Chase Ink 5X? Send check to self? Pay credit card bill? Combine payments? Is Plastiq reliable? Top 5 Plastiq questions answered…

This morning, via Frequent Miler’s Quick Deals,  I posted a new Plastiq credit card bill payment offer: Pay Utilities by credit card for free.  To get this deal, you must sign up with a promo link (found in the Quick Deal), schedule 6 or more utility payments, and pay with a MasterCard.  As I wrote in that post, I can already pay all of my utilities with a  credit card for free, so this new deal doesn’t excite me, but others may find it helpful.  And, in case you’re wondering, the earlier deal (Pay mortgage, rent, and other bills for only 1.99% fee with Amex or MasterCard) is still available.  Even though the two deals have slightly different signup links, my understanding is that if you sign up for one you will be automatically enrolled in the other.

On the topic of Plastiq, in today’s post, the top 5 answers are on the board…

Plastiq Questions

Question: Will I earn 5 points per dollar by using my Chase Ink card to pay?

Answer: No

Plastiq payments are coded as utilities, and Chase Ink offers 5X points for some purchases that Chase categorizes as utilities (e.g. phone and cable), so this was a sensible question.  I ran a test payment, though, and used the technique I described in another post to check whether or not I earned 5X (see: How to see which purchases qualify for Chase Ink and Freedom bonus categories).  My test purchase didn’t qualify for 5X.

Question: I need to include a pay stub with my payment. Can I have Plastiq send the bill payment to my house so that I can send the check to the payee along with the pay stub?

Answer: No

Here is Plastiq’s longer response:

In short, this is not allowed. The workaround here is that there is a memo section included on the check where the cardholder can put their name, account number, and other critical information the payee requires from the pay stub. We’ve found that this works more often than not for all parties.

Question: Can I use Plastiq to pay my credit card bill?

Answer: No

Question: Can I combine payment sources into one payment?

Answer: No

Many readers have asked about this.  When paying with gift cards, you can’t make a single payment that is larger than the value of the gift card minus Plastiq fees.  This is a problem for those who need to make large payments.  The only solution is to make multiple payments.  In most cases, payees have no problem accepting multiple payments for one bill.  With loan payments (such as mortgages), though, payments may be applied to principal rather than to the monthly bill.  Usually, if you have all payments sent on the same day, this won’t happen, but it really depends upon the bank that handles your loan.  I’d recommend calling your mortgage or loan broker to ask them how it will be handled.

Question: Is Plastiq reliable?

Answer: _______________ (please fill in the blank with your own experience)

I’ve made many bill payments through Plastiq and haven’t had any serious problems. Most of my bill payments have been electronic deposits (ACH), but I made one payment by check.  All payments were delivered in about a week for ACH payments, and two weeks for the check payment.  So, from my own experience, the answer is yes, Plastiq is reliable.

However, quite a few readers have reported problems with Plastiq.  Reported issues include:

  • Errors when trying to make payments (Note: this happened to me when I tried to schedule a recurring payment with a new payment source. After I made a single immediate payment, the problem cleared up)
  • Extremely long payment delivery times
  • Extremely long wait for a returned payment to be re-credited (Note: I had one cancelled payment which was re-credited immediately so YMMV)
  • Requirement to send rental agreement or invoice when paying individuals (Note: this hasn’t happened to me, but YMMV)
  • The worst complaint I’ve read is one in which Plastiq supposedly withdrew money from the payees bank account without permission!  MileNerd passed along the story here.

Another issue with Plastiq is how they’ve changed the rules as stated to me via email and phone conversations multiple times.  Here are a few examples:

  • Initially I was told that contributions to 529 plans were allowed. Later, they reversed course and stopped allowing them.
  • Initially I was told that people could lock in promotional rates long term by scheduling recurring payments and that those rates would be honored even if the customer changed the funding source.  Since then they found that, due to a technical limitation, changing the funding source will cause the rate to be recalculated.
  • Initially I was told that people could use Plastiq to pay their roommate for their share of the rent.  It turned out that wasn’t true.  Plastiq does not allow payments to individuals unless that individual has provided goods or services.

Plastiq is clearly experiencing growing pains, and a number of customers have suffered for it.  However, based on my own experience, I’d guess that most people have little or no trouble.  Is the potential for trouble a good reason to avoid Plastiq?  Obviously each person should make up their own minds about that, but for me its worth the risk.

Consider that almost everything I write about on this blog has potential problems and risks:

  • Credit card applications may be denied
  • Credit card companies, prepaid companies, or banks may forcibly shut down your accounts
  • Shopping portals may not correctly track your purchases
  • Gift cards may be improperly activated
  • Deal purchases may be cancelled
  • Reward flights may be hard or impossible to find

I could go on and on.  All of the things listed above have happened to me at one time or another. And, yes, they’re a pain to deal with.  However, the rewards in this hobby can be fantastic.  So, I keep plugging away despite the problems and risks.  And, obviously, each reader should evaluate their own tolerance for trouble and risk before diving into any of these endeavors.

