Complete guide to Plastiq credit card payments

Plastiq is an online bill payment service that lets you pay almost all of your bills by credit card.  Unlike a few similar services, Plastiq is not limited to billers in their database.  Plastiq can be used to pay nearly any biller in the US. or Canada.  Payees not in their database are paid by check.

The catch?  A fee is charged to the payer (not the payee) for each payment.

plastiq-home-page

Quick info

  • Standard credit card fee:  2.5%, but lower promotional rates are sometimes available.
  • Standard debit card fee: 1%. Unfortunately, gift cards and prepaid cards are treated as credit cards.
  • Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and Amex cards are accepted
  • Credit card payments count as purchases, not as cash advances (Note: As of 10/19/16 Visa payments where the payee has no relationship with Plastiq may be put through as a cash advance. If you don’t get a warning, then you’re fine. More info here.)
  • Plastiq payments for the business type “Rent, Mortgage, and Real Estate” sometimes earn extra rewards points. While this no longer works with most cards, the Citi AT&T Access More card still reportedly earns 3X (this card is no longer available to new applicants, but you may be able to product change from another Citi card).  Also, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card has been earning 3X points for many different types of Plastiq payments, but there’s no guarantee that this will last long.
  • Amex gift cards, and Visa and MasterCard gift cards are accepted.  Plastiq sometimes imposes a limit on the number of gift cards that can be used per month, but this seems to happen only to particular users.
  • Plastiq does not accept Amex or Visa credit cards for mortgage payments.  You must use Mastercard or Discover for these.
  • Plastiq sometimes requires proof that you are paying a legitimate expense. They may ask you to email 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.

Referral Program

Plastiq lets you earn “Fee-free dollars” (FFDs) for referring friends.  FFDs are used to make payments without fees.  For every person who registers with Plastiq via your referral link, you’ll get 1000 FFDs and that person will get 500 FFDs once they’ve paid $500 worth of bills with Plastiq.

If you’re new to Plastiq, please consider using my referral link: try.plastiq.com/271735

Is Plastiq reliable?

I’ve made many bill payments through Plastiq and haven’t had any serious problems. In my experience, payments are typically delivered in about a week, but sometimes take as long as 2 weeks.

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 to Plastiq support when paying individuals
  • 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.

If you plan to try out Plastiq, I highly recommend submitting payments far in advance of their due date until you get a better idea of how long those payments take to process by Plastiq and by the payee.

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 per month 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.

Payments allowed

Almost any business or person in any industry and for any amount can be paid on Plastiq so long as there is a good/service being provided.  This list should give you some ideas:

  • Car payments (monthly leases)
  • Rent
  • Mortgage (NOTE: Amex and Visa credit cards cannot be used to make mortgage payments)
  • Taxes
  • Tuition
  • Condo fees
  • Insurance
  • Contractors
  • Nannies, babysitters
  • Landscapers
  • Purchase car, boat
  • Professional services: Law firms, Accounting firms, PR agencies, etc.
  • Sports clubs/country clubs/social clubs

Special notes:

  • Payments to individuals are allowed in exchange for goods and/or services but you may need to supply an invoice to Plastiq to get the payment through
  • Payments from outside of the US/Canada are allowed as long as recipient is in US/Canada

Payments not allowed

  • Payments to credit cards
  • Payments to self
  • Payments to friends or relatives*
  • Payments to recipients outside Canada and US (note, the sender can be from outside Canada and US, just not the recipient)
  • 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.
  • Mortgage payments cannot be made with Amex or Visa credit cards (MasterCard, Discover, and even Visa debit cards are fine, though)

It is in Plastiq’s discretion to refund or void any payments like those above that are not allowed.

* 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.

Businesses

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.

Paying Taxes

Plastiq can be used to pay federal or state taxes.  To do so:

  1. Go to Plastiq’s US tax page.
  2. Select whether you are paying federal or state taxes, and which state you are from.
  3. Pick the type of tax you’d like to pay.
  4. 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.

