Credit cards and debit cards offer incredible convenience, but is it smart to pay monthly bills with them? Choosing to pay a bill with a card can have a significant impact on your general financial wellness—for better or for worse. It’s important to consider the many variables of this decision before going ahead with it. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons.
The advantages of paying bills with a credit or debit card
- Automate monthly payments so they’re always on time.
- Build credit with a consistent monthly payment.
- Potentially earn rewards for money that needs to be spent anyway.
- Enjoy consumer protection, like zero or minimal fraud liability and more.
- Pay your bills quickly without the hassle of writing out checks and using snail mail.
- Budget easily with payments that can always be tracked.
- Payments post promptly.
The disadvantages of paying bills with credit or debit cards
- There may be fees for paying the bill with a credit or debit card.
- For consumers who are already carrying high debt, it can make a difficult financial situation worse.
- Setting up an automatic payment with a debit card could incur a Non-Sufficient Funds or Courtesy Pay fee, if there’s not enough money in the account.
- Credit utilization may cross the threshold to an undesirable rate.
- Interest may accrue for consumers who can’t pay their entire credit card balance each month.
Which bills can I pay with a credit or debit card?
You may not be able to pay the following monthly bills with a credit or debit card:
These monthly bills can usually be paid with a credit card, but you may need to pay a fee to do so:
- Car insurance
- Home insurance
- Health insurance
The following monthly bills usually allow you to pay with a credit or debit card without a fee:
- Subscription services
- Phone bills
- Utility bills
- Internet providers
- Cable providers
Before deciding whether to pay a specific bill with a credit or debit card, it’s best to check with your provider to find out if this is a viable option and if there will be a fee attached for paying with plastic.
The bottom line—sometimes, paying bills with a credit or debit card makes perfect sense, but sometimes it doesn’t. Before deciding which way to go, consider all relevant factors detailed above to be sure you’re making the responsible choice.