Use these cards when paying your cellphone bill
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At TPG, we’re all about helping readers find ways to maximize every purchase possible, from your daily latte run to your monthly phone bill. You’re not going to get points rich simply by paying your monthly cellphone bill with a credit card. But it’s still important to use the right card to cover the monthly expense. Some issuers even offer smartphone-related perks, like cellphone protection, for when you damage your phone.
Finding the right card for this purpose isn’t always easy since few personal credit cards offer an explicit rewards category that includes cellphone bills. Some carriers offer cobranded credit cards, but these generally fall short compared to the best options available, including several business credit cards that offer rewards for paying utility bills such as cellphone service.
Luckily, you can qualify for many of these cards even if you don’t own a traditional business. Otherwise, you could look to cash-back credit cards that don’t restrict their high-dollar rewards to certain spending categories. Here are seven cards that could help you maximize your monthly bill.
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Overview of the best cards for paying your cellphone bill
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Citi® Double Cash Card
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card
- Citi Prestige® Card
- Chase Freedom Flex
|Card||Cellphone rewards||Annual fee|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||3x on the first $150,000 on assorted business categories each account anniversary year, including phone services||$95|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||5% on the first $25,000 spent on assorted business categories each account anniversary year, including phone services||$0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||2% back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay your bill)||$0|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||2x on purchases||$95|
|Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card||1.5% back on all purchases||$0|
|Citi Prestige® Card||1x on cellphone services||$450|
|Chase Freedom Flex||1x on cell phone services||$0|
The information for the Chase Freedom Flex, Wells Fargo Cash Wise and Citi Prestige cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Best credit cards for paying your cellphone bill
Because the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers bonus points on office-related spending, it’s a great match for small business owners.
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Notice that last bullet point — that’s where your cellphone service comes in. You’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all other eligible purchases. According to the 2018 Consumer Price Index, Americans spent about $1,188 annually on cellphone service. Based on that number, if you used this card to pay your phone bill, you’d earn 3,564 Chase Ultimate Rewards points in a year. TPG values UR points at a hefty 2 cents apiece, meaning you could get about $71 in value annually just by paying your phone bill with this card.
Why it’s a great card to use on your cellphone bill: Aside from the high return on spending, the Ink Business Preferred comes with a nice perk smartphone users may value — protection against theft or damage for up to $600 per claim for you and your employees. You have to pay your monthly phone bill with your Ink Business Preferred card to qualify for this benefit. There’s a limit of three claims in a 12-month period, with a $100 deductible per claim. Watch out for the long list of things this insurance won’t cover, including cosmetic damage and cellphones stolen from baggage.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers a valuable welcome bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months. TPG values it at $1,600 if you maximize Chase’s transfer partners.
APPLY HERE: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers substantial rewards for phone bill spending and has no annual fee. If you have another Chase card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can convert your cash back rewards to Ultimate Rewards points.
Earning rewards: The Ink Business Cash Credit Card earns 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year (then 1%). With the Ink Business Cash Credit Card, you can anticipate rewards of about $59 a year based on the typical phone bill of $1,188.
Why it’s a great card to use on your cellphone bill: If you’re looking for a card that offers more than just opportunities to earn on office spending, the Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers a bit more flexibility. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year (then 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can significantly boost the redemption rate by turning your cash back into Ultimate Rewards points by pairing this card with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Doing this could boost your return on your phone bill to 10%, according to TPG valuations.
You’ll also earn $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 in the first three months after account opening.
APPLY HERE: Ink Business Cash Credit Card
If you’re looking for a no-frills card you can use on all purchases while still getting rewarded, the Citi Double Cash Card is an excellent option.
Earning rewards: You’ll earn up to 2% cash back on your purchases,1% when you buy and 1% when you pay as long as you make your minimum monthly payment. Based on the average cellphone bill, you’ll earn around $23 in cash back annually using this card to pay your bill.
Why it’s a great card to use on your cellphone bill: Since its introduction in 2014, Citi® Double Cash Card has been a popular choice for people who want rewards but don’t want to think about earning them. The card has no annual fee and you can even convert your cash back earnings to Citi ThankYou points for maximum rewards. While this certainly isn’t the flashiest card on the list, it’s simple to use across purchases — including your monthly cellphone bill.
APPLY HERE: Citi® Double Cash Card
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card may be the gold standard among ease-of-use travel rewards cards.
Earning rewards: Earn 5x on car rentals hotels paid for with the card through the Capital One travel portal and 2x miles on every other purchase, including your monthly cellphone bill. TPG values Venture miles at 1.4 cents each, meaning you’ll get around $31 in rewards value from using this on your cellphone bill.
