Most people have bills and utilities to pay every month. While many people pay these bills directly from their checking accounts or with a debit card, you can also use credit cards.

One of the easiest ways to maximize your credit card rewards is to use cards for everyday spending to earn the most points or cash back in your most common categories. This includes your regular bills and utilities. Identifying where you’ll get the most rewards when you pay your monthly bills with a credit card is a great way to boost your earnings on the money you’re already spending.

Comparing the best cards for bills and utility payments

Card Name Best for Highlights Annual fee Bankrate review score
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card Bonus cash back
  • 5% cash back in two chosen categories (up to $2,000 per quarter, then 1%) and travel booked through Rewards Center
  •  2% cash back on choice of gas stations, restaurants or grocery stores
$0 3.2
Citi Double Cash® Card Flat-rate cash back
  • 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay)
$0 4.2
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Groceries and streaming services
  • 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket and select U.S. streaming purchases (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%)
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit services
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. 4.4
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card Cellphone bills
  • 2% cash back on all purchases
$0 4.3
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card Business utilities
  • 3X points on travel, shipping purchases, telecommunication services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines (up to $150,000 a year in combined purchases)
$95 4.4
Bilt Mastercard® Rent
  • 1X points for rent payments (up to 100,000 points per year)
  • 3X points on dining purchases
  • 2X points on travel purchases
  • Double points on purchases on the 1st of the month (up to 10,000 points).
None 4.0

Top cards for bills and utility payments

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card image
Best for bonus cash back

U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Rating: 3.2 stars out of 5
Citi Double Cash® Card image
Best for flat-rate cash back on bills

Citi Double Cash® Card

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express image
Best for Groceries and streaming services

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card image
Best for paying cellphone bills

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Rating: 4.3 stars out of 5
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card image
Best for business utilities

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
Bilt Mastercard® image
Best for paying rent

Bilt Mastercard®

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

How to choose the best cards for bills and utility payments

While you don’t have much control over your recurring bills and utilities, what you can control is how you choose to pay them. Some utility companies may charge convenience fees for paying with a credit card, but you may be able to offset it with credit card rewards. No one card will be the correct answer for all of your bills and utilities since they all offer different bonuses and incentives. Here are some things to consider when deciding which cards work best for you.

Choose cash back, points or miles

Points and miles can fluctuate in value

When choosing a rewards card, decide if you want points, miles or cash back. For points and miles, calculate their worth using our points and miles valuation guide as they can vary among cards and issuers. While points and miles offer the potential for booking trips and vacations, they may lose value if you try to redeem them for cash back.

Cash back is more straightforward. You’ll earn a percentage of your spending back, usually between 1 percent and 5 percent, and can watch that cash back accumulate in your account, knowing it won’t change in value. You can usually redeem those cash back earnings as a statement credit or direct deposit, but you usually need a more complicated plan to redeem points and miles. If you’re just starting out with credit cards, cash back cards are likely your best option.

Run the numbers: fees vs. rewards

Get more in return than you pay in fees

You’ll want to calculate the value of points or cash back earned, then subtract any convenience or processing fees. It’s worth it to pay bills and utilities with a credit card if it earns at least 3 percent cash back for that spending. For example, if your gas bill company applies a 2 percent processing fee for credit card charges and your card earns 5 percent back on utilities, you’ll earn a net 3 percent cash back.

Other fees and charges can quickly erase the value of your rewards, so consider annual fees, ongoing APRs and intro offers when making your decision.

Other benefits

The more your card offers that you value, the better

Consider extra benefits and protections a card gives you when paying your bills and utilities, like cell phone protection and streaming credits. Paying these everyday expenses with a card with elevated rewards and extra benefits is ideal.

A card offering a unique benefit is a great selling point. For instance, the Bilt Mastercard lets you earn 1X points when paying rent without additional fees. While that might not seem like a lot, most people can’t pay rent using credit cards, and those who can often pay processing fees.

Maximizing your cards for bills and utility payments

Getting the maximum return on your bills and utilities can feel like a puzzle. While you can choose a flat-rate card to keep everything simple, the potential for better value is finding the best return in each category. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make your payments: Pay your credit card bill in full each month to avoid interest charges and penalty fees. These add up quickly and will easily wipe out the value of any rewards you earn.
  • Do the math: Calculate whether the rewards earned outweigh any fees. For example, you don’t want to earn only 1 percent on a transaction that charges a 3 percent fee. Make sure the math is in your favor before using a card to pay your bills and utilities.
  • Autopay: Set up features like autopay to ensure you don’t miss payments on your recurring bills so you can earn consistent rewards on your bills and utilities.

What’s next?

To understand what cards you qualify for, enter some basic information into CardMatch™, Bankrate’s prequalification tool. For more insight into what best fits your rewards needs, our Spender Type Tool can point you in the right direction.

The bottom line

Paying your regular bills and utilities can earn plenty of rewards if you’re using the right credit card. Finding the right combination for you can put significant rewards and savings back in your pocket. Just be sure to pay your balance off in full each month, because credit cards charge high interest rates, even to those with the best credit scores. If you can make your payments and the rewards outweigh the fees, you’ll surely come out ahead when paying your everyday recurring expenses.