Pay Mortgage with Credit Card For Free

Can you pay your mortgage with a credit card? The answer is YES. I’ve been doing that every month for two years. No, I’m not talking about third party programs which charge you a fee of more than 2% of the payment amount. That’s not smart. I don’t pay any fee or interest. Although I don’t get credit card reward points for the mortgage payment, I receive free float. January mortgage payment is charged to the credit card on January 1. The credit card bill isn’t due until after Feb. 15. When every mortgage payment is deferred by a month, it’s equivalent to having one monthly payment in my pocket as an interest-free loan forever.

You need a credit card by FIA Card Services. FIA Card Services is the new name for MBNA after Bank of America bought it. Eligible cards include Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa (I have this card), the new Fidelity Retirement Rewards American Express, or the new Schwab Bank Invest First Visa, and perhaps some other cards also offered by FIA. The last two cards both pay 2% cash back on all purchases, which is the best you can find. These cards have online bill payment service just like checking accounts do. FIA calls it Bill Pay Choice. Set up your mortgage payment as a recurring bill and the card will pay your mortgage every month. Bill payments are treated as regular purchases, not cash advance. I then set up auto-debit from the card to my checking account for the full balance on the due date (call customer service for a form). That guarantees the card balance is paid off in full and on time every month. It’s all free and fully automated.

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Comments

  1. Robert says

    It’s a great news, I am sure plenty of people would latch on to this opportunity, I hope this lasts for a long time!

  2. James says

    Thanks for the great tip. After all, for many of us, the mortgage payment is the single largest montly expense. Do you know how I can find out about other available FIA cards? For years, I was looking for something like this. Thanks

  3. says

    Is this for real? I’ve been looking for a way to pay my mortgage with a credit card (so that I cane take advantage of the rewards, of course) ever since buying my home, but the only one I saw was the third-party service that charged an exorbitant fee for the convenience. If this works out, it will be a nice source of free money!

  4. says

    Whoops. Just read that your mortgage payment isn’t good for rewards. You’ll still earn some money if you put it in a “high-yield” savings account, I guess…

  5. says

    James – I don’t know which other cards from FIA also have Bill Pay Choice. If you Google ‘FIA “Bill Pay Choice”‘ you will see some other cards.

    DoneToZen – I updated the post and made “no rewards” bold. Free float is good enough for me.

  6. says

    Useless. If you are so strapped for money that you have to delay your mortgage payment every month, you have bigger problems than figuring out how to juggle your debt. An “interest free loan forever” – give me a break. If you really want to win, pay 10% extra on your mortgage payment every month and reduce your total interest by thousands! (and you need to stop listening to Suzie Orman and her “FICO-babble” – she is not all that clever.)

  7. JeffieG says

    James – Just wanted to make it clear to your readers…not only do your mortgage payments not received the 2% cash back, actually none of your online checks used with this account receive the 2% cash back. Pretty disappointed – I thought I found a way to get back 2% cash on my rent and student loan payments.

    So really, the only benefit would be the float.

  8. Jeff says

    James: you indicated you used auto-debit to pay “the full balance on the due date”. Is this the full balance of only the mortgage payment, or the full balance of all the charges on the card?

    If its the latter, I am confused; how could you know in advance what each month’s full balance will be?

  9. says

    Jeff – The full balance of all charges on the card, including mortgage payment. The credit card company manages that. They automatically debit my checking account on the due date for the full balance, whatever it comes out to be. Of course I receive the account statement a few weeks before the due date and I’m aware of what’s going to happen.

  10. Lost says

    I called Schwab First Visa, they wont give you the 2% I call like 5 times different story each time. All the credit card company say you need to call your mortgage company and see how they treat the payment. If they treat it as cash advance you will be charge on the CC side. The fidelity one say the same thing call your mortgage company. Floating for 1 month is nice because with Schwab checking account you earn 1% for now before it was like 4%. If you have a few mortgage like I do it will help ALOT. I still want the 2% reward.