Related posts

Please also see:

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Comments

  1. I’ve already run into problems with Plastiq. I paid my car payment via check 2 weeks ago and I just received an email today that they found an error and resolved the issue. The check was mailed 2 weeks late (estimated 3 weeks total to arrive). At this point my payment will exceed the grace period and I’ll have to work to get Plastiq or Honda to cover the late fee. Also, this was my first experience using their services. I love the idea, but you are right they have some serious growing pains.

  2. How do you set up recurring payments? I tried to make one payment on a Mastercard to a utility company and it still charged the fee.

    Thanks

    • When you go to make a payment, there’s a drop-down box labelled “Payment Schedule”. Select “Recurring”. You have to setup at least 6 payments to get the zero fee and they must be utility payments

      • Thanks. The issue I had was when setting up weekly payments, it would not let me go past August 31st.

        Any thoughts on how to go past the month and select into September or October on weekly payments?

        Thank you

        • I think there are two potential issues:
          1) They seem to have a bug with the Chrome browser (and many others). I couldn’t get the weekly date selector to stay open long enough for me to change months. From Firefox it worked fine.
          2) I was told that they won’t let you select a date past the expiration date for your credit card.

  3. I originally signed up with Plastiq with the 1.99% deal, bought an Amex gift card with 2.25% cash back, and paid 2 bills with the 1.99% fee. I then went to pay a 3rd bill with that same Amex gift card and they charged 2.5%. I’m not sure if the promo of 1.99% is over or if there was an error in the system, but that is something I found is unreliable. I don’t like how they don’t tell you when the 1.99% promo ends. This does seem like a good opportunity to earn points/miles, but I can see the unreliable side too. Hopefully they will work out these bugs soon

  4. FWIW I was able to pay my roommate through Plastiq with an Amex gift card on August 12th. They did ask for the lease, which I provided, and the payment went through a day later. My roommate received the check earlier this week.

  5. Hi FrequentMiler, I enjoy reading your blog. It’s almost a daily routine to read it. Thanks for your valuable information.

    Is there anyway your site will allow readers to enlarge th fonts? I use iPad (or iPhone occasionall) to browse. Your site does. not allow enlarging the fonts and makes it difficult to read. I am able to enlarge others at boardingarea.

    Thanks for your help.
    Pam

  6. The problem is they are painfully slow and to add insult to injury their customer service is non existent. At least a day to respond to email and then their online chat capability is ghost like. Other than that they had a great idea. They just can’t execute!

      • I don’t think they were ready for all the miles and points bloggers and your manufactured spend scenarios. Too much at once. They’re probably hiring now 🙂

      • August 6-Sent $700 to Navy Federal to test Plastiq ability to pay as promised.
        August 13-Plastiq says payment complete. Navy Federal has no trace of funds.
        August 17-Email Plastiq after searching their website trying to find customer service email or telephone number. In the spirit of AMEX they hide it well.
        August 18-Plastiq claims they know of no rejection.
        August 18-I contact Navy Federal. They ask for 18 digit ACH trace.
        August 18-I contact Plastiq by telephone and give up the call after agent does not know what an ACH is.
        August 18-I email Plastiq and ask them for the date of completion and the 18 digit trace.
        August 20-Plastiq finally responds and says that will take another 2 business days.
        August 25-Plastiq finally says the funds were rejected. Rejection notice indicates the rejection occurred on the same date that they indicated the transfer was complete on August 13. It takes them 2 weeks to let a customer know that a fund transfer was not successful. Truly bush league………

  7. So. This is little confusing on “Free” part. Are payments to Mortgage are free with Mastercard? I have about 100 MC GC and want to see if I can schedule 100 payments using those to my mortgage company for free. OR is only some “utilities” are free?

    • Only utilities are free and only when you schedule 6 or more payments with the same payment source. So I don’t think this will help your situation. If you’re willing to eat the 1.99% fee you can use the gift cards to pay your mortgage.

    • Hi M,

      If you add the payee and their funding information yourself, you will be prompted to decide whether it’s electronic or check.

      If you didn’t have to add the payee manually, then you can go to the dashboard, click on the payment which will show further details, and you should see a field called ‘Medium’ and that will identify how the payment is being sent.

      And as always, if you have an urgent issue or question, please email support@plastiq.com or chat us when you log-in to the app.

      Thanks,
      Rebecca

      Best,
      Rebecca

  8. Frequent miler, I feel this plastique service is great to buy Amex gc and then pay bills. However I know you like Redbird too. What’s your preference. I know Redbird is hit and miss and plastique charges but less hassle in most cases.

  9. Payment made to mortgage on 8/5. Plastiq website claims the check was mailed 8/6. Not received yet by my company. Plastiq claims “it can take 10 business days.” I’m skeptical that they actually mailed the check on 8/6. If the rule is simply “it takes ten business days,” that’s fine I guess. It is not much use to me to have to wait 15 days and to still be uncertain but others may find it useful.

