Plastiq – Pay Bills With a Credit Card (2017.6 Update: CSR no longer earning 3x UR)

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2017.6 Update: Recent data points indicate that on or around June 3 or June 4, something changed with the way Plastiq rent/mortgage payments are processed. Charges on the Chase Sapphire Reserve are no longer receiving 3x UR. We are unsure whether this change was implemented by Chase or Plastiq. There are mixed datapoints for whether the Chase Ink Preferred is affected yet, but I assume it can only be a matter of time before that avenue is closed as well. The Citi AT&T Access More is now the only known card to earn 3x for rent or mortgage payments with Plastiq.  (HT: DoC)

Even with these changes, Plastiq can still be a great tool for meeting minimum spend requirements.

Introduction

Plastiq is a 3rd-party payment processor that offers the ability to pay any type of bill with a credit (or debit) card for a fee. Payments can be sent to both businesses and individuals. The recipient will receive an electronic payment if they are in Plastiq’s system, or a check delivered by USPS if they are not.

Recent data points (1, 2) show payments made in Plastiq’s “rent/mortgage” category may be coded as travel and earning 3x Ultimate Rewards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR)! Note that different payees in Plastiq may be coded as different categories. YMMV. Below is a screenshot from my April 2017 statement showing a “Rent/Mortgage” payment that earns 3x UR on the CSR. Additionally,  Plastiq continues to earn 3x points for “Online Purchases” with the Citi AT&T Access More.

Details

  • Credit card payments (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover) – 2.5% fee
  • Debit card payments – 1.0% fee
  • Prepaid cards as processed as credit, but can be used on Plastiq
  • Plastiq often runs promotions that decrease processing fees.
  • Processing fees will be generate their own line item separate from the payment amount on your credit card statement
  • Generous referral program (see below)

Why Do We Care?

Similar to RadPad but with lower fees and the ability to pay anyone, Plastiq is a great way to knock out minimum spend requirements on new credit cards, or to earn extra points/miles when purchases code in bonus categories. Payments made in the rent/mortgage category are coding as “travel/lodging” and qualifying for bonus category spend on the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR), while qualifying for the $300 annual travel credit (YMMV!). Plastiq may also earn 3x points for “online purchases” with the Citi AT&T Access More card. Note that different payees in Plastiq may be coded as different categories, so YMMV. Not all payees are identified as “travel” or “online purchases” in Plastiq, so it is best to do a small test payment to make sure you earn 3x.

Process

Plastiq often (not always) requires you to send in a copy of your rental agreement for verification prior to processing your rent payment, or a bill or invoice for paying other bills. If you have roommates, you can offer to pay rent for the whole house or apartment and have your roommates reimburse you directly. Additionally, you can have the payment sent to your address for hand-delivery to the “landlord”, which may provide a creative outlet for some using this service.

Is the 2.5% Fee Worth It?

The efficacy of earning points or miles while paying a 2.5% fee is highly dependent on your valuation of the points or miles you are earning (use our Points and Miles Values if you aren’t sure). To me, this fee is acceptable in two scenarios:

  1. You are working towards a minimum spend (cheaper than RadPad).
  2. Your purchase codes as “travel” or “online purchases” and earns 3x Ultimate Rewards or Thank You Points, respectively.

I was recently in scenario #1 and used Plastiq to meet the $15,000 minimum spend requirement for 100,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points on the Business Platinum card from American Express by setting up 3 rent payments through Plastiq. I earned a total of 122,500 MR (100,000 MR signup bonus + 15,000 MR for spending $15,000 + 7,500 MR for 1.5x MR on purchases over $5,000 on the Business Platinum) at a cost of $375 ($15,000 * 2.5%). This means I paid 0.3 cents/point ($375*100/122,500). We place a value of 1.6 cents/point on MR, meaning in this situation I bought MR at approximately an 81% discount! If you prefer cashback, you can cash out MR at 1.25 cents/point with the AmEx Platinum for Charles Schwab for a cash profit of $1156!

Scenario #2 will be more subjective based on your individual point valuation. If the credit card you use codes as a bonus 3x category with Plastiq and you are able to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) or Citi Thank You Points (TYP) at a rate of 3 points per dollar spent, you are effectively buying points at 0.83 cent/point. Even if you cash out UR or TYP at their base value of 1 cent/point, you come out ahead using Plastiq to pay rent.

Referrals

Plastiq offers a referral program where the referrer gets $1000 fee-free dollars (FFD) and the new signup receives $500 fee-free dollars after making $500 worth of payments through Plastiq ($1000 and $500 worth of free payment processing without the 2.5% fee). There is no cap on the amount of FFD you can earn through referrals.

Please consider using our referral link to receive your $500 fee-free dollars.

Cash Advances on Visa

Some people have reported seeing a warning that the payment would process on a cash-advance when using a Visa. As reported by Frequent Miler, Plastiq may code the FIRST transaction with someone who is not in their system (such as a landlord) as a cash advance ONLY when using a Visa. Email Plastiq at [email protected] to get your landlord or other payment recipient added to their system in order to avoid this.


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