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Can You Pay Utilities With a Credit Card?

These are the best credit cards for paying your gas, electric, water and other bills.

Usually, your heating, electric, cable, internet and water bills prompt payment from your debit card or bank account. But if you're stretched thin one month, or are trying to earn as many points and rewards as possible out of your credit card, paying these bills with plastic might be the right move. Paying a utility bill with. a credit card can give you a few extra weeks to pay off your dues without interest accruing, or some extra points toward your next vacation

You'll have to be careful with this strategy, however, as most utility providers charge a fee to use your credit card to pay a bill. This may be a flat-rate charge, usually less than $5, or a percentage of your bill. If you're not in a financial pinch and are just focused on the rewards, you'll want to make sure the rewards will exceed the extra cost of using a credit card to pay for your utilities.

For example, if you had an $80 electric bill with a $2.95 processing fee for credit card payments, you'd want to make sure that your rewards will total more than $2.95 for that transaction. That means you'll want to account for not only rewards rates that will apply to this transaction, but also the redemption value of those rewards. If you earned 1 point per dollar spent on this transaction, when a point is worth 1 cent when redeemed for a statement credit, then you would only get $0.83 worth of rewards from using your credit card -- significantly less than the $2.95 cost of the transaction.

Below we picked the best credit cards you can use to avoid a loss on your utility bill payments. In the right scenarios, some of them may even net you a profit. Other common credit card features, like introductory APRs and welcome bonuses are also considered to derive the most possible value from your payment method.

Read more: Can You Pay Your Taxes With a Credit Card?

Best credit card for bills and utilities

7/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR17.49%-26.49% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 3% on your eligible top spend category
  • Earn 2% on your second eligible top spend category
  • Earn 1% on all other eligible purchases and on Venmo person-to-person transactions
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn 3% on your eligible top spend category
  • Earn 2% on your second eligible top spend category
  • Earn 1% on all other eligible purchases and on Venmo person-to-person transactions

Our Take

The Venmo Credit Card* is one of the few credit cards that offers you some flexibility in your rewards. You can earn 3% rewards in your highest eligible spending category, one of which  is bills and utilities. Other options include transportation, travel, groceries, entertainment, dining and nightlife, health and beauty, and gas. In the case of the $80 electric bill with a $2.95 surcharge, you could earn up to $2.49 in rewards with this card. While it's not exactly a profit in this case, it has the potential to be so if the bill itself is higher or the surcharge is lower. 

For example, with a $120 bill and a $2.95 surcharge, you could earn up to $3.69 in rewards with the Venmo Credit Card -- netting you $0.74. That can add up over time. Apply your own utility bills and provider fees to see if this route is worth it. 

You'll also earn 2% rewards automatically on your second highest eligible spending category. For everything else, you'll earn 1%.  

Because the higher rewards rates are applied automatically based on your spending in any given month, you'll have to be sure to not use this credit card for other eligible spending categories that may exceed your spending on bills and utilities. This is one of the few credit cards that allows you to redeem your credit card rewards as cryptocurrency or as cash back.

Flat rewards everyday credit card

9.5/10 CNET Rating
See Rates and Fees
Card Highlights
Intro OfferEarn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
APR17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers
Balance Transfer APR17.99%, 22.99%, or 27.99% Variable APR
Balance Transfer Fee up to 5%; min: $5
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

Our Take

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is a good runner up for rewards value on your utility payments. You earn 2% cash rewards on your transactions -- you don't have to worry about categories. While there will be less opportunity to yield a net profit with this card than with the Venmo Credit Card due to the lower rewards rate, this card offers a consistent rate that will be able to put you in the green in the right scenarios.

This is also a good option if you are trying to stretch your budget if you need a little breathing room thanks to its introductory APR offer. You can take advantage of 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening (17.99%, 22.99% or 27.99% variable APR thereafter). This means that as long as you make all of your minimum payments on time during this promotion, you won't incur interest charges. You won't need as much cash upfront to pay your utility bills if you go this route, but you'll want to make sure to pay off the balance before the end of the promotion to avoid racking up debt.

