How to Pay Your Mortgage or Rent With a Credit Card

Around this time of year, I start getting a lot of emails about the Southwest credit cards and how to reach the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points you need for Companion Pass.

What's hard about those, and other credit card rewards bonuses, is reaching that spending amount so you can claim the bonus or other perk. It sounds easy when you apply, just a few thousand over three or four months, no big deal; but then you realize that maybe it is a big deal.

But we have a work around.

What's your biggest monthly expense?

If you're like most people, it's your rent or mortgage.

If you follow our money ratios, it can be as much as 30% of your budget!

If you're trying to spend enough for credit card bonuses, this is what you should be paying with your credit card to reach your minimum spends.

There's just one catch… your bank doesn't let you pay with a credit card. Your landlord definitely doesn't let you pay with a credit card.

Credit cards are expensive. When you use a credit card, the merchant has to pay all kinds of transaction and interchange fees. For example, Visa charges an interchange fee of 1.51% plus 10 cents on each transaction. This is why your bank or mortgage company doesn't take credit card payments in the first place. Banks and landlords don't like that.

But there is a workaround.

Pay with Plastiq

Plastiq is a service that lets you pay practically any bill with a credit card, it just costs you a 2.5% fee. You can use it for your mortgage, your student loans, and almost any other big bill you might have that doesn't already take a credit card payment.

The quick math of this is that for every $1000 you pay via Plastiq, you will pay them a $25 fee (of which I suspect more than half goes to the credit card company).

This is useful when you need to reach the minimum spending requirements of a new credit card bonus.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card gives 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.

What if you're close but not going to make it? You can put your mortgage (or another large bill) on Plastiq, pay the 2.5% fee, and ensure you get your bonus.

A lot of the big credit card bonuses are easy to get if you can pay a large bill.

(as a bonus, you also earn cash back with the credit card so the 2.5% fee is more like a 1.5% fee or less, depending on your cashback rate)

Plastiq is easy to use – sign up for a free account, connect the card you want to use, and then pay the bill.

They will pay via a bank transfer or check by mail, exactly like bill pay from your bank.

If you use our referral code “wallethacks“, you can get $500 in payments without the 2.5% fee.

Plastiq isn't the only service like this but it's the cheapest with the 2.5% fee. Radpad, Rentshare, and RentMoola are similar services but charge a 2.99% fee.

Try Plastiq

When Should You Do This?

The best example is when you need to meet a minimum spend requirement to earn a sign-up bonus. Many of the big bonuses require big spends. $5,000 over three or four months is common. That can hard unless you can put something as big as your rent or your mortgage on the credit card.

Besides the minimum spend, you may other perks associated with earning those points. Southwest Airlines gives a Companion Pass perk when you earn more than 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year. With Companion Pass, a friend flies with you for free. If it's September and you're close to 110,000 but won't make it, paying rent with the card could put you over the top.

Finally, in most other cases, paying big bills with a card doesn't make too much financial sense. You may have to do it for other reasons but paying a service 2.5% to earn 1% cashback doesn't add up. 🙂

What to Watch Out For

The biggest concern is timing. When you pay with your credit card via a service, it takes time for the check to reach your provider.

Make sure you fill out all the correct information and schedule your payments early enough to account for the delivery delay. You don't want to pay any late fees or penalties because of the mail.

A single late payment dinging your credit can throw all those credit points right out the window.

To avoid this, make sure the first payment you make is earlier than your due date. Just send a little test pre-payment to make sure it's all processed properly. Better safe than sorry.

Go enjoy those points!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  1. The Physician Philosopher says

    I thought about using Plastiq for my student loans but didn’t want to pay 2.5% on the $200,000 I was paying off in just 20 months. Maybe that was a mistake, because I’d probably make up the $5,000 in fees through points. Just never bit the bullet on that one.

    Really interesting idea, though.


    • Jim Wang says

      If it’s a mistake, it’s a small one that won’t matter in the long run. It’s far better that you paid off the debt quickly, rather than add a little hiccup that might have cost you a month or two in interest payments.

  2. Courtney says

    Quick question regarding the SW Rapid Rewards Personal and Business Cards. I signed up for both 1.8.19. The new verbiage says that 40,000 point will be added based on the initial spend required per card. The additional 20,000 will only be added once $12,000 was spent on the card within first 12mos. Am I misunderstanding something here? It did not appear to be a new offer. So even if I reach initial spend requirements by March 1st for both cards. It may take almost 12 months for me to reach the $24K required per card to get the companion pass. Am I correct or is there a loop hole I don’t see?

      • Courtney says

        Ok, thanks! All of the blogs that I have read, including the one above, gave the impression that the 60K bonus points were added after the initial $1,000 or $3,000 spend (depending on the card). However, the offer that just expired for 60K and the current 30K point offer state that you get the first 40K points with the initial spend, but then have to meet a total $12,000 spend on each card in the first 12mos to get the full bonus. Many mention combining the two to get the companion pass, but that’s a total of $24,000 that needs to be spent before the two offers can reach the companion pass requirement. Is this a new change to the program? I think I am little overwhelmed as this does not seem nearly as easy as the blogs suggest. I did see your recommendations regarding mortgage payment solutions and that will help some.

      • Courtney says

        I am so embarrassed. I had been reading one of your posts about how to quickly reach the 110,000 point requirement for the companion pass. I thought that I had posted my comment to that post. I do appreciate your help. Everyone has made it sound so easy, but the $24K in 12 mos really kind of shocked me.

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