Gift cards

Visa, MasterCard, and Amex gift cards are allowed. To use a gift card, simply add it as a new payment card, then select it as your payment source when paying a bill.

Plastiq understands that gift cards may be added and removed from the system frequently. It is possible, though, that their risk team will contact you for information about what you’re doing. As long as you answer honestly it shouldn’t be a problem.  For example, it is fine to say that you bought the gift cards at a discount, or that you earned cash back through a portal, or that you earned extra rewards by buying gift cards at an office supply store, etc.

In my experience, Plastiq does not put a $1 hold on your gift card when you add it to the system, so it is easy to use up the entire value of a gift card at once.

UPDATE 7/5/2016: Two separate readers have reported that Plastiq had imposed a monthly limit on the number of gift cards they could use. Plastiq tells me that this limit is not universal.  This restriction is only in place in certain situations.

How long does a payment take to be delivered?

In my experience, payments 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.

Comments

  1. Just came across this very useful post and discussion. Thanks!

    FYI – and especially if you have any insight into this situation – Plastiq is currently running a questionable 2X promotion with American Express membership rewards. Here is the language from the email I received:

    “Now you can earn 2x rewards when you use Plastiq and your American Express card!

    Earn 1 additional Membership Rewards point for each dollar spent through Plastiq. Enroll now to earn more points. Offer is available through 12/31/16.”

    I call this questionable, however, because when I spoke with both Amex Membership Rewards and with Amex Customer Service for my Amex Everyday Preferred card (which awards MR points today), neither representative could find any record of this Plastiq offer. (Plastiq provides no code to reference in tracking down the offer.)

    You can find the offer at this link: https://www.plastiq.com/blog/2016/10/promotion-earn-double-the-amex-rewards-when-you-pay-through-plastiq/

    Again, if you can shed any light on this, that would be great. But at the very least, I wanted to provide this info for your and your readers’ information. Thanks.

    • It’s not a Plastiq promotion. It’s an AMEX SMALL BUSINESS offer. Use your amex at a small business and get double the points. Plastiq, I guess, is considered a small business. I paid my mortgage with my SPG Amex last week, I will report back if I get double SPG points.

  2. Hi Meg,

    Thanks, but I know the small business offer to which you’re referring. The one I referenced is a different offer. It’s not limited to small business, and in fact explicitly says this at the link I provided above.

    “This means that you get double the rewards when you pay your rent or mortgage, tuition, property taxes, auto loan, and anything else you can think of, so long as you do it through Plastiq.”

    I just called Amex customer service about this, using the number for my Everyday Preferred card, which provides Membership Rewards points. Yet again, I was told there is no record of any such offer from Plastiq. That’s now three Amex reps, from both customer service and Membership Rewards itself, who have told me this. This seems increasingly suspicious to me.

    • You are paying plastiq – that is the small business. It’s not a plastiq promotion, it is a amex small business promotion. That’s why the Amex reps don’t know plastiq. If you tell them that plastiq is a small business, they will understand.

      i just paid my daughter’s college bill, using plastiq and my SPG Amex. I will get the double points for my SPG.

  3. Updated guide to indicate that Plastiq now accepts Discover with 2.5% fee. This is a money maker with your first year of the Discover It Miles card. The Discover It Miles card is usually a 1.5% cash back card, but for your first 12 months, they’ll double all cash back. So it is really a 3% cash back card for the first year.

    If anyone has a JCB Marukai card, I’d love to know whether it now works with Plastiq (since it uses Discover’s payment network).

    See: http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/best-rewards-for-everyday-spend/

  4. I set up a new payment today using Mastercard and the rate for Mastercard is now back to the standard 2.5% (confirmed by Plastiq customer service)

  5. Greg, I am not familiar at all with Plastic, but now I will research it. But before I invest time in it can you answer a simple question? Would I be able to pay my monthly health insurance premium with it?They used to accept credit card payments, but now they only accept only debit cards or direct bank transfers. I used to get lots of miles/points when I was able to pay my monthly premium by credit card, but now that that option is lost I wonder if by paying via Plastic I can still earn points/miles on my credit card.

