. Types of bills that commonly allow credit card payments include:
  • Household utility bills
  • Subscription services
  • Fitness memberships
  • Cable and internet
  • Cell phone
  • Car insurance
  • Medical bills  
  • Taxes

When It May Not Make Sense to Use a Credit Card to Pay Bills  

Even if you are allowed to pay with plastic, using a credit card to pay bills may not make sense for certain bills. In some cases, a company or government agency will charge a “convenience” or “processing fee” for paying a bill with your credit card. The fee might only be a small percentage of the transaction amount. However, that could add up to a significant amount if you are paying a large bill like your taxes or car insurance. Before paying a bill with a credit card, it’s a good idea to check if there will be a fee and how much it will be. If you have a rewards credit card, you may need to do some math to determine if paying the fee may still be worth it. For example, if you pay your $100 electric bill with a 1.5% cash back credit card, but the power company adds on a 3% processing fee for using your credit card, you’ll end up behind by using your card to pay the bill.Recommended: Can You Pay for a Car With a Credit Card? 

Pros of Paying Your Bills With a Credit Card

There are numerous benefits to paying your bills with a credit card. Here are a few to consider.
  • Earning points or rewards Many cards offer reward points that can be used for cash back or travel. Generally, how credit cards work is that the more you spend, the more points you rack up. As a result, putting your recurring bills on your credit can help you earn valuable rewards faster. 
  • Reaching your sign-up bonus requirement Some of the best credit cards offer a sign-up bonus promotion that allows you to earn a large number of extra points or a cash reward if you spend a certain amount on your card within the first three months. Putting your bills on your credit card could help you meet that spending minimum and reap those rewards.
  • Convenience If you use your credit card to place your regular bills on autopay, you won’t have to worry about remembering your payment due dates, and you’ll never accidentally miss a payment. You’ll also save time by not having to log onto your accounts to pay your bills or send checks through the mail each time. 
  • Easier expense tracking Putting your monthly bills on your credit card makes it easy to see how much you are spending on services each month. With all of your outgoing payments listed in one place, you won’t have to check multiple accounts to track your spending. What’s more, many credit card issuers will categorize your expenses and generate detailed spending reports, which can make budgeting easier.
  • Consumer protections If a service provider overcharges you or continues to charge you after you cancel service, you can reach out to your card issuer and file a dispute. Your card issuer will typically refund your money, then investigate the issue on your behalf.

Cons of Paying Your Bills With a Credit Card

There are also a few potential drawbacks to paying your bills with a credit card. Here’s a look at how they stack up. Extra fees Just because you are able to pay your bill with a credit card, doesn’t mean it’s free to do so. Some companies and government agencies will pass the extra cost of processing a credit card on to you. For example, the internal revenue service (IRA) charges 1.98%, and a minimum of $2.50, if you pay your taxes by credit card. Before using your credit card to pay a bill, It’s a good idea to read the fine print and find out if there may be any fees associated with paying by credit card.Racking up interest If you don’t pay your credit card balance in full each month, you will likely incur interest charges on your monthly bills. Therefore, it’s generally only a good idea to put your bills on your card if you’re sure you’ll be able to pay the balance in full each month.Credit utilization ratio might rise If you already charge a lot each month, adding your monthly bills could negatively impact your credit by raising your credit utilization ratio. Your credit utilization ratio is the percent of the total available credit you use each month. It’s generally recommended to keep this to no more than 30%. Going higher could negatively affect your credit score.Increased debt If you’re currently struggling to pay down your credit cards and only pay a portion, or the minimum, of your balance each month, adding your monthly bills will only put you further in the hole.Recommended: Credit Card Terms Explained

Types of Bills You May Be Able to Pay With Your Credit Card

So which bills can you pay with a credit card? And which bills will charge an extra fee if you pay with a card? Here’s a look at common bills and whether or not it’s possible — or sensible — to pay them with your credit card.


Mortgage bills are usually one of the largest monthly expenses a person pays, which could make them a good way to rack up credit card points. Unfortunately, most mortgage servicers will not accept a credit card as a payment method. Among those that do, you will likely have to pay a convenience fee, which could wipe out any reward benefits you may get from your card. 

Insurance Bills

Many insurance companies will accept credit cards for payment. While some charge a fee, many do not, especially if you are paying your premium in full rather than in installments. So, it could make sense to pay these bills with your credit card, but generally only if you can avoid fees.


Like mortgages, rent is often one of the largest budget items for many people, making credit card payments appealing. Unfortunately, many landlords only accept checks or cash for monthly rent payments. If your landlord does accept a credit card, you'll want to check whether or not there will be a fee. If there won’t be a service charge, putting your rent on your credit can be a good way to rack up card benefits with minimal effort. If there is a fee, you’ll want to weigh the benefits against the cost to decide if it is worth it to you. 

Subscription Services

Subscription services, like Spotify, Hulu, and Netflix, tend to make it very easy to pay with a credit card, and typically do not charge a fee. If you want to put monthly bills on your credit, these monthly expenses are typically good candidates.

Student Loans

Whether or not it’s possible to make your student loan payments by credit card will depend on the lender. If your lender allows it and doesn’t charge a convenience fee, using your credit card to pay off student loan debt might make sense. However, you’ll want to be sure that you’ll be able to pay the balance in full each month. Otherwise, you’ll be paying interest on top of interest.  


You may be able to pay your taxes with a credit card, including your federal income taxes, but you’ll generally have to pay a convenience fee. The fee could offset, and potentially outweigh, the value of the spending rewards you'd earn from the transaction itself. If, on the other hand, putting a large tax bill on your credit card could help you unlock a windfall of points (say by meeting your sign-up bonus or pushing you over a spending threshold), it could potentially make sense, provided you’ll be able to pay the balance in full.Recommended: How to Choose a Credit Card 

How Paying Bills With a Credit Card May Impact Your Credit Score

If you pay your credit card bill on time and in full each month, paying bills with a credit card shouldn’t have any negative effect on your credit score. In fact, using your credit card and regularly paying it off shows that you're a responsible borrower, which could be beneficial to your credit. One exception: If you put a lot of monthly bills on your credit card, along with other charges, your credit utilization ratio (how much of your available credit you use every month) could increase, potentially hurting your score. It’s generally recommended to keep your credit utilization to no more than 30% of your credit limit. Going higher could have a negative impact on your credit score.

The Takeaway

It’s often possible to pay bills with a credit card, but it isn’t always free. Before you pay a bill (or set up autopay) using a credit card, you’ll want to be aware of any convenience fees you may have to pay. These fees can diminish or, in many cases, exceed any rewards you might earn from charging the transaction.As a general rule of thumb, paying bills with a credit card makes the most sense when you won’t incur any additional charges, and you know you’ll be able to pay off the balance in full each month.If you’re thinking about getting a new credit card, it can be smart to shop around and compare credit card rates, as well as benefits and spending rewards. With Lantern by SoFi’s credit card marketplace, you can view multiple credit card offers without scouring the web and checking multiple sites. You just need to fill out one short application, and checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.*

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I put car payments on a credit card?
Do I get points for paying bills with a credit card?
Is paying bills with a credit card safer than paying bills with a bank account?
Does paying bills with a credit card count as a purchase?
Photo credit: iStock/Anna Kim

About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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