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Plastiq, PaySimply, and More: All About Bill Payment Services [2021]

We’ve updated our guide to bill payment services with the most current information on Plastiq and PaySimply, including updates to the fee structure and refer-a-friend programs.

As you grow from a beginner in Miles & Points to a more advanced participant, one of the most important lessons you learn is that you never let minimum spending requirements hold you back from applying for a card and getting the signup bonus. 

One of the best ways to reach some of the higher signup bonuses out there that may appear intimidating at first is by using bill-paying services to pay for things that normally don’t accept credit cards, such as rent, taxes, or tuition – thus simultaneously earning you rewards points while making a dent in your spending requirement.

In This Post

How Do Bill Payment Services Work?

Whenever you purchase something with your credit card, the credit card company charges a fee to the merchant. In the retail world, merchants end up adjusting their prices to pass on the bulk of these fees to the consumer, and are therefore happy with the arrangement; after all, accepting credit cards also brings in more customers thanks to the convenience factor. 

However, bill collectors – such as the CRA, municipal governments, landlords, utility companies, and universities – tend to be unwilling to accept credit cards and deal with the associated merchant fees.

That’s because they know that you have to pay these bills anyway, so they’d much prefer to receive your money via cheaper avenues like cash or debit. These organizations would find credit card fees especially costly, since the fees are charged as a percentage of the total transaction, and things like tax payments can easily add up to significant dollar amounts.

Bill payment services exist to fill this gap. They act as an intermediary between you, the bill payer who wants to use a credit card to pay a bill, and the biller, who wants to receive their money in a frictionless manner. The bill-paying service gets hit by merchant fees when doing so, and so offsets this loss by charging you an added convenience fee that makes it worthwhile for them to provide the service.

By using a bill-paying service, you get to pay your large bills with a rewards-earning credit card, earning points on these transactions (which you might value more than the convenience fee you pay), as well as helping to meet spending requirements that’ll land you a huge signup bonus (which you’ll definitely value more than the convenience fee you pay).

For example, let’s say you’re shooting for the signup bonus on the American Express Business Gold Card, which is a currently offering a very impressive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – but only after you spend $5,000 in the first three months.

If you pay a $5,000 tax bill via Plastiq at a 2.45% fee, that’ll cost you an incremental $122.50, which is a small price to pay when 60,000 MR points are on the line.

American Express Credit Cards with $5,000+ Minimum Spends
Credit Card Best Offer Value
90,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass $2,551 Apply Now
90,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass $2,236 Apply Now
105,000 MR points $1,426 Apply Now
105,000 MR points $1,393 Apply Now
75,000 MR points $1,341 Apply Now
Up to 67,000 MR points $1,221 Apply Now
50,000 MR points $944 Apply Now
Up to 90,000 Bonvoy points $660 Apply Now
2,000 Air Miles $88 Apply Now

Of course, you should aim to complete as much of the minimum spending requirement through your daily organic spending as possible, but using bill-paying services to knock out the excess is always a good deal.

As an added benefit, you also get to take advantage of the interest-free grace period on your credit card (typically 21 days), giving you more streamlined access to your money compared to paying the biller immediately via bank transfer or debit. 

Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the best bill payment services available to Canadians, starting with the biggest player in the space.

Plastiq: Intuitive Bill Payments with Visa, MasterCard, and Amex

Plastiq – available on both mobile and desktop – allows you to pay your bills using Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, charging no more than 2.85% for every transaction to a recipient in Canada.

Plastiq-Logo.jpg

Debit card transactions are subject to a lower fee of 1%, but since debit cards don’t earn rewards, it’s almost never worthwhile to use them for Plastiq.

There’s one biller in Canada that’s subject to a lower processing fee of 2.45%: the Canada Revenue Agency. When paying your personal or corporate taxes, or making any other payments to the CRA, you’ll benefit from a lower transaction fee.

Making Bill Payments with Plastiq

Plastiq works with most major billers across Canada to send them your bill payments via electronic bank transfer, so that your bills can be delivered seamlessly within five business days.

