Travel credit card signup bonuses are one of the best means to free travel but some offers come with non-trivial minimum spending requirements. For many engaged couples who are paying wedding costs themselves, meeting those requirements will come easy. If that’s not the case though, there are some ways to meet those spending requirements without throwing any money away by spending on something you don’t need.
This post covers the use of Western Union’s online SpeedPay service to pay certain bills with your credit card even though those companies do not accept credit card payments directly. The service currently works for PHH Mortgage, various insurance companies such as Citicorp, fourteen utility companies such as BG&E, PSEG Long Island, Black Hills Power and more. (Also note that though you’ll see quite a few mentions of Western Union here, you won’t see any requests from Nigerian princes!)
For providing this service, Western Union charges a small flat fee, typically on the order of two or three dollars. That is a small fee to pay if you’re making a large payment. With this flat fee arrangement it doesn’t make sense to make small, repeated payments to a payee with this service. However, if you’re making a large payment, say $600, that fee ends up being only about 0.3%. That’s a great cost rate for a payment that you would otherwise not be able to make with a credit card.
How to Use the Speedpay Site
The Speedpay site is straightforward but I’ve included a few screengrabs and instructions to show you how to use it.
At the home screen of the site you should click the SEARCH BILLERS button under Make a BILL PAYMENT.
That will bring you to the welcome screen shown here:
At this screen, click the appropriate “tab” to select the type of biller you’d like to pay. For this example we’ll select UTILITY and select the first utility biller listed – Baltimore Gas & Electric.
Once you’ve selected a biller or payee, the service fee is disclosed:
Once you click the I AGREE button, you’ll be prompted to enter in your account info:
After doing so, you’ll see a page which gives you the option to make a payment via checking account or ATM/debit/credit card. Select the latter option.
On the next screen you’ll enter your payment information.
Take note of the fine print at the bottom of the page which indicates the maximum payment. I tend to make the maximum payment as that minimizes the percentage cost of the flat fee. That will leave me with a credit with the biller. That credit is simply decremented each month by the biller when a new bill payment is required.
The Speedpay service enables you to use a credit card to make payments that you would otherwise have to make with alternate means (e.g. check, debit). It is straightforward to use and the flat fee charged is minimal. Though the service is only effective for a limited number of billers, I’ve covered it here in the hope that it will help a few readers directly and inspire others to seek out similar payment services.
Have you been able to use Speedpay, or other similar services, for credit card payments that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to make with a credit card? If so, please share a note on your experience in the comments below!