Plastiq is an online bill payment service that lets you pay almost all of your bills by credit card. This can be a great way to reach spend targets for new credit card signup bonuses. Unlike a few similar services, Plastiq is not limited to billers in their database. Plastiq can be used to pay nearly any business. Payees not in their database are paid by check.
The catch? A fee is charged to the payer (not the payee) for each payment.
- Standard credit card fee: 2.85%
- Standard debit card fee: 1%.
- Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and Amex credit and charge cards are accepted.
- Plastiq cannot be used to pay friends and family. It is intended only for paying bills.
- Consumer gift cards and prepaid cards are not accepted, but payments made with business prepaid cards and payroll cards will continue to be accepted.
- Credit card payments count as purchases, not as cash advances. Plastiq will prevent any payments that could possibly incur cash advance treatment. If Plastiq thinks that there’s a chance of a payment being treated as a cash advance, Plastiq won’t let you finalize that payment.
- Plastiq sometimes requires proof that you are paying a legitimate expense. They may ask you to upload an invoice, for example.
- Plastiq does not submit tax forms on behalf of customers or payees
- Some people have asked if they can have checks that are addressed to others sent to their own house so that they can submit the check with a payment stub or so they can hand the check to the payee directly. Plastiq does not allow this.
What’s new with Plastiq?
What Works? What Doesn’t?
Plastiq originally had one set of rules as to which types of payments were allowed. Soon, though, payment networks and banks came up with their own unique rules which Plastiq was forced to follow. Now, figuring out which cards can be used for which purpose is really hard. The image above is my attempt to summarize the rules. For more complete rules, see the following pages on Plastiq’s website:
- Supported Payments by Card Brand. This shows a detailed list of bill types (rent, mortgage, auto purchase, landscaping, advertising services, etc.) and it indicates whether or not each is payable with Amex, Discover, Mastercard, or Visa. This page appears to cover everything, but it doesn’t. It leaves out some important details covered in the following pages…
- Personal Visa Card Restrictions. Most personal Visa cards (but not business Visa cards) are limited to the following types of payments: Rent, Utilities, Tuition (daycares & camps included), Taxes & Government Fees, Insurance, and Club Fees. Chase, though, allows additional payment types but applies a lower transaction limit to these payments (i.e. lower than your available credit limit).
- American Express Restrictions. Amex has a specific list of payment types they accept. This page summarizes Amex’s rules. Better details of what is allowed and what is not, is found here: FAQ- What can I pay with my American Express?
- Capital One Card Restrictions. Personal Capital One cards can’t be used with Plastiq. Capital One Business cards can be used, but not for Mortgage, Home Equity Line of Credit, Auto Loans, or Student Loans.
- U.S. Bank Credit Card Policy. U.S. Bank cards, cannot be used to pay Mortgage, Home Equity Line of Credit, Auto Loans, or Student Loans.
- Prepaid Card Restriction. Personal prepaid cards and gift cards cannot be used with Plastiq. Business prepaid cards can be used.
Visa cards issued by Alliant, Navy Federal Credit Union, and USAA supposedly won’t earn rewards for Plastiq payments.
Payments never allowed
Some types of payments are never allowed by Plastiq:
- Payments to credit cards
- Payments to self
- Payments to friends or relatives*
- Payments to savings accounts, trust accounts, retirement accounts, health savings accounts, or similar
- Payments to 529 Education Savings Programs
- You may not send payments to your own address so that you can include your bill’s pay stub when you send in the check. Instead, put your account number and other relevant info into Plastiq’s memo field.
* Paying friends or relatives is not allowed unless friends/relatives provide truly billable services. For example, if your uncle is your landlord, you could pay rent to your uncle through Plastiq.
Fee Free Dollars
Plastiq occasionally offers rewards for those signing up new or for various promotions. Rewards come in the form of “Fee Free Dollars” or FFDs. FFDs can be used to pay bills without incurring Plastiq’s usual fees. For example, 1,000 FFDs can be used to pay up to $1,000 in bills with no fees. Since you would normally incur 2.85% fees, 1,000 FFDs will save you $28.50 (2.85% of $1,000).
If you’re new to Plastiq, consider using our referral link: plastiq.com/frequentmiler. With this link, if you spend $5,000 or more in your first 30 days with Plastiq, you’ll earn 1,000 FFDs. That means that you’ll be able to make $1,000 in bill payments with no fees.
For every person who registers with Plastiq via your referral link, you’ll get 100 FFDs (worth $2.85) once that person completes $500 in payments. 100 Fee-Free dollars means that you can pay $100 worth of bills for free (so 100 FFDs are worth 2.85% of $100 = $2.85).
Reasons to consider paying bills with Plastiq
Since Plastiq charges a fee for credit card payments, I wouldn’t recommend using Plastiq to pay bills that can already be paid by credit card with no fee. For those bills that can’t already be paid by credit card, though, there are a number of reasons to consider Plastiq:
- Easy way to meet credit card bonus minimum spend requirements. See: Best credit card offers.
- Earn credit card rewards. It is ideal to use Plastiq when the value of your credit card rewards outweigh Plastiq’s fee. See: Best rewards for everyday spend.
- Earn credit card “big spend” bonuses (bonus points, free nights, companion tickets, elite status, etc.). See: Best Big Spend Bonuses.
- Some credit cards and debit cards offer rewards for frequent use. One example is the Amex Everyday Preferred card that offers a 50% bonus for every billing cycle in which you make 30 eligible charges. Plastiq can be used, for example, to make weekly payments to a variety of payees in order to help increase your monthly charges.
- Convenient to consolidate all bill payments to a single service and/or credit card.
- It is safer to pay by credit card for services or goods not yet fully delivered because it gives you the ability to initiate a credit card chargeback if the payee doesn’t deliver as promised.
- Plastiq makes it possible to pay bills when you do not have the cash readily available. While it is never a good idea to go into credit card debt, paying by credit card can give you more time to get the required funds.
See also: Best credit cards for Plastiq bill payments.
Businesses can use Plastiq for many purposes, such as:
- Paying vendors and suppliers
- Paying employees and contractors
I believe that bill payment fees are legitimate business expenses that will reduce your businesses taxable profits. So, the net cost to your business, after taxes, will be less than Plastiq’s fee. Note: I am not an accountant so you should not take this as professional advice.
Plastiq can be used to pay federal or state taxes. To do so:
- Go to Plastiq’s US tax page.
- Select whether you are paying federal or state taxes, and which state you are from.
- Pick the type of tax you’d like to pay.
- Click “Pay my taxes” and sign into your account.
Note that for federal taxes there are other options for paying with credit and debit cards with lower fees. See: Complete guide to paying taxes via credit card, debit card, or gift card.
How long does a payment take to be delivered?
In my experience, payments by check usually take about a week, but two weeks is not unusual. Keep in mind that the payee who receives the payment may take even longer to process the payment, so it is important to have payments sent well in advance of their due date.