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:

  1. Within their site, there is an option for “online bill payments” which can be accessed here.
  2. From there, you enter your credit card number and your date of birth
  3. Next, you’ll see a screen to enter the  “Bill Amount:”, then select the “Bill Payee”.
  4. 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.

Final Thoughts

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!

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I love paytm! They recently added some new gift cards- like IKEA. It is one of the biggest fintech companies in India and Berkshire Hathaway/ Warren Buffett recently invested in it. They also give you reminders that your bill is due too. Good point about not having hire level log-in for the paytm app. Another downside about paytm is they keep changing their reward program and (it’s been changed 2-3 times so far) but don’t give full announcement that it’s happening. However despite that I’ve been very happy with it.

Has anyone confirmed that in general, you can use PC Mastercard to pay your property taxes and energy bills and to get points faster? PC Mastercard is the only card I use because who doesn’t need free groceries.

My property/energy service providers charge a small fee when opting to pay via credit card, otherwise I would have paid via this method already.

Easy for hamilton.

In fact CT has improved their interface and remembers the account number. Really easy now.

There is an interest fee of 1.99% on the top of your total bill if you pay your Property tax and Utility bills using a credit card, I just checked with customer service. So having a 1% back from your Canadain Credit Card like you said $37 but you lose another $37 added to your bill. No, I don’t think it’s a good deal when you do the math.

If that’s the case I’ll go for it. Thanks
Tangerine MC will give you 2% on all your bills like home & auto insurance, internet, phone etc but I’m not sure about Utility and Property tax.

My property tax is $5800 and I pay it on a monthly basis, could I still use C. Tire MC to pay it. Or I have to switch to twice/year as you do? Thx a lot.

You mention that they offer “reminders” to pay bills – I interpret that to mean that each bill has to be paid manually? (on/before its due date?)

Does the app allow setting up post dated payments (ie. my property taxes are monthly but the monthly amounts and due dates are set in advance semi-annually) or can one setup autopayment for a given amount on a given date?

Also I have auto payments already setup for most stuff – do I have to cancel these or will the payment through PayTM override?

I will check it out. Cheers! Thx for the quick reply :)

If I pay utility bills and property tax using credit card; then what’s the best card for cash back as long as using PayTm will show up as regular charge and not a credit card charge.

I have a question. Does the Triangle C.Card will work for car loans? Thx.

I was wondering if using C.Tire triangle to pay my car loan is it ok? do you think they will not know like with property tax.

From the paytm website: There is a 2-3% charge for using a credit card. I fail to see how PayTM saves any money for paying bills using a CC.

Good to know. Do they still have the $1500 limit per day? That made things ridiculous when paying large bills.

I’m referring to what Tintin mentioned. There used to be a limit (I think it’s still in place, so that if you wanted to pay a ~$4000 bill it would take about 5 days of payments to do so. I think it used to be $1500 on the first day, $895 on the 2nd and I can’t remember the other days. There’s no mention of it on the Paytm website, but I’m pretty sure it still exists. FT, have you actually ever paid a bill with PayTM of over $1500?

Those limits are for points. They dollar limits on how much you can pay in bills per day as well I think…. not sure what they are though

Scotia momentum has 2% cash back on reoccurring bills. I wonder if paying car loan payments or cable or phone monthly bills would appear to scotia likely that from paytm?

Paytm may be big in India. But it has been indulging in shady practices. Cobrapost ran a sting operation 136 on them earlier this year. This was widely covered in media including HuffingtonPost.

Dear FT
I have been your avid reader for years. Please dont promote Paytm and spoil your reputation. They have no respect for user data and have ties to right wing ultra-national party which have committed human lynching for eating beef and genocide of Muslims in Indian state of Gujarat

The Triangle credit card gives you 0.8%, not 1%.

We live in the US now but we can pay some of our property taxes here on a credit card. It does hit us with a fee but that’s the cost of doing business for the convenience. We own close to 50 properties & have 44 escrow accounts for those we hold the notes on. However, when we paid so much on my CC my credit rating took a 53 point hit until several months later when we paid off all the balances. But we did get a significant amount of cash back points.
Form our CDN properties we just have it set up as a direct debit each month.

I could not find on how to subscribe to your weekly newsletter despite of looking very hard for it .

