Is it a good idea to use credit cards to pay your bills?
For some payments, it's best not to use a credit card at all. Certain bills—such as rent, your utility or tax bill, or your student loan payments—can't be made with credit or can only be paid with a credit card in exchange for a 2% to 4% service fee. That fee usually cancels out any potential rewards you would earn on the card.
However, making a service payment to pay a large bill once or twice might work in your favor, if you need to spend a certain amount to earn a supersized credit card sign-up bonus. Paying your car and homeowners insurance bill in full can also help you meet that sign-up spending requirement, and these usually don't involve a service fee.
No matter which card you use, make sure you come out ahead when charging your monthly bills. Try not to spend more than your budget allows, pay off the balance each month and make the rewards system work for you. The best part is using the points or cash back on purchases you were already going to make.
Things to know about credit cards
- Some cards come with an annual fee, but they could offer perks each year that significantly defray (or even negate) the fee. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is a good example of this.
- APR rates and credit limits vary based on your individual credit. Credit limits and interest rates for each card are determined based on each cardholder's personal situation, so we did not take that information into account when evaluating these cards. One thing to remember is that if you pay your card off in full every month, you will not be charged interest.
- Banks have the final say on who they accept for a credit card. These recommendations were put together with the assumption that applicants would have average credit or above. That being said, banks decide who they will issue credit cards to using criteria including, but not always limited to, an individual's credit score when evaluating each applicant.
Reviewed has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Reviewed and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
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Meet the testers
Kim Porter is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published on websites such as U.S. News & World Report, Credit Karma, and LifeLock. Her expertise is in credit cards, credit, real estate, running, and travel, and she plans to run a half marathon on each of the seven continents.
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