The fix when Plastiq erroneously says that Amex cards cannot be used

Plastiq is a useful tool for paying bills with credit cards.  They do charge a 2.5% fee, but it can be worth paying that, especially if you need to complete minimum spend for a new credit card signup bonus.  See: Complete guide to Plastiq credit card payments.

Things get tricky when you want to make a payment with an American Express card.  Currently, Amex only allows the following types of payments to be made through Plastiq:

For Recipients in the United States, the use of American Express cards is permitted for the following industries:

  • Government
  • Utilities
  • Education
  • Residential Rent
  • Club Fees and Memberships

For Recipients in Canada, the use of American Express cards is permitted for the following industries:

  • Government
  • Utilities
  • School
  • School K-12
  • Residential Rent

Sometimes you may try to pay a bill that fits into the above categories, but still get the dreaded message “American Express cards cannot be used to pay this recipient.”  This has happened to me three times.

The Fix

You first step should be to check that you categorized the recipient correctly.  Go to “Manage Recipients,” then “Edit Recipient.”  Check that the Business Category is one of these: Clubs, Education, Government, Rent/Real Estate, Utilities.  Edit the assigned category if necessary.  Then try again to make your payment.

If fixing the category doesn’t help, simply contact Plastiq support.  Often they have a pop-up box offering to chat online.  Each time I’ve had this issue, I’ve clicked to chat and described the problem. They fixed the issue within 24 hours each time.

Referral Program

If you are new to Plastiq and you sign up through a friend-referral, you’ll earn 500 Fee-Free dollars (FFDs) once you’ve paid $500 worth of bills with Plastiq.  FFDs are used to make payments without fees. 500 Fee-Free dollars means that you can pay $500 worth of bills for free (so 500 FFDs are worth 2.5% of $500 = $12.50).

The deal gets even better when you refer friends.  For every person who registers with Plastiq via your referral link, you’ll get 1000 FFDs (worth $25) and that person will get 500 FFDs once they’ve paid $500 worth of bills with Plastiq.

If you’re new to Plastiq, consider using my referral link with my thanks: plastiq.com/frequentmiler

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.

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Emmanuel Ruiz
Guest
Emmanuel Ruiz

Exactly who were you trying to pay? Didn’t it fall under any of the categories?

Nick Reyes
Editor

It happened to me the other day trying to pay my state taxes. It did in fact show up as Government, but it gave me the same error pictured in the post.

Emmanuel Ruiz
Guest
Emmanuel Ruiz

Thx. Got it. Definitely an IT glitch.

YoLaViajera
Guest
YoLaViajera

I just used your referral link last night! I’m a long time reader of FM, but first time user of Plastiq. Never really had the need but now that we’re a home renovation, we need to send a bunch of checks to contractors and do not want to lose out on point-earning opportunities.

Casey
Guest
Casey

Does it work with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage?

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Does this still work to meet minimum spend with Amex with the RAT team in place now?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Plastiq payments should be safe — I haven’t heard any reports to the contrary. Just keep in mind that paying with an Amex is limited to the categories in the post.

robert
Guest
robert

Greg, I went through you Plastiq link, but did not see a credit for first time user. A $1200 rent payment came up as a $30 charge (2.5%)?

amit
Guest
amit

worked perfectly. Thank You.