    • Yes, you can pay your health insurance premium. Just keep in mind that if you only earn 1 mile per dollar, then the 2.5% fee means that you’re paying 2.5 cents per mile. That’s not necessarily a smart move. That’s why I mainly recommend using Plastiq for meeting credit card minimum spend requirements, or using it with cards that offer terrific value for the spend.

  6. I’m thinking about putting a large estimated state tax payment on my Chase SW card so I can get the companion pass first week of January as opposed to spending that extra 10k over the next couple of months. Plastiq is 2.5% vs the tax commission which is 3%. I’m wondering if the charges post to your cc account like normal (within a day or so), or if they stay pending until the check clears? Regardless of when the check gets there, I need the points to post before the 28th so if there’s a possibility it could take a few weeks for a check to get there/clear for posted charges I probably will use the tax commission. Thanks!

  7. I sent a payment through Plastiq for my mortgage payment. I got a notice from Plastiq saying the check has been sent about 2 weeks ago, and my credit card has been charged. However, up to this point, the check is either not received or not cashed. The payment status on Plastiq is “sent” but not “complete”. I had to make another online payment today because it is already the due day. My question is what if my mortgage company never receives the check, will plastiq refund me? Will there be a fee? I am going to call Plastiq, but just want to know if anyone had similar experiences.

  8. Has anyone used the Fidelity Amex Card, and then put the money into their Roth?
    I’d like to pay student loans and then put the money in the retirement fund?

  9. Hello!
    I’m new user of Plastiq.
    I’d like to use it to pay a friend for her personal services (personal trainer). She has no business registered. Would you guys suggest me how to make n invoice for a case like this?
    Appreciate it!

  10. Great post. I have a monthly rent payment of about 2.5K. Will Plastiq have an issue if I make a payment of 5K on my amex business plat card in order to also get 1.5x MR points?

    In general, do apartment management companies have an issue with pre-payments? I suppose it will simply reflect as a credit in the next statement?

    • To answer your question on Plastiq…

      Plastiq will not have any issue. I paid 3 months of mortgage using Plastiq to get 2x shop small offer from AMEX in Dec ’16.

    • About prepaying rent. In my case Plastiq did have problem with it. Me lease is 1050$, so I made 2 payments or 2100$ to prepay it for 4 month and therefore meet spending requirements on SPG Amex card. They asked for supporting documents, so I sent my lease agreement.
      The msg I got:
      “Thank you for providing that, we do not support the prepayment of rent but will accept one of these payments. The second one has been canceled and refunded.”
      Yep(

      • The flip side is that I have used plastiq for a long time and have had no issues. They will occasionally ask me to send a screenshot of the pending credit card charge but that’s about it. Wells Fargo now accepts plastiq, so payments get sent electronically.

        • How do you add wells fargo to send electronically ? when I tried to add “wells fargo” it asked me for where the check should be mailed

      • That’s interesting because I pre-paid 5 months of mortgage payments at the end of the year through Plastiq.

  11. I suppose one needs to allow 2 to 2 and a half weeks from payment request to receipt of funds when Plastiq sends by check. Plastiq provides obviously false status information about when a check is mailed. No payment I have made has ever been received by the “guaranteed delivery date.” Lateness is always blamed on USPS. Checks are valid only for 30 days. Plastiq will not process a refund automatically–even if the check is no longer valid to be cashed. One must endure their nearly unbearable and smarmy customer service in order to request a refund.

  12. Anyone ever have their payment cancelled if the name and billing address don’t match up with the name and property address on the account for the mortgage (because it’s for someone else)?

  13. All discussions and referrals for the business offer of $2500 in Fee Free Dollars should go in this Quick Deal post: http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2017/02/23/2500-fee-free-credit-card-spend-business-card-holders/

    I am in the process of removing the comments about that deal from this page. Please re-post over there if needed. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I want to keep the discussion in one place and try to ensure that we don’t have bad referral links out there.

