Recently, a reader asked by my monthly expenses and how I flow all my expenses through a credit card. If you’ve been following MDJ for a while, you’ll know that I am a big fan of some loyalty programs and cash back credit cards.
The best is when the stars align that combine a generous loyalty program with an equally generous credit card. If you are curious, my current favorite loyalty program the PC PLUS program combined with the PC Financial Mastercard. We have saved in the thousands over the past few years from maximizing those programs.
We all know that a credit card can be used for regular purchases but what about expenses like property tax and power utilities? These typically require a regular bill payment from your bank account which means you miss out on credit card points.
For example, my property tax payment is approximately $3,700 per year. If I could somehow flow this through a 1% or greater credit card, that’s an extra $37 in cash back per year with no increase in effort.
Canadian Tire Triangle MasterCard
If you are a Canadian Tire credit card holder, you’ll have access to Canadian Tire Financial Services which has the option for paying various municipalities and utilities using your credit card as payment. As a result, you’ll get the points associated with that credit card. I have the Triangle credit card which gives me 1% in Canadian Tire money for purchases made outside the Canadian Tire family of stores.
Here are the steps:
- Within their site, there is an option for “online bill payments” which can be accessed here.
- From there, you enter your credit card number and your date of birth
- Next, you’ll see a screen to enter the “Bill Amount:”, then select the “Bill Payee”.
- Hit “Submit” and you are done!
The downside of this method is that it’s not automatic. You need to enter your credit card and billing information every time you want to make a payment which makes it a bit of a pain for regular bill payments like utilities.
As a quick aside, the free Triangle MasterCard is a fairly strong offering if you are a regular Canadian Tire/Sportchek/Marks Work Warehouse. It gives you 4% back in Canadian Tire money when shopping within those stores, 1% everywhere else, and the World Elite version will give you free roadside assistance. Otherwise, check out my favorite free cash back credit cards at the moment.
This is a FinTech company with an office in Toronto that has created an app to allow you to pay your bills (property tax, utilities, insurance, credit card, cell phone) using multiple payment options (like your credit card) with no fees. Note that they only accept MasterCard and American Express, and it’s free for M/C only. If you use AMEX, they charge 3%.
If that’s not enough, they also offer “points” for every bill that you pay. So you get to collect your credit card points and PayTM points at the same time.
What are PayTM points? You get 1 point for every $1 that you spend on bill payments, however, there are limits. The limits are:
- Utilities: 500 pts/month
- Tax Payment: 1,000 pts/month
- Credit Card Payment: 1,000 pts/month
- Tuition: 1,000 pts/month
- Other Bill Payments: 500 pts/month
These points can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards that they offer. Some of the gift cards include Tim Hortons, Esso, Amazon, Starbucks, Cineplex, Cara Restaurants, Sport Chek and many more. Generally, 1,000 points are worth $1. So a $10 Starbucks gift card would require 10,000 points.
The beauty of the app is that you can “schedule” your bill payments, and they even have a concierge service that will set up all your bills for you.
The biggest downside I can see is that the app should have extra security for logging in such as fingerprint validation or a pin code. Right now, if someone has access to your phone, they can simply open the app and send money from your account. The best way to protect against this is to avoid connecting your bank account to the app and just stick with the credit card.
Sign Up Bonus
If you are interested in signing up, and you want to throw a few points at MDJ, download the app and use my referral code: PTM5376840 which will give us both 5,000 points.
There you have it, a couple of methods to gain credit card points for expenses that normally don’t accept credit cards! I’ve been using the Canadian Tire method to pay property tax because it’s easy (it’s only twice a year). The downside is that you can’t make the payments automatic, which is why I haven’t used it to pay my power utility bill. It’s just so much easier to have the automatic withdrawal from my bank account.
The PayTM company has really come up with something that adds a lot of value. You can use it to pay bills with your credit card AND get bonus points from PayTM. It’s quite a remarkable system but I’m not quite sure how they make money! They seem to be a fairly large company that originated in India, and perhaps they plan to sell the consumer data collected or put up a few advertisements, but it’s not apparent to me. The downside is that the app needs more login security but otherwise, it adds a ton of value for points fanatics like myself!