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One of the smartest — and easiest — ways to earn more credit card rewards is to charge as many regular bills as makes sense. By using credit instead of your checking account to pay bills you normally pay anyway, you can increase your rewards without spending money you don’t have.
First step: Get out your monthly bank statements and make a list of expenses you pay on a regular basis. These might include utility bills, insurance premiums, and even rent.
Next, determine whether you can pay these bills with credit. Using a credit card to pay your bills allows you to rack up cash back, hotel points, and airline miles a lot faster, but there are some downsides you need to consider, too. (See also: Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything)
Beware of Fees
While some businesses let you use a credit card without an added fee, others might charge a fixed or percentage-based convenience fee for using credit. This is because companies are charged a fee for processing credit card payments.
If a fee is involved, it’s usually not worth it to put the payment on your credit card. That additional fee would cancel out (and sometimes be more than) any rewards you’d get for the charge.
Let’s say you want to pay your $100 cellphone bill with a credit card, but your service provider charges a flat $1.95 fee for doing so. If your credit card offers 1% back for each dollar you spend, you would earn $1.00 in rewards for a $1.95 fee. You’d clearly be better off using some other payment method.
On the other hand, if you have a rewards card that offer 5% back on cellphone purchases, you’d earn $5.00 in rewards on that $100 cellphone bill in exchange for a $1.95 fee. That’s still a pretty good deal.
Don’t Get in Debt for Rewards
No matter what, you should never charge bills you can’t afford to repay right away. There is no amount of rewards that would be worth the interest credit cards charge for carrying…