The process is quite simple: you log in to your account, search for the biller you’d like to pay, enter the payment details (amount, account number, memo, etc.), and then finalize the payment using your desired credit card.

Adding Custom Billers

What’s more, Plastiq also lets you add your own billers. For example, for rent payments, Plastiq has many property management companies in their database to whom you can pay rent; however, you’re also able to pay your own landlord by manually entering their contact details.

When you complete a payment, Plastiq will send a cheque to the custom payee’s address; in most cases, this takes about two weeks to process, so you’ll want initiate the payment well before the bill is due.

The ability to add custom billers may also be useful for business owners who need to regularly make payments to suppliers or contractors who don’t accept credit cards as payment – Plastiq will accept your credit card payment and send a cheque to the supplier on your behalf.

By using Plastiq, business owners will also benefit from greater liquidity through the interest-free grace period on their credit cards compared to paying the bill via cheque or e-Transfer.

I’ve personally used Plastiq to pay plenty of bills in running the Prince of Travel website, such as photography work, video editing work, or professional fees.

Eligible Payment Types for American Express

Note that American Express works with Plastiq to strictly regulate the types of billers that can be paid with American Express cards; therefore, many types of billers can only be paid with Visa or MasterCard.

The full chart showing which payments can be made via which credit card networks can be found at this page on the Plastiq website. If you attempt to send a payment to a non-supported biller via American Express, it will be intercepted and reversed.

Fee-Free Dollars

With Plastiq, you can also earn “fee-free dollars” (FFDs), which is how Plastiq rewards its users for referring their friends and family members to the service. A certain amount of FFDs allows you to pay that amount to a biller for free, without being charged the 2.45–2.85% transaction fee.

As of May 2021, Plastiq’s referral program works as follows: every time you refer a friend to Plastiq, you get 2,500 FFDs after they make payments totalling US$2,500 or more. The new member also earns 1,000 FFDs upon reaching the same payment threshold.

Referring friends can be a great way to save on Plastiq’s fees. If you referred two friends who completed US$2,500 in payments, then you’d have earned 5,000 FFDs, allowing you to make $5,000 in bill payments without paying any transaction fees.

Since it appears that this particular referral offer is geared towards Plastiq’s business accounts, it’s best to select “for both myself and business” as the account’s purpose when signing up, to ensure that you qualify for the FFD offer.

Use the Amex Business Gold for Plastiq Payments

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
Welcome Bonus
75,000 MR points
Annual Fee
$199
First-Year Value
$1,341

Lastly, a significant benefit of Plastiq is that it’s one of the 40 eligible “designated suppliers” for the American Express Business Gold Card, on which you can earn points at a double rate of 2 MR points per dollar spent.

Simply select Plastiq as one of your three designated suppliers, and you’ll be earning double points on all your bill payments when using the Amex Business Gold.

This makes it even sweeter of a deal to use Plastiq to meet the $5,000 spending requirement on this particular card, and also to maximize your points earnings on all bill payments going forward.

PaySimply: Pay Select Bills via PayPal for a Lower 2.5% Fee

Besides Plastiq, one of the more prominent services that has popped up in recent years is known as PaySimply, which allows Canadians to pay bills to the CRA, municipalities, colleges and universities, and utility companies using their credit cards at a 2.5% fee.

The list of eligible billers is more restrictive than Plastiq’s, and there isn’t the ability to add your own custom billers just yet.

Instead of creating an individual account and logging in, all payments are handled directly on the PaySimply website or mobile app. Simply choose your biller, enter the details of your payment, and then proceed to complete the transaction.

Direct payments with Visa, MasterCard, or Amex are subject to a 2.5% fee. Paypal payments were previously lower at 2.29%, but this has since been updated to match the 2.5% fee for direct credit card payments tooo.

