Can You Make Mortgage Payments With a Credit Card?

By Sarah Li Cain · March 13, 2024 · 8 minute read

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Can You Make Mortgage Payments With a Credit Card?

It is very unlikely that you can directly pay your mortgage lender with a credit card. However, there are a few workarounds that can help you pay your home loan with plastic. But it’s important to understand other factors involved when paying your mortgage with this kind of card, such as possible fees and other financial consequences.

Read on to learn how to pay your mortgage with a credit card and what to consider before you do so.

How to Pay Your Mortgage With a Credit Card

It’s highly unlikely that you can pay your mortgage directly with a credit card. That said, there are several ways you can use workarounds to pay your mortgage with a credit card, including using a money order, utilizing third-party services, and getting a cash advance.

Use a Third-Party Service

Some third-party services facilitate mortgage payments using your credit card and send a payment to your lender on your behalf. Companies like Plastiq allow you to use select credit cards (including American Express) to make mortgage payments through their platform.

For the privilege, you’ll most likely need to pay a convenience fee — Plastiq charges a processing fee of 2.9% — each time you make a mortgage payment using your credit card. And, depending on how that payment is delivered (say, check or bank transfer), you may also be charged an additional fixed fee that can range from 99 cents to $39. You may also have the option to make recurring payments or to make your payments manually.

Buy a Money Order

Depending on your location and the retailer, you may be able to purchase a money order with your credit card. Then, you’ll simply take the money order and deposit it at your bank and transfer the amount to your mortgage lender.

Keep in mind that many retailers may not accept credit cards as a form of payment for money orders — it’s best to check ahead of time if you plan to do so. Even if you can, money orders tend to have a limit of $1,000. That means if you want to go this route, it may take you a few transactions before your money orders total enough for your mortgage payment.

Additionally, you may incur a fee for each money order you buy. Also keep in mind that some credit card issuers treat money order purchases as cash advances, which can result in a fee and interest charges at a rate that’s usually higher than the standard purchase APR on a credit card.

Transfer a Balance to Your Bank Account

You could attempt to conduct a balance transfer, with the funds going into your bank account — some credit card issuers may allow this type of transaction. Most commonly, credit card issuers provide cardholders with balance transfer checks to facilitate these types of transactions. There may be balance transfer fees involved, and interest may accrue depending on your credit card terms.

Get a Cash Advance

As another method to pay your mortgage with a credit card, you can get a cash advance at the ATM with your credit card. You’d then deposit the cash into your bank account and use the funds to make your mortgage payments. You could also consider using the funds to purchase a cashier’s check and mail it to your lender.

Going this route most likely means you’ll have to pay a cash advance fee, and interest on cash advances will accrue on your credit card with no grace period and often at a significantly higher rate than on your everyday purchases. Credit limits may be lower for cash advances as well.

Recommended: Charge Card Advantages and Disadvantages

Do All Mortgage Lenders Accept Credit Card Payments?

No, most mortgage lenders do not accept credit card payments directly from the borrower.

If you’re curious about why this is, know that paying debt with a credit card isn’t usually a financially responsible move. Mortgage companies likely don’t want the added risk that someone is paying for their home loan with credit vs. cash. Also, it can be expensive for lenders to accept credit cards, given that processing and other fees can take a bite out of every incoming amount of money.

Factors to Consider When Paying a Mortgage With a Credit Card

Before paying your mortgage with a credit card, consider the following.

Fees vs Rewards

Similar to those considering paying taxes with a credit card, many people tend to pay their mortgage with a credit card because they want to earn rewards. Since third-party services will charge you fees — or you’ll pay the fees charged directly by your credit card issuer for balance transfers — you’ll want to make sure the value of the rewards outweighs what you’re paying in fees.

Sure, the fees may seem small, but they can quickly add up over time. Also, in many cases, rewards cards may only count certain transactions as eligible for rewards. Many issuers don’t consider balance transfers as qualifying transactions, for example.

The Cost of Interest

If you don’t pay off your balance each month, interest will start to accrue on your credit card — and credit card interest rates are typically much higher than your mortgage interest rate, even if you have a good APR for a credit card.

Additionally, if you go the cash advance route, these transactions may have higher credit card interest rates, and there’s no interest-free grace period.

Effect on Your Credit Score

If your credit card balance starts to get too overwhelming and you miss making the credit card minimum payment, it could negatively impact your score.

Even if you make on-time payments, having a high balance could affect your credit utilization, which is the ratio between your balance and your available credit. The higher your credit utilization, the more it could negatively impact your score.

Challenges You May Face When Paying a Mortgage With a Credit Card

One challenge with using a credit card for mortgage payments is the time it takes to do so. Any of the above mentioned methods will take you some time and effort to complete successfully. That’s because it’s unlikely your lender will accept a direct credit card payment and you will instead have to use a workaround.

There are also the fees to consider — determining whether paying the extra charges and potentially a higher interest rate is worth it takes some careful calculations.

Should You Pay Your Mortgage With a Credit Card?

Making mortgage payments with a credit card may be a good idea if you’re looking for a way to earn more rewards or get some financial breathing room. However, given the downsides, such as high fees and the impact it may have on your credit, you may be better off pursuing other options first. Also keep in mind that using a credit card to pay your mortgage may trigger a higher cash-advance interest rate than your typical interest rate since you can’t pay directly.

Alternatives to Using a Credit Card for Your Mortgage

Here are several options you can choose from instead of paying your mortgage with a credit card:

•   Consider mortgage forbearance: If you’re struggling with your payments and experiencing a significant hardship, you can contact your lender to see if mortgage forbearance is possible. This could allow you to temporarily stop paying or have your monthly payments reduced until you can get back on your feet.

•   Seek help with a housing counselor: You can find a reputable housing counselor that’s approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by contacting the Homeowners HOPE Hotline or using the housing counselor tool on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website. They could suggest options to help you manage your mortgage payments. You may have to pay a small fee for the service, but it could be more affordable than using a credit card to pay your mortgage.

The Takeaway

While you probably can’t pay your mortgage directly with a credit card, there are workarounds that are possible, as long as you understand what you’re getting into and are strategic about how to do so. Before you move forward with paying your mortgage with your credit card, make sure you weigh the fees involved vs. the rewards you could earn as well as any interest you could accrue and potential impacts to your credit. Understanding the pros and cons of this scenario is an important step in using your credit card responsibly.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

Can you use a credit card to pay a mortgage?

You probably can’t pay your mortgage directly using a credit card, but you can do so through indirect methods. Some of these include going through a third-party service, making a balance transfer, purchasing a money order using your credit card, or getting a cash advance. Each of these methods will come with its own set of fees and/or higher interest rates.

Can paying a mortgage with a credit card impact credit score?

If you end up with a high balance on your credit card as a result of your mortgage payment, it could negatively impact your score if you have a high credit utilization. Or, if you end up missing or being late on a payment (perhaps you’re struggling to make the monthly payments), then your score could also be impacted.

Are there fees for paying a mortgage with a credit card?

There are fees depending on how you use your credit card to pay for your mortgage. For instance, you may incur balance transfer, cash advance, or third-party fees.


Photo credit: iStock/vgajic

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