  11. Justin says

    Have you actually done this?

    As I understand it you need to be grandfathered in to use MBNA’s Bill Pay Choice.

    I think the only people who can get this feature are the ones who set up Bill Pay Choice years ago, before MBNA was purchased by Bank of America. Also, I guess people who are authorized users on MBNA cards that have Bill Pay Choice already set up can get it too (at least that’s what I read on some fatwallet post).

    I guess that this is still an assumption, though–it’s just something that I’ve sort of pieced together through a lot of internet research (I don’t have this billpay but I want it badly). If anyone knows otherwise please shoot me an email at [removed by editor]… this feature is awesome and as far as I know I’m ineligible because I never had an MBNA card (I’m only 20 years old). If there’s a way, though, I’d love to hear about it.

    Justin

  12. says

    Justin – Yes, as I said in the post I’ve been doing this every month for more than two years and it’s still going. You need a card managed by FIA Card Services, not just Bank of America. Have you tried applying for one of the Fidelity or Schwab cards mentioned in the post?

  13. Justin says

    I found out some more information on this last night.

    Unfortunately, no, a FIA Card Services credit card doesn’t automatically grant you access to Bill Pay Choice. If I signed up and got a Schwab Invest First card tomorrow I wouldn’t have access to the special billpay. Most people who have this feature were grandfathered in years ago through their old MBNA cards. What’s nice, though, is that once you’re in on one card, all your FIA cards get access… usually.

    Oddly enough, though, if I signed up for the Fidelity Visa card serviced through FIA tomorrow I -would- have access to Bill Pay Choice (probably–it worked for someone last year). It seems that the Fido Visa is the only option for newcomers to get access to this awesome feature. Fortunately, though, like I said before, once you get billpay on the Fido Visa you can extend it to any other FIA cards (like the Schwab or Merrill ones).

    Also, fyi, I’ve read that FIA Card Services -is- Bank of America–FIA is what card issuers use when they don’t want their customers to know that their cards are being services by BoA.

    Thanks for the blog, by the way! If it weren’t for this post I’d have had no idea that this feature even existed :) Take care~

  14. dan says

    not sure if it is true, but I just called Charles Schwab cust. service and they said that as long as you dont use bill pay choice you are eligible for the 2% cash back on mortgage payments.

  15. Justin says

    Yeah Dan, that is correct. Bills paid to lenders that accept credit card payments qualify for cash back here because technically they’re considered retail purchases.

    Unfortunately, though, not many lenders have it set up so you can make mortgage payments with your credit card (without using Bill Pay Choice, anyway). However, a lot of other kinds of payments, like utility bills, can be set up just fine. It sure sounds nice getting 2% off on stuff like that :)

    Justin

  16. Justin says

    Also, I just got accepted for a Schwab Invest First FIA card and I’m going to try a few different ways to get Bill Pay Choice on it–I’ll let you guys know how it goes

    :)

  17. Justin says

    Good deal! I guess the information I got before wasn’t entirely correct :)

    Someone with no ties to MBNA or FIA or anything can apply for a Schwab Invest First Visa and start enjoying Bill Pay Choice as soon as they get it, no questions asked. Just register on fiacardservices.com

    Worked for me, anyway :) Thanks guys!

  18. cuse says

    they no longer let you pay with a credit card if you have a Bank of America mortgage i was told you can still pay with cc if you had a loan with countrywide tho

  19. Anie says

    I just called B of A and they won’t let you pay your B of A mortgage with a credit card. They will let you pay with “convenience” checks though…but those are ridiculous with the fees that are attached.
    Still going to try to get in on the Schwab First card for benefits alone!

  20. Sergey says

    I followed this forum and decided to try Fidelity Investment Card. I received the card today, went to http://www.fiacardservices.com and created a user login by registering the credit card. Once I created the profile I saw Bill Pay option and I had the ability to add merchants. I searched for my mortgage company, found it, added account number and the zip code and the Bill Pay added my mortgage company to the list of bills I can pay. I have not paid the mortgage yet but will try in February. I expect it to be pretty straightforward.