With a lower transaction fee (2.5% vs. 2.85%), PaySimply is therefore a better choice than Plastiq if the following conditions are met:

  • You aren’t paying the Canada Revenue Agency (for which Plastiq has a lower fee of 2.45%)
  • Your biller is supported by PaySimply

  • You don’t have enough Plastiq FFDs to help reduce the 2.85% transaction fees

  • You’re simply looking to hit a minimum spending requirement, rather than earn as many points from your bill payment as possible; if that’s the case, then using Plastiq in conjunction with 2x points on the American Express Business Gold Card would be optimal, even if the fee is higher

Paytm: Pay Bills with MasterCard and Earn Paytm Points

One final service, Paytm – available via a mobile app only – is also available to Canadians, although recent changes to their fee table have rendered it significantly less appealing than it was before.

Like Plastiq, Paytm has a large database of major billers like the CRA, municipalities, universities, and utility companies for you to choose from. You can also pay your cellphone and internet bill (although those billers typically accept credit cards anyway) as well as your brokerage account, loans, and even credit card bills (but those can only be done via bank transfer or Paytm Cash, to prevent people from taking advantage of loopholes).

The fees for using Paytm are as follows:

As you can see, American Express cards are charged a 3% fee, which makes Paytm an inferior option compared to Plastiq if you’re looking to meet the minimum spending on an Amex card.

Meanwhile, Visa and MasterCard credit cards are subject to a 2% fee, which makes Paytm a slightly better option than Plastiq or PaySimply if you’re looking to meet the minimum spends on a Visa or MasterCard.

Ultimately, it’s the American Express products that tend to have the highest minimum spending requirements. Therefore, the occasions when Paytm might be useful are few and far between.

The other thing about Paytm is that it markets itself as more than just a bill-paying service; instead, it hopes to become your one-stop shop for all things related to your bill payments.

To that end, it allows you to do things like set up recurring bill payments or earn “Paytm Points” for using the app; however, its fees have ultimately become too prohibitive to make it a meaningful player in the Canadian bill-payment service space.

Conclusion

Credit card signup bonuses are the best way to earn a large amount of points in a short period, and it’s often the case that the most attractive bonuses are tied to the highest spending requirements.

Fortunately, with the ability to pay bills with Plastiq, PaySimply, and Paytm, you’ll be able to knock out a good chunk of the spending while also earning points on your bill payments, and you won’t be letting these seemingly onerous thresholds hold you back from racking up the points.

Out of these services, Plastiq is the leading player and gives you access to the widest range of payees. PaySimply is the closest challenger, offering a lower 2.5% fee on a more limited set of payees, while Paytm can be also a good solution for 2% bill payments using a Visa or MasterCard.

Sign up for Plastiq via Prince of Travel
You can sign up for a Plastiq business account through our affiliate link to earn 1,000 Fee-Free Dollars (FFDs) upon completing your first US$2,500 in bill payments.

Click here to sign up for Plastiq.
43 Comments
  1. Faraz Rasheed

    Hi Ricky,
    I used prince of travel’s referral link for plastiq and have payed bills over $2500. Now plastiq is asking me to provide referrer’s email address to credit FFDs, would you mind sharing the email address?

  2. Kristen

    Hello Ricky
    Have you ever heard of renttrack.ca? I’m considering asking my landlord to sign up so I can pay rent via credit card. Would love to hear any thoughts you or others might have on this service.
    Thanks!

  3. Justine Vo

    I just click on your link to open a Plastiq account. I opened it under my second email below. I had created one account without going through your referral site, under the email I subscribed to your newsletter, which is different than the following. Please let me know if my new Plastiq account went through your referral site. I don’t want to miss out on the receiving end of the bonus.

  4. Dym YYC

    Your referral link just loops back to this page for plastiq

    1. Ricky YVR

      Gosh, who gave me the keys to this site?!

      Thanks, should be fixed now.

  5. Brian

    Has anyone ever used any of these services to pay condo/strata fees? Is Plastiq able to issue post dated cheques?

