How Long Does it Take For Bluebird “Pay Bills” to Post Your Payment?

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Bluebird Introduction

One of the best uses of American Express Bluebird is the ability to pay for transactions which can’t usually be made with a miles or points earning credit card. Transactions such as your rent, mortgage, car payment, credit card bill, tuition etc.

You load your Bluebird card (which you can order online) with a points earning debit card at Wal-Mart.  You can also reload Bluebird with Vanilla Reload cards which you can buy at CVS, Walgreen’s or other locations.  Alternate with other credit cards so that you’re not spending too much at buying Vanilla Reloads with any one credit card.

Here’s a post on other credit cards to use with Bluebird, so that you’re not maxing out on just 1 card.

You may also be able to pay for the Vanilla Reloads with a credit card at Walgreen’s, but this isn’t always the case and could be a bit of wild goose chase.

Here’s a post on what a Vanilla Reload looks like and  how to load a Vanilla Reload card to your Bluebird account.

Bluebird Pay Bills

My Bluebird “Pay Bill” payments to Emily’s Sallie Mae student loans and my Chase credit card account posted within 1 business day.

I Paid Sallie Mae & Chase Credit Cards Using Bluebird’s Pay Bill Feature

I’m excited to now earn miles and points for these routine transactions which didn’t earn miles and points before!  And to be able to meet minimum spending requirements to get the sign-up bonus on new credit cards much more easily!

I explained earlier with lots of screen shots and details on “How to Use Bluebird “Pay Bills” to Pay Rent, Mortgage, Credit Cards, Utilities, College Tuition, etc.

One of the best uses of American Express Bluebird is the ability to pay for transactions which can’t usually be made with a miles or points earning credit card. Transactions such as your rent, mortgage, car payment, credit card bill, tuition etc.

You load your Bluebird card (which you can order online) with a points earning debit card at Wal-Mart or with Vanilla Reload cards which you buy for 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points using a Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus or other Chase Ink cards. Or alternate with other credit cards so that you’re not spending too much at Office Depot with Ink credit cards.

Here’s a post on other credit cards to use with Bluebird, so that you’re not maxing out on your Chase Ink card.

Payment Options

You can pay bills or loans for anyone as long as you have their account information.

Bluebird offers 2 options to pay your bills via their “Pay Bills” system.  The first way is to look up the name of the business whom you want to pay.  If the business is listed in the Pay Bill system, you can send money electronically from your Bluebird account to the business which you owe money.  I used this option to pay Sallie Mae student loans and my Chase credit card bill.

Available payees include, for example:

  • Most mortgage, car loan, student loans, credit cards and financial institutions
  • Most utility companies

The Bill Pay system is quirky and, in some cases, requires you to enter in the full 9 digit zip code (without the hyphen) of the person or business whom you are paying (not your zip code).  This is a check to help ensure that your payment goes to the correct payee.

There is a monthly limit of $10,000 for payments to payees listed in the Bluebird Pay Bill system.

The second option is if the business or person whom you want to pay is not listed in the system – say your apartment complex or contractor.

In that case, you enter the name, address, and account number of the payee and Bluebird will mail a check for free with your account information on it.

How long to post your Payment

American Express guarantees that your payment will reach on time if you schedule it at least 6 business days in advance of the due date.  However the guarantee is for only up to $50 in late payment fees.

I made test payments to a Sallie Mae student loan and to a Chase credit card.  Both these payments were to payees listed in the Bluebird Pay Bill system.  My payments were applied to my account within 1 business day. However, I still recommend submitting your bill payment at least 6 business days in advance, if not longer.  Paying late fees is never any fun.

Here are the details:

1.   Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card.  I sent a test payment of $100 from Emily’s Bluebird account to my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card account. I entered my 16 digit credit card number as the “account number” on the Pay Bill screen.