  21. Paul K says

    “When every mortgage payment is deferred by a month, it’s equivalent to having one monthly payment in my pocket as an interest-free loan forever.”

    Wow, all that creativity in your head and you are still hopelessly in debt!

    If I set aside my lunch and wait until dinner-time to eat it – was it free? No.

    People who buy into this debt juggling act really need help. Perhaps there will soon be a pill for the condition.

  22. Tyler E says

    To Paul K-

    Think outside of the box a little, man. If you get free float that means you can put that money into a CD or money market account where you can earn interest. Not everyone who would take advantage of this would use the money unwisely. If they do, then they should get what’s coming to them. However your comments are pretty narrow-minded.

  23. Liran says

    Here’s another thing Paul – think about it this way.

    Let’s say you could pause all your payments by a month, interest free…just on inflation alone you’d be saving a tremendous amount because by the time you paid it all off the money would probably only be worth half, if that. This is a great deal – now if only there was a way to get some rewards out of this…

  24. Deirdre says

    I think this is a great idea for those of us that have AMEX charge cards. You can’t get into trouble since the bill is due in full every month, but you get the benefit of the rewards points. I am sorry to say that my mortgage lender (SunTrust) is not set-up to take credit cards.

  25. Wonderer says

    “If you have upgraded Bill Pay Choice to pay bills using your credit card, all payments funded with your credit card are Out-of-Network AND WILL NOT EARN POINTS. unless there is an In-Network logo In-Network next to the make a payment button.”

  26. Scott says

    Just recently got my FIA Fidelity Amex and started using bill pay. I want to make my BofA mortgage payment using bill pay but I can’s find BofA under possible bill pay merchants. Help?

  27. TFB says

    Scott – I heard FIA (owned by B of A) does not allow paying bills owed to B of A from the card. Paying credit cards or mortgage from other banks is OK.

  28. Rob says

    I’ve been using this set-up for awhile, paying my american express bill and auto-loan payments with my BoA MasterCard. I do this to avoid monitoring my checking account balance with each paid bill, I just check it once a month, when I pay my BoA MasterCard.

    Unfortunately it appears BoA is eliminating that option this year. Earlier this week I received a letter from BoA saying “As of September 30, 2010, customers will no longer be able to use their Bank of America credit card to make or schedule payments to merchants through our online Bill Pay Service”

    So I can continue to pay bills online, but I must pay those bills with my BoA checking account.

    I tried calling them to find out why they made the change, but just got passed around from rep to rep and nobody really seemed to know why it was occurring.

    Does anyone know any other credit card that offer this service?

  29. Alex says

    I have been using this service as well for several years now. It offers convenience, flexibility and of course float. I can accumulate points in all of the other credit cards and then pay it all at once.

    The service is being eliminated and I cant seem to find another company that does this without charging a fee, and this has me very frustrated. Apparently, bank of america bought FIA card services, the cards that have this ability.

    Well its life I guess….

  30. John says

    Just got a notice from FIA (BofA) that they are stopping the service effective November7, 2010, letting your card be the funding source. I would urge all who are utilizing this service to call and let them know of your displeasure with the change. and letting them know that you will be switching cards.

  31. Adam says

    I also got that letter from Bank Of America. When I called asking about it, nobody @ BOA knew anything about it – they checked around and NO ONE had heard that they will be discontinuing the service using the CC as one of the payment methods.
    Sent an email to the ABUSE department @ BOA – 3 times, to see if this was some type of scam, still haven’t gotten a reply on the letter yet!

  32. WB says

    I received the same letter. I went ahead and scheduled out payments for the next year, just in case they are allowed to go through. I’m glad to see the letter wasn’t just sent to me, however this is very dissapointing.