  6. Ian

    Hi Ricky, thanks for this update. I’m having real difficulty recently having Plastiq accept almost everything I’m proposed to pay through their service. While the CRA and municipal payments generally work fine, there are limits placed on how much AMEX will process for CRA tax payments in any given month. Frustrates the convenience aspect of this service. Almost everything else to other vendors is kicked back. I’ve tried to pay artists for purchases (when they don’t accept credit cards), travel companies for upcoming vacations (when they won’t accept credit cards) and accountants for tax services. While I was aware of the AMEX restrictions, I was surprised when payments using VISA and MC were also kicked back as unacceptable. I would have thought that Plastiq would welcome our willingness to pay their (not insignificant) processing fees! Not sure why they feel they can’t accept legitimate purchases for payment using their service…as they promote the fact that ‘almost any purchase’ can be handled on their platorm. Clearly, this is an overstatement of the service’s actual value, but I’m not aware of any other service doing it better. Regrettable…

    1. JC

      This is a good point – it can be difficult to find vendors Plastiq is “willing” to accept, even on Visa/MC. Check in advance and submit an invoice to be verified before the bill comes due!

      Also an important thing to note – Plastiq/Amex have an agreement where you cannot pay the CRA more than $25,000 in a given month on a single card. I had a $37,000 tax bill and had to split it across 2 cards.

      1. Stainless

        Yes, all good points about the restrictions
        For myself and P2, the Amex Business Gold is a keeper card for the 2x multiplier with Plastiq. With the $250- AF on the Bus Gold, I estimate that, yearly, if you’re paying over $5,000- in bills via Plastiq, you’re ‘in the black’. Anything above $5,000- is MR points profit. So with property taxes, incomes taxes, and utilities, for us it’s a no brainer.

        1. Alex S

          Keep in mind Canadian Tire has World Elite which gives back 1% in CT money and cash advantage which gives back up to 1.5%(though you will need to hit $24000 spend to hit that). With plastiq charging 2.85% fee depending on how much you value MR points it may also be an option

          1. Alex S

            To clarify you can pay bills on CTFS website(not through plastiq) so you avoid the 2.85% fee.

  7. jerry kam

    I have a $12K tax due in Aug. Debating if it’s good idea paying 2.5% to Plastiq with Amex Business Gold. Any comment will be appreciated.

    1. Helen

      I’m in the same situation than you. Not easy to find the best solution yet. If you go with the Business Gold, be sure to put Plastic as one of your key vendor to get the 2x points. Plastiq is now at 2.85% instead of 2.5%.

      I like Jane suggestion of using several cards. Let us know what solution you find. (CIBC Business Aerogold offer looks good too)

    2. Jane

      Have you met your minimum spend on the card yet? If not then a 5k tax bill is a no brainer. If you have met the MSR and you pay the whole 12k tax bill then you’re paying $300 for 24,000 MR. Or looked at another way you’re buying MR points at 1.25 cents / point. That’s profitable … but you could come out even further ahead by signing up for a few cards this month and using that tax bill to meet the minimum spend on ALL those cards. That could be really profitable and as a bonus it takes away the temptation to buy something you don’t really need just because you feel pressured to meet your new cards spending requirement. J

  8. Frank

    Paytm points become useless. No such nice redemptions as before. They now offer discounted e gift card by redeeming your points. At the same time, they take your funds today, and pay your bill at least 5 business days late.

  9. Frank

    Use Canadian Tire World Elite Mastercard (Triangle) to make bill payment for tuition fees, property taxes and utilities, etc.. for free plus 1% Canadian Tire money back.

  10. Ricky

    Nope

  11. Andy Juan

    Just an FYI for CRA payments PaySimply now charges 2.5% for credit cards.

    1. Ricky

      The key is to go via Paypal, where it’s a 2.29% fee.

      1. Harley

        Did PaySimply stop accepting Amex and/or Paypal? When I go to try to pay my taxes to CRA, the only three options for payment are Skrill, Visa/Mastercard, and Paysafe:cash.

        I couple of weeks ago I remember I was still seeing the Amex option.

        1. Yixun Z

          I can still see Amex and PayPal on paying taxes to CRA on PaySimply. What type of CRA taxes are you paying?