Your utility bills can also help you reach the spending threshold to earn the welcome offer. For more details, see our full review of the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Buy some time to pay off your utility bills

8.75/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Intro Purchase APR0% Intro APR for 21 billing cycles for purchases
Recommended Credit Excellent/Good
Reward RatesN/A
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Intro Balance Transfer APR0% Intro APR for 21 billing cycles for any BTs made in the first 60 days. A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.
Balance Transfer APR14.24% - 24.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Late Payment Fee See Terms
Foreign Transaction Fees 3%
Penalty APR none

Our Take

This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

If you're starting to fall behind on some of your bills, the BankAmericard® credit card will afford you 21 billing cycles of 0% introductory APR on purchases and on any balance transfers made in the first 60 days (14.24% to 24.24% variable APR thereafter). As long as you make your minimum payments on time you won't be charged interest for over a year and a half. This can allow you some breathing room to shore up your finances while keeping the lights and other utilities on. 

It's important to be disciplined in this approach, as it can be easy to accrue credit card debt and fall behind. We recommend making sure you can pay off the full balance of your credit card before the introductory APR period ends to avoid this potential pitfall.

A credit card for paying rent

4.5/10 CNET Rating
Card Highlights
Intro OfferN/A
APR18.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% variable, based on your creditworthiness.
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Recommended Credit Excellent, Good
Reward Rates
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on travel
  • 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee. Up to 50,000 points each calendar year
  • 1x points on other purchases
Annual Fee$0
Additional Details
Balance Transfer APR18.49%, 21.49%, or 26.49% variable, based on your creditworthiness.
Balance Transfer Fee Up to 5% for each balance transfer, with a minimum of $5.
Late Payment Fee Up to $40
Foreign Transaction Fees None
Rewards & Redemption Details
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on travel
  • 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee. Up to 50,000 points each calendar year
  • 1x points on other purchases

Our Take

Just like with most utility bills, paying rent with a credit card will typically result in an additional flat fee. But the Bilt World Elite Mastercard®*, issued by Wells Fargo, give you points on rent when you pay via the Bilt World Elite Mastercard through the Bilt app. Doing so also eliminates fees for paying your rent with a credit card. You earn 1 point per dollar spent on rent for up to 50,000 points per year. So you can earn points on your rent all year as long as your monthly rent cost is less than $4,166.67.

You'll have to pay attention to the fine print to earn these rewards on rent though: Each cardholder must complete at least five transactions on the Bilt Card in any given billing cycle to qualify to earn rewards, so it would be unwise to only use it to pay for rent. 

Even if your rental isn't a part of the Bilt Rewards Alliance, you can still use your Bilt Rewards card to pay your rent and earn points if your landlord accepts Venmo, PayPal, physical checks or an online payment portal. Be careful that online payment portal doesn't charge a fee for using a credit card that will exceed the rewards you'd earn for doing so.

FAQs

Which utility bills can you pay with a credit card?

Whether you can pay a utility bill with a credit card depends on your utility provider. While telecommunication services are more often national companies, heating, electricity and water may have more local providers. Check with your utility company to see if it accepts credit card payments and, if so, what the fee is. 

Can I pay utility bills with a debit card?

Most utility companies allow customers to make payments with a debit card. Your money will be drafted directly from your bank account to pay your bill, which usually means you won't owe an additional fee on top of your balance. Many utility companies will also accept direct ACH payments if you submit your bank account information.

Can I pay for streaming services with a credit card?

Yes. Major streaming services all accept credit card payments, typically without any additional fees. See our best credit cards for streaming services for the best strategies to maximize your rewards.

*All information about the Venmo Credit Card and the Bilt Rewards Mastercard has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.