Use ChargeSmart to Meet Minimum Spending Only

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Million Mile Secrets reader Steve commented:

Do you still advocate the use of ChargeSmart to pay down loans using a credit card for those companies that don’t accept credit card payments?

About to close out a lease and buy the car, but want to meet minimum spend requirements and use the card to pay.

Use ChargeSmart To Meet Minimum Spending Only
Steve Should Only Use ChargeSmart to Meet Minimum Spending
Steve plans to buy a new car and wants to know if he should use ChargeSmart to meet minimum spending requirements.  He should only use ChargeSmart to meet minimum spending requirements on big sign-up bonuses like the 50,000 United Airlines miles offer on the Chase United Explorer card.

I’ll explain why!

ChargeSmart

Link:   ChargeSmart

Similar to Evolve Money, Steve can use a credit or debit card on ChargeSmart, an online bill payment service.

But there is a BIG difference with Evolve Money vs. Chargesmart.  Steve can’t use a credit card directly with Evolve Money, he has to buy gift cards which is a hassle for some folks.  Chargesmart is MUCH easier to use!

Steve can use ChargeSmart to pay his:

  • Mortgage
  • Auto loan
  • Utility bill
  • Cable bill
  • Student loan
  • Department store credit card
  • Credit card payment

Why Steve Should Use ChargeSmart to Meet Minimum Spending Only

ChargeSmart is easier and faster than Evolve Money or Bluebird to meet minimum spending.  It’s well worth the ~2.5% to 3% fee just to meet the minimum spending quickly.

But I wouldn’t use it regularly (outside of the sign-up bonuses) to earn miles and points outside of the minimum spending.

However, unlike Evolve Money, Steve would pay a fee to use ChargeSmart.

So Steve will pay either a flat rate fee or a “blended” fee which includes a percentage charged by the biller.  Steve won’t know the exact amount of the fee until he Clicks on “Make a Payment.”

Use ChargeSmart To Meet Minimum Spending Only
Steve Will Pay a Fee to Use ChargeSmart to Pay His Bills Online

Steve pays the fee each time he uses ChargeSmart.  Because the fees add up, Steve should only use ChargeSmart to meet minimum spending requirements and not on a regular basis.

And Steve pays a higher fee when he uses a credit card vs. his debit card.

A.   Car Loan paid with credit card

If Steve financed his new car through American Honda Finance Corporation and uses his credit card to pay his $356 monthly payment, he would pay a fee of ~$11 each time he uses ChargeSmart.

Use ChargeSmart To Meet Minimum Spending Only
Steve Would Pay ~$11 When He Uses His Credit Card on ChargeSmart to Pay His Car Loan
B.   Car loan paid with debit card

If Steve pays with his debit card, he would pay a fee of ~$9 each time he uses ChargeSmart to pay his car loan.

Use ChargeSmart To Meet Minimum Spending Only
Steve Pays a ~$9 Fee to Use His Debit Card With ChargeSmart

Although Steve has to pay a fee to use ChargeSmart, it makes sense if he has a lot of minimum spending to meet.

Steve could buy a Simon Mall gift card for ~$3 and load it to his Bluebird card at Walmart, and then pay his car loan.  But Steve might not have a Simon Mall or Walmart nearby.

It takes time to drive to buy PIN-enable gift cards and load them to Bluebird.  And Steve can only load $5,000 a month on Bluebird.

Although Steve pays ~$8 more (~$11 fee to use a credit card on ChargeSmart – ~$3 fee for gift card) to use ChargeSmart, Steve saves time and gas.

Bottom Line

Steve can use his credit card or debit card on ChargeSmart to pay his auto loan.  But Steve should only use ChargeSmart to help meet minimum spending requirements to get large sign-up bonuses.

But unlike Evolve Money, Steve pays a flat rate or blended percentage fee to use ChargeSmart.  And Steve pays a higher fee if he uses a credit card instead of a debit card.

ChargeSmart is MUCH easier to use than Evolve money and some folks could prefer paying the fee for the sign-up bonus.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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