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Paying Property Tax and Utilities with a Credit Card

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.

PayTM

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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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • GYM October 15, 2018, 11:18 am

    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.

    • FT FT October 15, 2018, 1:56 pm

      Thanks for the info GYM, and some comfort that Buffett has invested in them.

  • LA October 15, 2018, 1:50 pm

    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.

    • FT FT October 15, 2018, 1:58 pm

      LA, is that the fee that your utility would charge for using a credit card? If you pay through Canadian Tire or PayTM, the utility would not see the payment as a credit card payment, just a regular payment.

      • LA October 15, 2018, 2:40 pm

        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.

  • LA October 15, 2018, 2:57 pm

    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.

    • FT FT October 15, 2018, 3:00 pm

      If you pay on a monthly basis, then you could use Canadian Tire Financial to pay once a month as well. It’s a bit tedious, but it’s an extra $58/year if you have a 1% cash back Triangle card. If you have a higher returning credit card (like a 2% card), PayTM maybe a better choice since they even offer reminders to pay your bill (and will save your bill details instead of typing it over and over again like with CTFS).

      • fbgcai October 16, 2018, 2:43 pm

        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?
        thanks

        • FT FT October 16, 2018, 3:21 pm

          These are great questions for the PayTM support team. :)
          Any regular users here able to help out?

  • LA October 15, 2018, 4:23 pm

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

  • Saad October 15, 2018, 7:13 pm

    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.

  • LA October 16, 2018, 9:36 am

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

  • LA October 16, 2018, 9:40 am

    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.

  • John October 16, 2018, 5:34 pm

    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.

    • FT FT October 16, 2018, 5:35 pm

      Hmm, I will look into this, my understanding was that there was no charge – this would change the article completely!

    • FT FT October 16, 2018, 5:54 pm

      From PayTM website:

      Paytm currently only accepts Mastercard and American Express as forms of credit card payment.

      You will never be charged a cash advance when paying a bill on Paytm with a credit card.

      However, if you pay with an American Express card, you will be charged a 3% fee. Master card does not charge a fee.

      Paytm does not accept Visa debit or credit cards. We are working hard on bringing Visa back to our platform, so stay posted!

      • John October 16, 2018, 10:03 pm

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

        • FT FT October 18, 2018, 10:38 am

          Their 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

          • Tintin October 20, 2018, 10:25 am

            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

          • John October 23, 2018, 9:45 pm

            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?

  • FT FT October 23, 2018, 9:48 pm

    Good points! I will contact their support about dollar limits and report back.

  • FT FT October 23, 2018, 9:55 pm

    PayTM bill limits as per their support:

    Using a credit card:
    over 24 hours (max 5 transactions): $3,000
    7 day period (max 10 transactions): $5,000
    30 day period (max 15 transactions): $7,000

    Using bank account or PayTM cash:
    over 24 hours (max 5 transactions): $5,000
    7 day period (max 10 transactions): $15,000
    30 day period (max 15 transactions): $20,000

    Peer to Peer over 24 hour period: $999

  • Flying Spudman October 26, 2018, 9:34 pm

    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?

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