Complete guide to Plastiq credit card payments

Last Updated: 3/6/2017. Added instructions for paying taxes via Plastiq.

Plastiq is an online bill payment service that lets you pay all of your bills by credit card.  Unlike a few similar services, Plastiq is not limited to billers in their database.  Plastiq can literally be used to pay 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% (as of 2/9/16). 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 do not result in a category bonus with Chase Ink cards, but do sometimes earn 3X with the Citi AT&T Access More card.  Whether or not this works depends upon the selected business type (e.g. business type “other” does not result in 3X, but “business services” does).
  • 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 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 and makes a payment of at least $20, you’ll get 400 FFDs and that person will get 200 FFDs.

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. All of my ACH payments were delivered in about a week, and check payments were delivered in about 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 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.

Plastiq is clearly experiencing growing pains and a number of customers have suffered for it. I believe that they are working towards rectifying issues, but that is little consolation for those who experience these issues.

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

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
  • 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
  • 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.

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.  It is only in place in certain situations.

How long does a payment take to be delivered?

In my experience, ACH transfers take about a week to be delivered.  Checks take about two weeks.  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.

      Would appreciate new users signing up with link. You would get $200 fee free dollars, once you make your first $20 payment.

      This Amex promotion should be good, as it will allow me to accumulate some SPG points.

      https://try.plastiq.com/325801

  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. You can pay ANY bills. I’ve had plastiq ask for an invoice, which shouldn’t be hard to do in your case. You can set up recurring scheduled payments, which I do with my mortgage.

    Here is my referral link – you can get $200 fee free dollars after you make your first payment.

    https://try.plastiq.com/325801

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. Sign up with this code and you’ll get $200 of no fee spending after you spend $20 with them (this will have a fee of fifty cents and be $20 + $0.50 fee). Then you can refer your own friends and for each one who signs up, you get an additional $400 in no fee dollars. Good luck and hope it helps!

    https://try.plastiq.com/533212

    I have had a pretty smooth experience with them so far and have paid about $800 in bills with no issues. Just look out for any notices that let you know it’s a cash advance and pay things with a good margin of time in between when it’s submitted and when it’s due and you shouldn’t have any issues!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

        Here is my referral link if anyone wants to try it. You will get $200 FEE FREE dollars after you make your first $20 payment..

        https://try.plastiq.com/404440

        • 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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)?

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

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