Best credit cards for paying your cell phone bill
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
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 cell phone 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 cell phone 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 cell phone bills. Some carriers offer cobranded credit cards, but these generally fall short when compared to the best options available, including a number of business credit cards that offer rewards for paying utility bills such as cell phone 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 six credit cards that fit the bill.
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Overview of the best cards for paying your cell phone 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
The information for the Ink Business Cash, Ink Business Preferred has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
|Card||Cell phone 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 all purchases||$95|
|Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card||1.5% back on all purchases||$0|
|Citi Prestige® Card||1x on cell phone services||$450|
The information for the Citi Double Cash Card, 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 cell phone bill details
Because the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers bonus points on office-related spending, it’s a great match for small business owners.
Earning rewards: The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card earns 3 points per dollar (a 6.3% return based on our valuations) on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in these categories:
- Advertising on search engines and social media sites
- Internet, cable and phone services
Notice that last bullet point — that’s where your cell phone 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 cell phone 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 cell phone 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 cell phones 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 3 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 cell phone 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 boost the redemption rate significantly 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
Related reading: Comparing Ink Business credit cards
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 cell phone bill, you’ll earn around $23 in cash back annually by using this card to pay your bill.
Why it’s a great card to use on your cell phone 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 cell phone 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 cell phone bill. TPG values Venture miles at 1.4 cents each, meaning you’ll get around $31 in rewards value from using this on your cell phone bill.
Why it’s a great card to use on your cell phone 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 cell phone protection might enjoy the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa. The card doens’t have the highest earning rate on this list, but the cell phone 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 cell phone 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 cell phone bill: The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card may have one of the lowest rewards return 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 on your cell phone (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 cell phone protection. If you want a card that will offer luxury benefits and cell phone protection, this card is worth considering.
Earning rewards: Unfortunately, the card does not offer a category bonus on cell phone spending. You’ll earn just 1 point per dollar spent on your cell phone bill payments. However, you do 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 cell phone bill: The Citi Prestige® Card’s cell phone 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 4th Night Free benefit that can save you big on hotel stays and a $250 annual travel credit.
How can you earn rewards on your cell phone bill?
Just like any other purchase, you’ll earn rewards on your monthly cell phone 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 cell phone bill each month, and those rewards can add up over time. Of course, the rewards earned on your monthly cell phone 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 spend frequently in.
Keep in mind that rewards aren’t the only consideration when choosing which card is best to use on your cell phone bill. Some of the cards on this list also come with cell phone coverage, which can protect you in case 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 extended warranty on my cell phone purchase?
The cell phone protection offered by some of these cards differs from extended warranty coverage some cards offer.
Extended warranty extends the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible products. It mirrors the protection offered by the manufacturer, which means the coverage details will vary from purchase to purchase. While extended warranty will cover your cell phone if the issuer lists it as an eligible purchase, extended warranty will only cover you for a certain period of time whereas cell phone 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 cell phone 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 cell phone spending (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary), it also offers up to $600 in protection against theft and damage.
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 cell phone coverage and no annual fee.
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Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page with the best currently available credit cards for paying cell phone bills, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for updates. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older offers below.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.