  14. My sis is a victim of identity theft. She wants to know if they do a credit check – and if you have to add your SS# to the account.

  15. I am using Plastiq to fulfill my SPG $5k minimum spend. I have made a series of $20 payments on a few of our family member’s accounts to get the FFDs. Plastiq charged me $20.50 which I understand, but I noticed that American Express seems to charge a $1 fee for each transaction I’m making with Plastiq. Has anyone else experienced this?

  16. Plastiq isn’t reliable! Yesterday’s VCG payment FAILED to WELLS FARGO MORTGAGE. Here’s the email I received…

    Scheduled Payment Failed

    We’re very sorry, but we’re experiencing problems processing your $200.00 scheduled card payment to WELLS FARGO HOME MORTGAGE on your Visa ending in XXXX

    We recommend double checking your provided card information and calling your issuing bank to ensure that they have approved the charge.

    So I called the number on back of card and they said all merchant transactions with Plastiq have been suspended. No further details were provided.

    • Do you mean that they paid that bill through Plastiq? Most likely Plastiq will catch it and reverse the payment. If the payment goes through then it should be fine (as long as Chase accepts the payment, of course).

      • I paid my rent using plastiq service with Citi Premier and I can confirm that it DOES NOT earn 3X points . Payment posted as Misc Govt Services.

        • Rex: Thanks for that data point. Can you double check the category that your rent is paid under within your Plastiq account? Go to Manage Recipients, then click to Edit the recipient you pay rent to, and look at the Category. If it doesn’t say “Rent / Mortgage” (or something like that), then that explains why you didn’t get 3X. I believe that only Rent / Mortgage is coding as lodging which then some credit card companies treat as travel.

        • I used to have 3X on rent at Plastiq but the last statement shows I only get 1X. Nothing was changed, including the category of the recipient in Plastiq. But the category of the rent charge from Plastiq changed from “Miscellaneous – REAL ESTATE AGENTS AND MANAGERS RENTALS” to “Services – UTILITIES-ELECTRIC,GAS,SANITARY,WATER”.

  17. any CA fee on Amex Hilton card for paying mortgage? Will Amex shut down my card? Thinking of applying for that card but I have no other ways to meet the $3k spend req.

  18. Be cautious on the referral program. I referred a friend who signed up and I received $800 FFD (Fee Free Dollars). They don’t tell you that they don’t remove them automatically and I already had recurring payments set up with Fees of $51 each and customer support says they do not credit any fees back and that you have to “request” each fee to be removed manually before it is sent. When I went into the next payment scheduled to check this out I clicked the button that says Apply FFD’s and when I hit it, it only took $20 off and then stated you have now used 800 of your 800 FFD’s.
    What a joke. You would think that the whole point of “Referrals” is to recommend to others and this is absolutely the opposite of that.

  19. I used my SPG Amex card to pay for tuition bill via Plastiq. But they charged me additional .5% fee because my card is not issued in US. I’m pretty sure it is issued in US and I am convinced from Amex so. Plastiq told me it is the the country of card issuance that determines interchange rates/processing costs. It was determined that this is a non-US issued Card per data they have directly from American Express. Has anyone else experienced this?

  20. Plastiq seems to charge 3% fee for my Amex credit card. Website FAQ still says 2.5%. Do you have the same issue?

  21. When I tried to use a prepaid visa card on Plastiq, I was charged 3% and not 2.5%. I cannot find ANY info that explains why it is the higher amount. Anyone have any ideas?

  22. I just tried to use prepaid VISA gift cards to pay a car payment and they were declined. I thought it was because I didn’t have them registered, so I registered them and tried again. Again, declined. I called the gift card company and they confirmed that VISA declined the payment both times, that VISA doesn’t have a merchant agreement with Plastiq any longer.

  23. Greg,

    Just thought I let you know… CSR is no longer coding my payment to mortgage (tx date – june 4th, post date – june 5h) as travel… no more 3x points. just the usual 1x.

    Bit of a costly mistake, as I just made a big payment (:-

    Had fun while it lasted !

