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 that monthly expense. Some issuers even offer smartphone-related perks, like built-in 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. Interestingly, it is often business credit cards that offer the best rewards for paying select monthly 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 cellphone 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
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- Citi® Double Cash Card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card
|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|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card||Current Amex offer: $15 back per month on U.S. wireless services (up to 11 times in 2021)||$250 (see rates & fees)|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card||Current Amex offer: $20 back per month on U.S. wireless services (up to 11 times in 2021)||$550 (see rates & fees)|
|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|
The information for the Wells Fargo Cash Wise 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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- Internet, cable and phone services
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 Ultimate Rewards 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.
If you’re considering a new card, 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.
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 $750 cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Related: Ink Business Cash Card review
Between new cell phone coverage offered by Amex and current Amex Offers available, this Delta SkyMiles card could be a great option.
Earning rewards: Right now, there is an Amex Offer available on the card: Spend $15+ on monthly U.S. wireless telephone services, earn $15 back each month. The offer is valid from the time you enroll through the end of 2021, and you can earn up to $165 total. You’ll also earn 1x on these purchases.
Why this is a great card to use for your cellphone bill: Not only are you essentially getting $15 off your bill each month, but Amex also recently added cell phone coverage to select cards to start April 1, 2021 — including the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Amex. When you put your entire phone bill on your card, you’ll get coverage for up to two approved claims, $800 per claim or $1,600 per 12-month period (a $50 deductible applies to each claim).
Similar to the Delta Platinum Business, the Reserve is currently a solid option to use on your cellphone bill.
Earning rewards: Like the Platinum version of this card, there is currently an Amex Offer available on the card: Spend $20+ on monthly U.S. wireless telephone services, earn $20 back each month. The offer is valid from the time you enroll through the end of 2021, and you can earn up to $220 total. You’ll also earn 1x on these purchases.
Why this is a great card to use for your cellphone bill: The new cell phone coverage also applies to the Reserve Business card, so you can have your cell phone covered while earning $20 back each month in 2021.
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.
Related: Citi Double Cash Card review
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card may be the gold standard among ease-of-use travel rewards cards.
Earning rewards: Earn 2x miles on every other purchase, including your monthly 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.
Related: Capital One Venture card review
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.
Another option: Cards with cellphone coverage
There are a number of credit cards that don’t offer a bonus category for cellphone bills but do offer cellphone coverage in case of damage or theft. While you may not earn bonus rewards on these purchases, it might still make sense to put your bill on these cards because of the potential money you can save in an emergency if something happens to your phone.
Here’s a quick list of some cards with cellphone protection:
- Citi Prestige® Card
- Chase Freedom Flex
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Centurion® Card from American Express
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Uber Visa Card
You can check out more details on these cards and the coverage they offer in our guide to cards that offer cellphone protection.
The information for the Citi Prestige, Centurion Card, Wells Fargo Propel, and Uber Visa has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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.
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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