  12. Kaz YVR

    Hi Ricky, among the cards you listed in the GetDigs section, I think there’s a chance that TD cash back visa infinite can also be added because it gives 3% cash back for recurring bills. The only question is that GetDigs is considered to fall in that category or not, so someone needs to try it out. I know you’re generally not into cash back cards but this card gets interesting if people can get 2% cash back on their rents?

    1. Ricky

      Definitely worth digging into this further to see if GetDigs counts as the recurring bill.

  13. Subhankar Debnath

    Hi, could you please elaborate this point – Finally, while GetDigs will look to verify your lease agreement when you’re setting up the recurring payments, there’s nothing to say that you can’t arrange to rent half of your bedroom to your spouse for a nominal amount per month, is there? ????

    I have been trying to organize this exact thing with getdigs. But how to proceed?

  14. Rav

    I have linked my CC to my paypal account but I do not see paypal as an option when I try to pay my utilities on paysimply?

    1. Ricky

      Looks like Paypal is only an option for CRA, universities, and municipalities. I’ll add a note on this to the article.

  15. Nicolas

    Steer away from Plastiq. Slow, semi-functional web page, being asked twice and thrice about the same bill. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. If you’re prepared to spend lots of time trying to sort out and manage your payments, go for it.
    I don’t know much about Paytm.

  16. Frederic Blasco

    PayTM now charges a 1.75% convenience fee for bill payments done by credit card.

  17. sebastien

    For my fellow Quebec residents, the payee options for paytm is quite limited (property tax, mobile, internet, utilities). Can’t pay CRA tax.

  18. Pino

    Can I use AMEX to pay travel agent? Will PayTM take US cards?

  19. Yamz

    Hi Ricky!
    I found out that RBC has something similar, https://www.getdigs.io.
    Have you tried it? If you know about it, can you tell me if it is better than plastiq?
    Thanks 🙂

  20. Anne Betts

    Great post, Ricky. Thanks for posting your code which is easy to insert when registering. It looks like PayTM has updated its referral system to make it more user friendly. Effective September 1, both the referrer and refer-ee get 5,000 points after a bill payment of $50 or more. Registering (today, October 7) earned 10,000 points. Not sure if it’s a Canadian Thanksgiving promotion. In any case, thanks for the post and your referral link.

  21. Marlene

    Hi Ricky,

    You can pay credit card bills with paytm? Thats cool!

    Thank you,
    Marlene

  22. Matt

    Hi Ricky, thank you very much for the informative article. Would it make sense to pay my rent long-term using one of these services for the rewards points, or is that not advised due to the fees that are charged?

    1. Ricky

      That depends on whether you value the points at more than 2.5%. If you’re using the points for high-value redemptions that can score a return of 5cpp or more, then it’d certainly be worth it.

  23. Rachel

    Hi Ricky,
    You forgot to mention the actual promo for Plastiq with Masterpass. It allows us to use Mastercard for free until september…

  24. Anna

    Hey Ricky! You mentioned:

    "You can also pay your cellphone bill, brokerage account, and even credit card bills through Paytm – but those can only be done via bank transfer or Paytm Cash"

    For cell phone bills … payment via bank transfer or Paytm cash only vs Credit Card … Is this new?

    1. Ricky

      Hey Anna,

      I was admittedly in a bit of a hurry when publishing this post and missed some info there. I meant to make a distinction between bills that otherwise accept credit cards anyway (cell phone / internet) and bills that can be paid via Paytm but not with credit cards (brokerage / debt products / credit cards). Thanks for pointing it out.

      1. Anna

        No worries Ricky! Amazed at your energy and dedication … enjoying the sights of Moscow/World Cup and providing another awesome post for your readers. Thanks so much 🙂

  25. BG

    Hi Ricky: thanks for your really helpful articles! the links for plastiq doesn’t work though.

    1. Ricky

      Oops! Thanks for catching that. Fixed that now.

      1. Herman

        Hey Ricky,

        The referral link for Plastiq doesn’t work, links to a dead page within Plastiq!

        Thanks!

        1. Nick

          Hey Ricky,

          Your referral link is down!

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