    What annoys me is that, unless my case is unusual or the delivery got lost through no fault of plastiq, I am suspicious that the payment truly went into the mail on the date they claim. Maybe. But I’m skeptical. I’d love to be able to see the actual post mark.

    If you have vendors where being late isn’t a big issue, it isn’t a big deal, and I’m just one datapoint, but for things like mortgage, Based on my experience I am going to monitor things for a couple of months before I use them again. And if you do use them, take the 10 business days thing seriously.

    • Please report back. It will be dated the date they printed it but not necessarily when they mailed it. We could only assume it went the same day or next day. The print date and receipt date will be known but not the days between mailing it out and mail transit. Guess we will see. I’m interested because I have a large mortgage to pay.

      • That’s interesting, but worth reiterating, because when I log into my account with plastiq, it doesn’t mention any printing date but says unambiguously that the check was “mailed” on 8/6. Again, if “mailed” is merely plastiq-speak for “printed” or “processed” or something else like that, then (1) that would be consistent with the fact that my mortgage company hasn’t received it yet, and (2) they should disclose that much more clearly when they are taking large payments for people’s mortgages. They certainly charged my credit card on 8/5.

      • Well, I guess all I had to do was complain — my payment posted today, with a paid date of 8/18, so 12 calendar days after plastiq’s date of mailing. So, good to know it worked, but plan accordingly and the 10 business day caution seems to be something that you must take into account.

        • Thanks for the follow up. Most mortgages give a grace period until the 15th so best to send it on the 1st or so. I did twitter support and got a reply that delays should no longer exist going forward. I also saw that on some blogs. Also twitter replies are quicker than support questions logged into your account as it appears. I sent both at the same time. Got my twitter reply early am and still waiting for the email reply.

  10. I made mortgage payment via EFT on Aug 5th, it shows as complete (i.e. mortgage company received) as of Aug 11th, but 9 days later it is still now showing on my mortgage account. I don’t debate that EFT occurred on Aug 11th, but folks should know that the process doesn’t end there – assume you need to leave time on back end for mortgage company to go through their wires and apply to your account. That has now been 9 days for me and who knows how many more to go. Also, the EFT memo field would only support around 15 characters, which was not enough to put “Payment” + my name + my account number as instructed by my mortgage company. So I put my account number only. We’ll see if it works out, fingers crossed.

  11. I would recommend you first do a small test transaction, like a couple of bucks. Give it plenty of time like 15 days. If it doesn’t work then no sweat, you loose a couple of bucks. If it does, then you can move increase the amount, although you risk not qualifiying for the promotinal rate. I’m not sure when that ends.

  12. Used Plastiq to pay my mortgage. Supposedly the check was mailed on Aug 14….just checked my account and it has still not been received by my mortgage company (10 days later). Starting to get worried 🙁

  13. Good value but slooooooow. I’ve send in a few payments to a car loan. Three went promptly and one took weeks for Plastiq to send out. Other payments have been pending for more than a week so I called them today and the rep had no information on when they would be sent. I have my mortgage payment scheduled to go out tomorrow and am getting nervous about that. It’s a great service, they just need to get their act together. Financial services need to be reliable…

  14. August 6-Sent $700 to Navy Federal to test Plastiq ability to pay as promised.
    August 13-Plastiq says payment complete. Navy Federal has no trace of funds.
    August 17-Email Plastiq after searching their website trying to find customer service email or telephone number. In the spirit of AMEX they hide it well.
    August 18-Plastiq claims they know of no rejection.
    August 18-I contact Navy Federal. They ask for 18 digit ACH trace.
    August 18-I contact Plastiq by telephone and give up the call after agent does not know what an ACH is.
    August 18-I email Plastiq and ask them for the date of completion and the 18 digit trace.
    August 20-Plastiq finally responds and says that will take another 2 business days.
    August 25-Plastiq finally says the funds were rejected. Rejection notice indicates the rejection occurred on the same date that they indicated the transfer was complete on August 13. It takes them 2 weeks to let a customer know that a fund transfer was not successful. Truly bush league………

  15. Not impressed with Plastiq. Tried it for two electronic payments. Plastiq asserts that these take 3-5 business days. As of today, 8 business days out, Plastiq swears the payments have been sent. Merchants have no record of receipt. Plastiq now says that 3-5 days is an “estimate.” but they should be there within another week!? I could have mailed a check from my home and it would have gotten there, and back to me by now using the Postal Service.

    I would avoid. If these payments don’t make it there-I’ll dispute the charges on my AMEX.

    I agree with the previous poster. Pretty bush league.

    • My first payment took 5 days to process and another 3 to 5 days mailing time. There issue is delays in cutting the check and mailing I’m finding. They also claim that’s getting better. I just scheduled another payment to give it one more chance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *