There are many reasons why you might be interested in increasing credit card spend, such as:
- Meet minimum spend requirements to secure big credit card signup bonuses.
- Earn credit card big spend bonuses.
- Earn credit card rewards, ideally when the cost of increasing credit card spend is less than the value of the rewards. See: Best rewards for everyday spend.
On the page, “How to increase credit card spend,” I list many options for manufacturing spend. Most are fairly complicated. One that stands out as easy, though, is Plastiq. If you have large expenses that can’t normally be paid via credit card, Plastiq offers a simple solution: Use their service to pay bills. In exchange for a fee (normally 2.5%), you can pay those bills with credit cards. Here are example uses:
- Car payments (monthly leases)
- Nannies, babysitters
- Purchase car, boat
- Professional services: Law firms, Accounting firms, PR agencies, etc.
- (more examples can be found here)
Unlike a few similar services, Plastiq is not limited to payees in their database. If the payee (AKA biller) is not in the database, you can pay them through Plastiq by check or by bank transfer (ACH). In fact, as a test, I recently succeeded in paying a landscaper through Plastiq. I gave him the choice of receiving the money by check or direct deposit to his bank account. He chose the latter and he gave me his account number and routing number so that I could pay him. I initiated payment on a Saturday evening and the money appeared in his account the following Friday morning (or possibly sometime on Thursday).
For detailed information about Plastiq, please see: The Complete guide to Plastiq credit card payments. The guide includes complete information about types of bills that can (and cannot) be paid through Plastiq, reasons businesses may be interested in Plastiq, gift card usage with Plastiq, and more.
As announced via Quick Deals, Plastiq is currently offering reduced rates for bills paid by MasterCard or American Express credit cards. To get this rate, you must sign up for Plastiq using my link or a similar link from another publisher (Disclosure: I will receive a $5 referral fee for each person who signs up with my promo link).
Please refer to this Quick Deals post for full information about the promotional rate, including how to lock in those rates long-term:
When it makes sense to use Plastiq
Even when cash flow isn’t a motivator, there are times when it can make sense to pay Plastiq’s fees in order to earn credit card rewards:
- Use Plastiq only for bills that cannot already be paid by credit card. Many billers accept credit cards and usually do not charge a fee for accepting them. In those cases, I’d argue that it’s almost always better to pay those billers directly by credit card rather than going through a service like Plastiq. Note: one exception is when the biller does not accept a certain type of payment, such as American Express.
- Use Plastiq when credit card rewards outweigh fees. Unfortunately, there are very few cards that earn significantly more than 1.99% for non-bonus spend (see: Best rewards for everyday spend). That said, there are times when a card’s earnings are better than usual. For example, Shawn at Miles to Memories recently reported getting a retention offer for his wife’s Citi ThankYou Preferred MasterCard. For the next 6 months, the card will earn an extra 2 points per dollar for all spend. This means that Shawn’s wife would earn 3 points per dollar paying bills with Plastiq. With a 1.99% fee, that’s like buying ThankYou points for .66 cents each. And, considering that ThankYou points are worth between 1.33 and 1.6 cents per point for flights when you have a Citi Prestige card (which Shawn does have), that’s a great deal!
- Use Plastiq with gift cards bought at a discount (or with cash back). It is often possible to get up to 2.25% cash back when buying Amex gift cards. Similarly, Visa and MasterCard gift cards are often available at discount from certain stores (such as with this recent deal).
- Use Plastiq to meet large spend requirements for new credit card signup bonuses – if you can’t meet that spend in ways that incur no fees. It may also make sense just for peace of mind of knowing that you can meet those spend requirements quickly, despite the fees.
- Use Plastiq to help meet spend thresholds in order to secure big spend bonuses. Make sure that the benefits outweigh the fees.
A number of readers have complained to me about their experiences with Plastiq. A common issue is that payments take longer than expected. Some readers reportedly have had to pay late fees as a result. My impression is that Plastiq is a young company that has been overwhelmed by demand since I and a few other bloggers started writing about them. 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 sending in 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.
Related posts and resources
- More about the Plastiq promo: Pay mortgage, rent, and more by credit card. Plastiq offers 1.99% Amex and MasterCard promo rate.
- More about Plastiq: The Complete guide to Plastiq credit card payments.
- Alternatives to Plastiq for increasing credit card spend: How to increase credit card spend.
- More about whether it makes sense to pay fees when manufacturing spend: Options for paying to manufacture spend. Are they worth it?
- Some ideas about what can be accomplished when increased credit card spend becomes easy:
Last updated on September 1st, 2015