Just yesterday I arranged for as many “utility” bills as possible to be paid by credit card. I have the PCMC and it is great. So the payments that I can pay by credit card are: Bell TV, Telus mobile, Explornet internet, Virgin Mobile. None of these charge extra and all of them will take the payment and send an email notifying that the bill has been paid, and a confirmation number.
Our taxes come out of our bank account monthly, however they will NOT accept credit card payments.
The following utilities will take credit card payments, however you have to go to their website for every payment and they all charge from 1.75 to 3% surcharge: Epcor, Battle River Power (electricity); Battle River Gas (heating). So I pay these by online banking, because I detest paying interest.
I have not called my insurance company, but will check that out ASAP.
So to sum up, it pays moneywise and timewise to put the mobile/Internet bills on credit cards (and pushes your “pay by” date ahead). But power, heat, taxes cost more to pay by credit card, and some won’t even take credit card payments.
I really enjoy your newsletters and have learned a lot. I turned 71, so had to change my RRSP into a RRIF. This might be a good topic for you to cover because there are quite a few things to know about RRIFs that are not common knowledge. Like there is a formula to find out the minimum amount you have to withdraw each year. And part of your annual withdrawal is actually tax-free (unlike RRSPs). You can list a secondary beneficiary, but that person will inherit the money, but will have to pay taxes on all of it! (unlike TFSAs).
My RRIF is with Scotia Discount so I have the exact same stocks that were in my RRSP. I have made arrangements for Scotia to withdraw $350 on the 15th of every month. This money is from dividends generated by the stocks, but if your cash account is short they will sell any of your stocks! So you have to keep an eye on your account.
Sorry this is so long! Thanks again, Diane Conibear, Alberta

I just submitted a very long comment on credit cards and RRIFs, but I meant to ask about a topic you have written about previously: The Smith Maneuver! I read and reread but for the life of me I just do not understand it! Can you do another article about the SM, but very very simple, step-by-step on how to do it.
Thanks, Diane Conibear

Paytm is free and you asked yourself “how do they make money”? As they say: if you are not paying for the product, you are the product. Tread carefully giving up your financial details to that service!

$10 Starbucks for 10,000 points is a joke! What am I missing?

I have used CanadianTire for about a year. Interface is much better now.
I just pay double the small bills so that its less of a hassle (credit shows on the next bill)…

Works great, and were dealing with a Canadian company as opposed to some unknown.

Here is a big beware! I set up a payee on CanadianTire online account, but, I input the wrong payee account number(my bad). The payment bounced back, that’s ok, then CTFinancial froze all my payee activity for 30 days as an internal security prorocoll.

Anyone know of ways to pay utility bills with Visa ?

A person is not allowed to pay their property tax with a credit card in the City of Edmonton; I’m surprised your jurisdiction allows it. I think this is for good reason but I would still love the benefit if they had it. What is your jurisdiction that you are allowed?
Also, EPCOR does not allow it either (sad face) and they are my water utility in the region as they are for much of urban Alberta. So, that’s nice if you can get it.

Have CDN Tire card…interesting, though requires manual processing.
How reliable has Paytm worked out to be? Have you researched the concerns raised above?

Yes, manual… I just double pay most of the utilities so it’s only every other month. But love those CDN tire credit that I use against purchases ( just got tool accessories for free). Far better than paying out at paytm.

Property tax payment has become a little more confusing on the new CT bill payment setup. You need to search under “tax” and then look to see if your jurisdiction is available for property tax payments. I had tried through jurisdiction name, property tax, property, and a bunch of other options before hitting on the correct one.

“Starting August 26th, 2019, Paytm customers will be charged a 1.75% Credit Card convenience fee on Property Tax bill payments.” Unless your credit card rewards are more than 1.75% it is not worth it using Paytm anymore.

I will try my Canadian Tire credit card as you mentioned. Thanks!

PayTM changes

IMPORTANT: as of Nov 1st, 2019, a convenience fee will be applied to all debit and credit card payments.

Here’s a quick summary of the fees that you will incur depending on the payment method:

Bank Account: No fees
Paytm Cash: No fees
Visa Credit & Mastercard Credit: 1.75%
Visa Debit & Mastercard Debit: 1.25%
American Express: 3%

Can still pay via PayTm cash, but that doesn’t allow us to maximize our credit card benefits.