Enter Your 16 Digit Credit Card Number as the Credit Card Account Number

I submitted the payment at 6:52 pm CST (after business hours) on October 22, 2012 and Bluebird indicated that my payment would be applied to my account on October 24, 2012.  This means that it took 1 business day for the payment to post to my account.

I logged into my Chase Sapphire Preferred account on October 24, 2012, but my payment didn’t appear in my account.  But the payment did show up when I logged in to my account on October 25, 2012.  The payment was posted on October 24, 2012, which was exactly when Bluebird said it would be applied to my account.

Payment Posted in 1 Business Day

Some folks suggest that using the Bluebird Pay Bill to pay your credit card bill is a red flag which will get your Bluebird and credit card accounts shut down.

I don’t buy that.

Sure, funding Bluebird and then paying off your credit card bill mid-cycle, and then funding Bluebird again and paying off your credit card bill etc. in the hope of gaining lots of extra points WILL attract unwanted attention – and rightfully so.

But you should be fine if you use Bluebird like a regular person.  A regular person would fund Bluebird, use it for routine transactions, withdraw money from the ATM, and pay bills.  A regular person does NOT fund Bluebird, immediately withdraw all the money and pay bills, fund Bluebird again, and then immediately withdraw all the money again and again.

You can store up to $10,000 a month ($5,000 if you reload with Vanilla Reloads bought with a credit card or at Wal-Mart with debit cards) on your Bluebird and pay up to $10,000 in bills per month.  Almost all banks, credit card companies, and many credit unions are in the Pay Bill system.

I’m pretty sure the reason they are included in the Pay Bill system is because AMEX wants you to use Bluebird’s Pay Bill system.

My only caution is to make your payment at least 6 days (if not longer) in advance of the payment due date to ensure that you don’t pay interest or late fees.

2.   Sallie Mae Student Loan.  Similarly, I made a payment towards Emily’s Sallie Mae student loans for $500 during business hours on October 23, 2012.  Bluebird indicated that my payment would be applied to my account on October 24, 2012.

This means that it took 1 business day for the payment to post to my account.

I logged into Emily’s Sallie Mae account on October 24, 2012, but my payment didn’t appear in my account.  But the payment did show up when I logged into her account on October 25, 2012.

Bluebird Pay Bills

Payment Posted in 1 Business Day

The payment was posted on October 24, 2012, which was exactly when Bluebird said it would be applied to her account.

Bottom Line

The Bluebird Pay Bill feature is a great way to earn miles and points for bills which usually don’t earn miles and points!  But schedule your payment at least 6 days in advance of the due date. There is no option to schedule recurring or automatic payments which is very inconvenient.

But be sure to read my cautions at the end of this post before using Bluebird.

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38 responses to “How Long Does it Take For Bluebird “Pay Bills” to Post Your Payment?

  1. OMG Paying a credit card with BB card. That’s gonna trigger something for sure.

  2. I initiated a payment to a non-listed payee for property tax a few days ago. BB site says it will be delivered by Oct 30. I’m curious as to when, exactly it will arrive. Do you know where it is mailed from ?

  3. I’m going to buy my first vanilla card from OD when I get back from Cozumel next week. *bites fingernails*

    But I had a question about the Suntrust Delta Debit card. Do you know if Walmart is coding the transaction as a purchase….in other words, have you confirmed you are receiving points for transferring money from Suntrust to BB?

  4. I got the same question about the Delta debit card, since I don’t have the Ink card, I’m planning of using the Suntrust Delta Debit…..are we gonna be able to get the miles ?

  5. How did you load 3K onto the BB, D? Did you use the Ink Bold to purchase 6 VRs at once?

    • @Ernest Day – But why? They wouldn’t include those payees if they didn’t want you to use it. Remember, AMEX intends for this to be an alternative to a bank account, so of course you should be able to pay your credit card bill with it.

      @PatMike – I haven’t received a check, but will keep you updated. You can always do a test payment to your address.

      @Lively @Hugo – I’ll post an update when my statements close and the points post the 1st week of November. But I did earn points last month for purchases made at Wal-Mart, so I hope nothing has changed since then.