  33. thor says

    Well, I spoke to Fidelity CS – you won’t be able to setup any new accounts after Nov 7th but you will be able to use existing ones till Feb 2011. I was advised to check with current mortgage company. Many say they don’t accept credit cards payments but some do but don’t advertise it. She gave me Bank of America example where you can use card of your choice to pay your monthly mortgage bill. Can anyone confirm this?

  34. berach says

    hey the party is over no more paying bills with credit card its a shame was great while it lasted if there is anyone else with any suggestions please let us know

  35. tim says

    This appears to be a great concept but does not appear to work.
    I have the fidelity card you mention and do not see a bill pay choice
    option for recurring payment. Please advise

  36. Sammy says

    It sounds great but yield little. Essentially you get a 0% loan in the amount of monthly mortgage payment. It doesn’t make sense to keep the loan over CC due day, because of higher interest. That is about $3000 with 1-4% saving earned, or $30 – $120 a year for all the hassle. In the worst case, if your CC is due on 15th and mortgage due on 10th, you only get 5 day free cash.

  37. Irene says

    s of November 2010, Fidelity investment visa card no longer offer bill pay options. That also applies to all auto payments scheduled prior to November 2010. 

    Not sure about other cards mentioned on the article.  

  38. WB says

    It WAS only good if you pay off your CC EVERY month in full, if you don’t it is stupid to do this. If you do, you end up with an interest free loan for longer than you suggest, its not 5 days in your example.

    Mortage Due 10th
    CC Statement Closes 15th – +5 Days
    Payment is due on that statement on the 10th of the following month – + 25 Days

    You just received a 30 day interest free loan. I used this float to make an extra full month’s payment when I started, that extra payment saved me thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. It may seem small but every little bit helps. If you ever carry a balance however, this will burn you.

  39. Debbie says

    I thought this might be a great savings plan… pay my mortgage with my credit card, set up automatic payment of my credit card, get 2% from Schwab on purchases to put into a CD or money market.

    I made a few inquiries and found what many others on this blog found (wish I had finished reading before spending the time). Mortgage payments can only be paid with credit cards if the lender accepts those types of payments. According to my lender, Wells Fargo, there is a law that prohibits the payment of debt with credit.

    I think the only way to get around that is a cash advance type payment, or bill pay service that FIA used to offer, which doesn’t LOOK like a payment with credit to the receiver. As someone mentioned, cash advances often have big fees, or free offers are sporadic. I will only choose something that can be setup once and happen automatically, or it is not worth my time. Perhaps BofA stopped offering Bill Pay because of this same law?

    Has anyone found a credit card company that allows Bill Pay which allows rewards/cashback for mortgage payments?

    By the way, I get the whole float thing. The writer of the article wasn’t suggesting getting into more debt to pay off debt. He specifically talks about a way to set up to ensure paying it off every month. The whole point was to use that float money to invest elsewhere. It sounds a big complicated for me to try but I get the concept.

  40. john denver says

    So you are going to float 6 weeks worth of payment for 30 years? Say your payment is 1200 dollars P&I earning 3% per year floated for 6 weeks at a time makes for 8.6 units of interest. multiply that out for 30 years and you get 1080 bucks for 30yrs. Or you could skip the dumb liability of a cc paying your mortgage. to do this and pencil you would need to buy one less mocha per 4.5 weeks, drive 3 miles less per week, use 15 less sheets of tp a day, you know what…. save 9.84 pennies a day and convince james to go shoot himself.

  41. says

    If you could get the “float” OR if there’s no limit on how many payments per month you can make to the same account with your credit cards, you could do the weekly or bimonthly payment method AND this would save you a lot of money in the life of the loan OR 1 full payment per year!–It would be that you’ll have to set it up at both, the lender and the credit company online pay system.–Even if you pay the full amount of your credit card bill.–Some of you know that with most ebills (or at least with BofA), you are able to set up for the balance to be paid: a) in full; b) minimum payment; c) a fixed amount.

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