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

UPDATE March 2019: Plastiq no longer allows you to edit recipients online.  It is necessary instead to contact Plastiq support to change the recipient’s business category.

Your 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:

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