      @JettyBoy – I bought Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot with the Ink Bold, Walgreens with an AMEX Starwood card as a test, and debit card reloads at Wal-Mart. I’ve got lots of bills to pay!

  6. Hey Daraius, your Sallie Mae screen shot shows Emily’s account #. You may want to block that out for security reasons.

  7. I went to my OD, and all the Vanilla Reload cards were out. No surprise. They did have the regular onevanilla visas which load from $25-500 and charge $4.95 (instead of the $3.95 for the reload cards).

    My question – would these onevanilla visas work the same as the regular reloads (for funding BB) if I’m willing to pay the extra dollar activation fee?

  8. Pay bills monthly limit is stated as “$5,000 per month in the case of non-registered payees”. My property tax needs to be a single transaction larger than this and county is not a listed payee. Is it possible to do an ACH withdrawal transaction (converse of Direct Deposit) using the county’s e-check payment option? Of course I will have lots of regular credit card purchase transactions as well that make Amex money in cc merchant processing fees.

  9. FWIW, I made a bill pay payment on Oct 24 to a payee listed in the BB system. It said the payment would be delivered on Oct 29. Today I see the payment was returned to my BB account. BB customer service could not find any explanation for the return. I’m retrying the same payment but adding the payee myself and adding details in the memo line. Payment is not due for a couple weeks so I have time to kick the tires and get it right.

  10. Followup to comment above. I just got a call from Amex. They said a technical difficulty caused my first bill pay request to fail. They asked that I resubmit it and they credited my BB account $25 for my trouble. I can already see the “good faith credit” posted to my account. I like their customer service!

  11. For the 8000th time – no you can not load a Visa card onto the AMEX card

  12. I mostly agree that AMEX wants you to use this card for everything, and that using it for everything shouldn’t raise a red flag.

    But that doesn’t mean it won’t. AMEX is likely not targeting people who have credit cards to begin with. They are targeting Walmart customers who use cash and have bad credit.

    Still, time will tell. After all, they have TV advertisements showing people pay bills. So, you might be right. If AMEX isn’t loosing money on the deal, why should they care. They want to be like Chase and act like a bank. So let them start acting like a bank, and pay our cc bills.

    • @Aaron – Thanks I’ll do it later tonight.

      @MelStewy – You need the Vanilla Reload cards. Nothing else will work.

      @Kroozer – I don’t know. I know that you can withdraw to a bank account, but don’t know if it can be a different account from yours.

      @Jack L – I’d also ask for the $50 payment guarantee as well!

      @El Turk – You nailed the motivation behinds AMEX’s entry into this which is that this is a backdoor into banking – goals which BOTH Wal-Mart and AMEX share. I suspect that paying bills will be okay – as long as it is done just like an average person would do.

  13. Hi – if you could please verify my mode of thinking that would be great.

    My mom is my landlord. I pay her $1000 a month in rent to stay in one of her houses. So, each month I could purchase 2, $500 vanilla reload cards ($7.96 total), Load the $1000 onto my bluebird account and then select to have bluebird send a $1000 personal check to my mom as part of their pay bill function (with no fee). So, essentially, I would be paying $7.96 a month to pay my rent by credit card, but earning 1000 a month or 12,000 miles a year. Is this correct? Thanks.

    • @Ryan – I don’t see why not. You would earn more than 5,000 points if you bought $1,000 in Vanilla Reload packs from Office Depot because you get 5X points for purchases at office supply stores when using the Chase Ink cards. But you can also use any credit card to meet minimum spending requirements etc.

  14. I tried to send bill to provident funding , it was on the list but after submit it revert back to full balance from the beginning and no transaction was shown

  15. Anyone tested paying Citi credit card bill yet? I send a ~$12 payment to my Citi Hilton Reserved account on Oct 30th during business hour, it says it will arrive on Oct 31st but I still don’t see the credit showing up this morning. If anyone tested paying Citi CC bill please let me know how long it took for the credit to show up.