    • Yep, I just got one yesterday telling me mine was cashed. Also, if you check your account, it will show the payment as being “completed” only after the check is cashed.

    • So I made a mistake while using plastiq for my mortgage forgot to change from my CSR to AMEX PRG. It turns out that I was not blocked when using the CSR for payment.

  24. Is it possible to combine several VGC into a single mortgage payment or do I need to process each VGC as an individual payment totaling up to my mortgage payment amount?

      • Sounds like such a pain in the butt. I have $5k worth of spend I’m going to have to hustle now but the thought of getting gift cards and paying off our mortgage in chunks and then contacting the bank to make sure they credit it towards a specific months payment…. makes me cringe just thinking about it.

  25. My question is along the same lines as Snoblower’s above. My mortgage is 4k and I was going to use $500 MCGC’s to pay through plastiq, but then realized that means doing this 8 times a month and got concerned they would limit how many GC’s I could use in the future, like the 2 readers you referred to above who had limits placed on them. Wondering if you could share what level of volume those 2 readers were doing that got them limited and if you think 8 a month would get me limited?

    • I don’t think I ever got that detailed info from the others. My guess is that you would be OK since you’re presumably paying an established bank. I’m just guessing, but it seems likely that they’re more cautious when you use Plastiq to pay an unknown entity

  26. I have to spend about $10K for credit card sign up bonus. I am planning to meet that by paying my mortgage (about 2.5k/month) via plastiq. I don’t like to pay separately over a long period, but pay all the mortgage installments roughly at the same time. To be specific, now it is August. I would like to pay my Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec installments all together (so my next due will be in Jan 2018 after these four). Would that be enough to mark in the memo area that the payment is for a specific month? Did anyone have success to make mortgage payments in advance? Any tips? Don’t want it to go wrong. My mortgage bank is loanDepot, probably few people have heard of.

    • You need to contact your mortgage company and ask this question. I wouldn’t take anybody else’s word for it as to how they apply a payment beyond your monthly mortgage payment. Tell them exactly what you want to do, you want to send them a check for $10,000 in September, and ask them how it will be applied to your mortgage. Tell them you want to know if that means your next payment won’t be due until January 2018, and make sure that you get that answer. Personally, I’d email it so I’d have it in writing. You don’t want to have any misunderstanding and end up with a late payment on your credit report. I probably err on the side of caution and also check in with them each month to make sure you don’t have a payment due. This isn’t impossible to do, but you’ll need to have that conversation with your mortgage company.

      • Appreciate Nick’s and JJ’s comment. I actually called my mortgage bank and was advised that by default, they will cover monthly due first and whatever left will go to principle. You need to call in to request an adjustment to have the money be counted as future monthly payments.

        But thanks, Nick. I had thought about sending four separate checks. But since I have to call anyway, it is an easy way to just send out $10k check once for all.

    • I would also err on the side of caution and call up the mortgage company to clearly explain what is going on. Also make sure you get that documented with the person over the phone.

  27. With Visa and Amex no longer working for Plastiq and high fees, i suspect plastiq as a method of MS is on the last few breaths and will die in the next few months.

    • Looks like, with mastercard mortgage payments earning a discounted fee
      (1.5% vs. 2,5%) through the end of the year, we have until at least 31 Dec 2018 for mastercard . . .

    • Seeing as we had to find out from Greg and not through the courtesy of Plastiq I’d think that they’re in the [ x ] no F’s given mode right now. The rep told me:

      “It’s actually a rule AmEx themselves wanted us to follow starting mid last week. They do not allow us to accept their cards for mortgage payments. ”

      It’s not their fault that Amex requested Plastiq stop allowing for mortgage payments but it IS on them for not notifying us. Seriously, to find out from a blog?? What kind of business is this?

      I’m personally a bit peeved because I applied for the BRG card on Thursday and I now have $5k spend that’ll actually require some work and time as opposed to just paying our mortgage for 3 months on autopilot. Had they notified me I’d of not applied.

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