If you’re looking for options that let you pay bills with a credit card, then Plastiq is probably one of the most decent ones. They started in Canada last year and have since expanded in the States. What they offer is pretty similar to other services that have been around for a while, but for a lower fee. You can pay your tuition, taxes, utilities, and for other services.
Plastiq currently accepts Visa, Mastercard and Amex. You can send money by check, or directly to the payee’s bank account if you have their account and routing number. I’ve used Amex myself and i’ve read other data points as well and it seems that transactions with Plastiq don’t count as cash advances.The ease of paying with a credit card, comes with a 2.5% fee, but currently there’s sign up referral links out there by other bloggers that will lower the fee to 1.99% (do a search and sign up through your favorite blog, I don’t have a referral link) when you use your MasterCard or American Express card. This is a temporary promo and I’m not sure how long it will last, but at 1.99% it makes a bit more sense to use it for meeting spending requirements or even make a small profit.
The good thing about Plastiq is that it will allow you to use a Amex gift card as a form of payment. And also it allows person to person payments for goods and services. It doesn’t make sense to use it directly with a credit card to earn miles and points, but when there’s 2.25% cash back deals on Amex gift cards, then it is a convenient way to make money from the comfort of your home. The 2.25% that you get (usually from TopCashBack), cancels out the Plastiq fee along with the gift card fees and shipping. So you’ll earn whatever cash back or miles/points you get from your credit card, without leaving your house.
Send a Selfie to make a payment?
I wasn’t going to write about Plastiq since there’s other blogs out there that have already covered it and they also have the referral link that offers you the 1.99% promo fee. But what made me write this post was an email from a reader that tried using the service to pay for a web design service. Plastiq manually reviews each transaction apparently and the reader was asked something I had never heard before. Here’s the quote:
We reviewed your recent transaction with Plastiq and we need to gather some more information in order to complete this transaction. Please send over an invoice/rental agreement for our risk team to review. In addition, please click on the link below to be redirected to our secure identity verification service. You will be prompted to take a picture of yourself as well as of a form of photo ID, so please have that ready.
I had never heard of such request before, so I had to point this out. It might be a hassle if you’re paying small businesses, or making a person to person payment. I have used Plastiq only once, when I charged $1,000 on an Amex card for a service (needed to meet a spend requirement as well), and I had to send in an invoice, but I wasn’t asked to take a selfie and send it in.
Is it worth it?
1.99% might be a good rate when talking about paying loans, tuition or other things that you can’t usually charge on a credit card. But, it is a very high rate for manufactured spending. It only makes sense to use it when you have maxed out all other avenues, or for some emergency last minute spending. Even then, the hassle of having to deal with the verification and sometimes the absurd requests of having to send in your picture, is a bit of a turn off. Also keep in mind that the 1.99% is just a promo rate, the regular rate is 2.5%. Personally I’ll stay away for now, but it’s good to know that the option is there. It might come in handy sometimes.
Do you have any experience with Plastiq? Will you use it? Let us know!