  16. Thanks ,
    I must have press the wrong button. I was able to pay in three or 4 days. Just awesome. Btw, I read only Amex website that I can use Moneypak to load Blue bird but when I try, it would not take it. greendot cost nothing to load. I guess I can load it onto greendot card. The current card show no bill pay. They told me I had to wait till I receive new card since old card was with other company. Are you familiar with bill pay on greendot? Can I pay prop tax and mortgage and credit card bill on that?

  17. Darius, can you add your bluebird account as a funding account for bill pay — rather than list the bill acct # through bluebird? My rental office accepts online payments through their web portal but I have to add my bank acct # and routing #. There is an acct # and routing # listed on my Bluebird page for direct deposit but I wanted to make sure this would serve as the same #s for adding accts. I’d rather not count on them sending a check directly.

  18. I know the Chase Ink family of credit cards is the rage right now, but those of us with Discover cards can earn a quick bonus by purchasing Vanilla Reload cards from Office Depot. Discover is offering 5% cash back on up to $1500 of purchases from department stores this quarter. That makes for a $75 bonus! That’s a nice rebate for simply paying the mortgage through Bluebird.

    • @Matt C – Unfortunately, you can’t use the account & routing number to send money out of your Bluebird account. You can only use it to receive direct deposits.

      @Diane – Thanks for the tip. Is Office Deport considered a department store by Chase? I ask because I don’t have much experience with Discover.

  19. I don’t know how Chase classifies a department store. Unfortunately, I was mistaken about Discover. After talking with customer service, I learned that department stores are defined as “retailers selling a wide variety of merchandise with separate checkout counters in each department.” so Office Depot is not considered a department store and the cashback is substantially less. Once again, Chase’s Ultimate Reward Points seem the way to go.

  20. I used Amex hilton to pay Vanila reload. Then, can I use “pay bill” to pay my Amex Hilton? will Amex close my account for this?

  21. Hi, I am pretty a newbie for using BB but thank you for your posts and I learned a lot from them.

    Here I have a questions, like you said, if I buy two 500$ vanilla cards by my chase sapphire card, and then use the BB to pay the bill of this credit card, will it seemed to be “sensitive alert” to AMEX?

    Thank you

  22. The American Express website says you can reload an American Express prepaid card with a greendot moneypak reload card… guess what…you can’t! You can reload an American Express prepaid card but not a “Bluebird” American Express card. Blue bird is NOT THE SAME as other American Express prepaid cards…they want you to think it is…but it isnt, and you don’t find out until you have wasted your time and money. It seems like more of a “walmart card” by American Express. Vanilla reload cards are almost impossible to find. Heres the link… http://search.americanexpress.com/app/answers/display/a_id/9057/kw/where%20is%20my%20green%20card
    Don’t buy a greendot moneypak card for Bluebird, you will just end up with money stuck on a moneypak and no way to use it. If you can’t go to a walmart to load the bluebird it’s almost useless!

  23. Hi D,

    I just received my bluebird card. Can it be loaded with any prepaid debit card or just Vanilla reload? I was at Krogers and they have a Krogers prepaid debit card. The good thing is if we buy gift card from Krogers you get 2X krogers point means more discount on fuel. So if I buy a gift card for $1000 that would give me $1 off per gallon on Krogers gas stations in addition to the miles I will earn buying the prepaid credit card using my point credit card.

    • @Amit – I don’t believe you can buy the Kroger prepaid debit card with a credit card, but it may be possible to load Bluebird with that (I haven’t tried). You can’t load Bluebird with a gift card, though.

  24. Hi D,

    Quick question on paying for Sallie Mae. Will blue bird show how much you owe/how much you should pay every period? Or do you just enter the amount you know you need to pay?

    Sorry for the odd question but I put in my account # and it doesn’t show my balance so I was wondering if I entered the info in correct.

    Thanks!

    Jess

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