Can You Pay Your Mortgage With a Credit Card?

It’s possible to pay your mortgage with a credit card, but it takes a little effort. Mortgage lenders in general don’t accept credit cards. One reason is that mortgage lenders would incur transaction-related fees. Lenders also don’t like the idea of your paying one debt by taking on another debt.

So this means you have to use a third-party service to pay your mortgage with a credit card. But this service isn’t free. Before you whip out your credit card, consider the cost. If the benefits outweigh the cost, then it’s worth considering under a few circumstances.

[Read: Best 0% APR Credit Cards.]

How to Pay Your Mortgage With a Credit Card

Even though your lender might not accept a credit card for payment, it’s possible to pay your mortgage using Plastiq, a third-party payment service. But this service is only available with a Mastercard or a Discover credit card.

You’ll have to pay a 2.85% processing fee, so it isn’t cheap. On Plastiq, you can add a credit card to your account. Another thing to keep in mind is the lag time after you make a payment to your mortgage lender. It can take up to eight business days for the lender to receive payment. So you’ll need to be organized and factor in how long it will take for the lender to get your funds.

Should I Pay My Mortgage With a Credit Card?

Now you know how to pay your mortgage with a credit card and how much it costs. If you’re wondering why anyone would pay the fee, here are four scenarios where using a credit card might (or might not) work out for you:

— Earning credit card rewards.

— Earning a sign-up bonus.

— Avoiding a late payment.

— Avoiding foreclosure.

Earning Credit Card Rewards

This might look like a great idea, but there are some practical issues to consider. I’ve already pointed out the 2.85% fee for using Plastiq. You have to run the numbers to see if you come out ahead financially.

For example, let’s say your mortgage payment is $2,000. Using Plastiq, you’d pay a $57 fee (2,000 x .0285). If you received 2% in cash back rewards, you’d earn $40 (2,000 x .02). So you’d lose $17 on this transaction.

If you’ve read some online stories about earning great rewards this way, you might be surprised that this strategy isn’t easy to pull off. In some cases, the rewards might have been earned by someone in the personal finance industry who has an affiliate relationship with Plastiq, which offsets any fees. On the other hand, some of these cases really focus on earning rewards on a sign-up bonus. That’s an idea that often works.

[Read: Best Credit Cards with High Credit Limits.]

Earning a Sign-Up Bonus

If a sign-up bonus is the reward you’re after, it’s easier to come out ahead. Let’s say you can earn $500 or 50,000 miles (worth $500 or more) if you spend $2,000 within the first three months of opening a credit card account. In this case, your reward is $500 (or miles to redeem), and minus the $57 fee, you come out ahead by $443. If there’s an annual fee that isn’t waived for the first year, then that amount also cuts into your profit.

But if you aren’t going for a sign-up bonus, be sure you run the numbers to determine if the rewards you’d earn are worth the fee. They probably won’t be.

Avoiding a Late Payment

For some, using a credit card to pay a mortgage is a way to avoid making a late payment. With a credit card, you can get a short-term, interest-free loan. But this is only advisable if your cash flow problem is temporary and you can pay the credit card balance in full when it’s due.

For one month, it might be worth paying the fee to avoid a negative item on your credit report and a hit to your score. But if this is an ongoing issue, you’ll get caught in an increasing cycle of debt. This is basically the way payday lenderslure you into debt. Contact your mortgage lender to discuss options.

Avoiding Foreclosure

Sometimes, a lack of cash can take you to the brink of foreclosure. You might think that the prospect of losing your house is worth using a credit card over and over again. But since most credit cards have high annual percentage rates, your finances will get much worse over time. If you’re having trouble making mortgage payments without resorting to your credit card, don’t be tempted to get a cash advance, either.

Cash advances usually have extremely high APRs plus a transaction fee. To make matters worse, there’s no grace period. You’ll start paying interest right away. If you’re desperate for cash, contact your mortgage lender to discuss options.

How It Impacts Your Credit Score

Putting a large amount on your credit card impacts your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you’ve used compared with the amount of credit you have available. Your ratio should be less than 30%, but to maintain a high score, keep it to less than 10%.

For example, if you have a $3,000 limit and use your card for a $2,057 (remember, there’s a $57 fee) mortgage payment, your utilization ratio for that card is almost 69% (2,057 / 3,000). If you plan to pay your credit card bill in full quickly, then your score could still take a hit, but it will bounce back if your ratio stays low.

If you have a high score and you’re in a solid place financially, then it might be worth using your credit card to pay your mortgage now and then to earn a sign-up bonus. Just be sure you don’t carry the balance into the next month.

Pros and Cons of Paying Your Mortgage With a Credit Card

Before you make a decision, think about both the advantages and the disadvantages of using a credit card to pay your mortgage. Here’s a summary of pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros

— You can earn credit card rewards.

— It can help you earn a sign-up bonus on a new credit card.

— It can help you avoid a late fee on your mortgage payment.

— You can temporarily avoid foreclosure.

Cons

— It can wreak havoc on your credit score, at least temporarily.

— If you don’t pay the balance off quickly, you can end up in credit card debt.

— You’ll pay a 2.85% fee to use Plastiq.

More from U.S. News

5 Ways to Lower Credit Card Utilization

Is COVID-19 Credit Relief Going Away?

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Can You Pay Your Mortgage With a Credit Card? originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 08/31/22:

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