Why it’s a great card to use on your cellphone bill: Like the Citi Double Cash, the Venture offers simplicity in a travel rewards credit card. You’re getting rewards across all purchases, no matter what those purchases are. Capital One has recently upgraded its transfer partner list, which means even more redemption options for miles. You can redeem for a fixed value or transfer to partners for potentially even more value.
APPLY HERE: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card
Those who want a no-annual-fee card that offers cellphone protection might enjoy the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa. The card doesn’t have the highest earning rate on this list, but the cellphone protection benefit could save you more in the long run than the rewards you’d earn with other cards.
Earning rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, including your cellphone bill. This only equates to about $16 in cash back annually, but the rewards rate on this card isn’t the only reason to consider using it to pay your bill.
Why this is a great card to use for your cellphone bill: The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card may have one of the lowest rewards returns on our list at 1.5% cash back. But Cash Wise also has no annual fee and it comes with insurance coverage similar to what’s offered on the more expensive Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. You’ll receive up to $600 protection for your cellphone (subject to a $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly phone bill with your Cash Wise card. Other Wells Fargo cards also offer this benefit.
Related reading: Don’t overlook Wells Fargo credit cards
Citi Prestige® Card
The Citi Prestige has the highest annual fee of the cards on this list, but you’ll get more out of this card than cellphone protection. If you want a card that will offer luxury benefits and cellphone protection, this card is worth considering.
Earning rewards: Unfortunately, the card does not offer a category bonus on cellphone spending. You’ll earn just 1 point per dollar spent on your cellphone bill payments. However, you get 5x on all air travel and restaurant purchases and 3x on hotel and cruise line purchases.
Why this is a great card to use for your cellphone bill: The Citi Prestige® Card’s cellphone protection covers damage and theft up to $1,000 per claim and up to $1,500 per year. To be eligible, you must pay your phone bill with the Citi Prestige® Card and pay a $50 deductible per claim. Other reasons to consider this card include a fourth-night free benefit that can save you big on hotel stays and a $250 annual travel credit.
Chase Freedom Flex
The new Chase Freedom Flex is a solid all-around cash back credit card, especially if you pair it with a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card.
Earning rewards: The card earns 5% back on rotating quarterly categories (up to $1,500 per quarter; activation required) and travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drug stores, and 1% back on everything else. While you’ll only earn 1% on your cellphone bill, it might still be a good option for your cellphone bill each month.
Why this is a great card to use for your cellphone bill: If you don’t have a card that offers both rewards on your cellphone bill and cellphone protection, the Chase Freedom Flex may be a good option to use. You’re only getting 1% on your bill, but the new Chase card comes with cellphone protection — up to $800 per claim for theft or damage, with a maximum of two claims and $1,000 total in a 12 month period ($50 deductible per claim).
How can you earn rewards on your cellphone bill?
Just like any other purchase, you’ll earn rewards on your monthly cellphone bill by using a rewards credit card to cover your bill. If you know which card to use, you can get up to 5% back on your cellphone bill each month, and those rewards can add up over time. Of course, the rewards earned on your monthly cellphone aren’t going to be enough to completely offset the cost of an annual fee on a card. You should consider using a card that will also earn rewards on other purchase categories you frequently spend in.
Keep in mind that rewards aren’t the only consideration when choosing which card is best to use on your cellphone bill. Some of the cards on this list also come with cellphone coverage, which can protect you if your phone gets lost or damaged. In many cases, this benefit can be more valuable than the rewards you’ll earn on your monthly bill.
Do these cards offer an extended warranty on my cellphone purchase?
The cellphone protection offered by some of these cards differs from the extended warranty coverage some cards offer.
Extended warranty extends the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible products. It mirrors the manufacturer’s protection, which means the coverage details will vary from purchase to purchase. While extended warranty will cover your cellphone if the issuer lists it as an eligible purchase, extended warranty will only cover you for a certain period of time. In contrast, cellphone protection is generally available so long as you pay your bill with your card each month.
If you want to earn more than 1% paying your cellphone bill with a credit card, your best bet is a small-business credit card like the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. It not only earns 3x points on cellphone spending (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary), it also offers up to $600 in protection against theft and damage.
But if you can’t qualify for a small business card, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card offers terrific value at 1.5% cash back, $600 in cellphone coverage and no annual fee.
Featured image by Mirko Vitali/EyeEm/Getty Images
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