Friday, April 25, 2014

How to Pay Rent with your Credit Card (and earn LOTS of points in doing so.)

(Note: these tactics can be applied to any major recurring payments in your life such as mortgages, insurance payments, car payments, child support, etc.)


In addition to the credit card you want to earn points on, you'll need a Bluebird Account.   This is basically a checking account that can be loaded using credit cards although the process has become more convoluted recently as Vanilla Reload cards can no longer be purchased using gift cards.  Then you can write a check from your Bluebird Account (make sure you follow their instructions for registering the check, writing the authorization code, etc!)

Note that when you open an account with Bluebird, you can order 100 free checks from them, at least until mid 2014.  If you run out or if the offer expires, you can buy 100 for something like $26.95 (can't remember the exact amount.)  Bluebird will also give you their Bluebird AMEX card which can be used to transfer funds to the Bluebird (as well as spend them.)

How to Earn Points by Loading your Bluebird Account

First, you'll need to locate a few stores in your area:

1) A drugstore (i.e. CVS, Riteaid, etc) or a grocery store that sells gift cards.
2) A Walmart with a Moneycenter (I think most do as of 2014.)

Go to the drugstore or grocery store and search for VISA or Mastercard gift cards, preferably ones that can be loaded with up to $500.  (According to Million Mile Secrets, you may want to avoid AMEX gift cards even if they can be purchased with credit.)  There's usually a $4 - $7 charge for buying the card regardless of how much you load so I'll usually go with the maximum amount.  Check the back and make sure there's a mention of a PIN or a process for setting up the pin.  If you're unsure, Google the card on your smartphone and see what the process for setting up the PIN is like.  Most of the time, the card will offer one of the 2 following options for the PIN:

1) You need to call them to manually set it up.
2) (Preferred) You set it to whatever you want upon your first purchase with the card.

Then go buy the card at the register.  If the cashier won't allow it to be loaded using your credit card, then try buying another gift card or go to a different store.

Here's an example of a card you can purchase:

Once you've purchased your gift card (and activated it if needed), head over to your local Walmart and hit up the Money Center!  Go to one of the kiosks and select the Bluebird option.  It'll ask you to swipe your Bluebird debit card.  After that, it'll ask you to input the amount you'd like to transfer to your Bluebird. Enter the amount loaded on your gift card.  After a few prompts, you'll be asked if you're loading with a Credit or Debit card.  Enter Debit, swipe the card, and enter your PIN (if you didn't need to set one up, just enter 1234 or any 4 digits.)

If everything goes right, you'll now have effectively loaded your Bluebird account with money from your credit card (which is earning rewards.)  Now you can pay your bills that don't take credit (like rent) and still earn points!

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