Racking up credit card rewards can be exhilarating. It’s free money and it’s yours just for being smart enough to take advantage of the free money. Lots of people chase credit card rewards. There are countless blogs all over the web about real people who actually get a bump up in life just from using credit cards wisely. Yes, there are many families out there who are getting free summer vacations just from using credit cards. They use credit cards for buying fuel, groceries, paying for car insurance – you name it! The more money they spend, the more rewards they receive.
One of the dangers with using credit cards is it can be almost too easy to spend money. Research has shown that using plastic doesn’t feel as real as using cash. Thus, people overspend. But what about using plastic to pay for things you must already buy like groceries, fuel, auto insurance…. mortgage payments. Yes, paying your mortgage (or rent) with a credit card may be the ultimate prize. There are many credit cards out there that pay 2%+ cashback. 2% of a $1,500 mortgage payment is $30 each month just for using a credit card to pay instead of a bank account. This means you can get paid $10,800 (not even taking into consideration compounding) over the span of a 30-year mortgage – just for using a credit card! That’s quite a big chunk of change!
Why isn’t everyone using credit cards to pay off their mortgages?
Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, many people were using credit cards to pay for their mortgages. It wasn’t until the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis that causes many lenders began to disallow people’s credit cards. The practice of using credit cards fell out of favor merely overnight. Lenders didn’t want people paying their mortgages via credit cards because people began doing it as a last ditch effort to stay in their homes. But this article isn’t focused on the negative. This article is about finding ways to use credit cards, despite the obstacles.
Making Payments on a Reverse Mortgage
Increasingly older Americans are taking out reverse mortgages instead of traditional mortgage loans with their low interest rates and flexible line of credit feature. With a HECM line of credit, you can repay the interest (even with a credit card) or allow for the interest to be added to your outstanding loan balance. When deciding to make a repayment using a credit card, you’ll need to find a credit card that allows for you to write a physical check as reverse loan servicers will not take repayments by phone.
Is it possible to pay for a mortgage using a credit card?
Yes – but it’s not easy. There is NO straightforward way to pay your mortgage with a credit card at this date of publication. Before the financial crisis, this was possible but not anymore. I think it will be possible again one day but we’ll have to wait.
The problem is that credit cards charge businesses a fee for using their services. Fees typically fall between 2-3% per transaction. Businesses don’t want to eat that cost. Neither would you. Credit card rewards rarely offer more than 2% or 3% cashback. There’s no way right now to easily pay your mortgage with a credit card. It’s such an inconvenience in fact many people think it just can’t be done. But it can be done. But keep in mind that this opportunity may close at any time.
Here’s How to Pay Your Mortgage with a Credit Card
You can use what’s called American Express Bluebird. It’s marketed as an alternative to banking. It’s basically a checking account that allows you to fund it via a credit card. It’s like the opposite of a secured credit card. You’re still paying your mortgage with a type of checking account, but you’re funding the checking account with a credit card.
The easiest way to load your account is by buying Visa gift cards with your credit card of choice. Note that it costs money to acquire these cards. Basically, you buy your mortgage worth of gift cards, apply them to your BlueBird account, and then pay your mortgage through the BlueBird account. There are load restrictions which may be too low to cover your entire mortgage.
AmEx Serve is another option. Note that load restrictions also apply to Serve. If you have a large mortgage, you’ll likely need an additional payment method. And you can’t have both an American Express Bluebird account and an AmEx Serve account.
You used to be able to pay your mortgage with a target REDcard. But that program was discontinued a few months ago.
Bonus: Bluebird can also pay rent, utilities, college tuition, and more.
Final Thoughts about Finding Alternative Ways to Pay Your Mortgage
As the 2008 financial crisis becomes but a distant memory, paying mortgages with credit cards should come back around. I believe the future holds more options for those of us looking for credit card rewards. In the meantime, try the American Express options. They are as good as we’ve got at the moment.