Get Cash Back on Your Rent and Other Bills

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how to stretch your 5% cash back. Those strategies work well to stretch your cash back but there is still room for improvement. To maximize your cash back it would be great if you could get cash back on all of your bills. Unfortunately, bills such as your rent or mortgage cannot usually be paid by credit card. Or if they can be paid by credit card there is a surcharge that is larger than the cash back you would get for paying the bill.

There is a way to get cash back for paying your rent even if your leasing company doesn’t offer credit card payments as an option. I found out about this method from reading some frequent flyer blogs that share methods to increase your miles earned from credit cards. I tried using one of their methods myself and it worked without any problems.

In order to get cash back for paying rent the first thing you need to do for this particular method is to get a Bluebird(not an affiliate link) card from American Express. It is easy to sign up for the card but if you need some additional info on applying for the card you can read this post at Million Mile Secrets. Once you have the card you need to buy a Vanilla Reload card at CVS or elsewhere with your cash back credit card. There are several different prepaid cards with the word “Vanilla” on them so make sure you get the right one. There is a $3.95 fee on a $500 Vanilla Reload card. You can use the Vanilla Reload card to fund your Bluebird card and there should be no additional fee. Once the $500 from the reload card is added to your Bluebird account you can use that money to pay bills via the bill pay feature of the Bluebird card. Since you earned cash back for the purchase of the Vanilla Reload card your are effectively getting cash back for paying your bills.

I have tried this myself and didn’t have any problems. I bought the Vanilla Reload card at the CVS next to my apartment and then went home and added the card to my account. The whole process only took about 15 minutes, including the walk to the drugstore and back. The $500 was immediately credited to my account. I entered the information for my rent payment and used the bill pay to pay my rent. My travel credit card pays 2.2% in rewards so I made $11 from the purchase of the $500 gift card. Once you subtract the $3.95 for buying the card the net amount made is $7.05. That amount may not be worth the bother for many people but it is worth it to me. If your credit card pays a higher percentage of cash back then this method would be more worthwhile.

While this method worked fine for me, I have seen lots of people complain about problems with their Bluebird card. If you decide to use this method there is some risk. Also, you don’t want to abuse this method or American Express might shut you down. Some of you may see how this method could be used to basically create a perpetual cash back machine. I would advise you not to try that. There are limits on how much funds you can add to the card each month and limits on how much you can pay from the card each month to limit such use. Even if you stay under the limits you could have your account shut down if American Express feels you are abusing the card. In addition to using the bill pay feature I also use the card for regular purchases to keep me from being an unprofitable customer for the company.

Has anyone else tried a method similar to this to stretch their cash back? If so, I’d love to hear how you do it.


12 thoughts on “Get Cash Back on Your Rent and Other Bills”

  1. I have been putting more and more on our cash back credit cards simply because even 1%, which is the minimum cash back on general purchases, is much better than nothing, and it does add up.

  2. I really need to look into a better reward credit card. We’re limited right now given we’re in a DMP but once we’re out we will be getting a card that offers much more than our current one!

  3. Im not even sure if I get cash bank on my CapOne card. I already pay several monthly bills by credit card but it would be great if I was earning something from bills I pay anyway. Every little bit helps.

  4. I tried to buy a Vanilla Reload card at my local CVS but they won’t allow credit cards for transactions over $100. Darn. I’ll have to search for other CVS stores that may allow me to use my credit card.

  5. That is a very interesting work around. I have been looking to see if I can somehow pay our mortgage with a credit card. I will check if our local CVS carry the vanilla reload card and if they will allow large transactions from a credit card. Thanks!


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