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One of the most lucrative credit card rewards strategies for many consumers is to purchase everyday items with a card that earns points or cash back in common purchase categories. And you don’t have to overspend on large purchases or wait to book a vacation in order to earn rewards, either. Instead, you can amass rewards at a slow pace on everything from groceries and utility bills to filling up the tank. Using your cards for these types of regular purchases each month can help steadily increase your rewards haul over time.
If you’re looking to save on your regular bills and utilities, it’s important to choose a credit card that will reward you for the types of purchases you make the most. However, there are some standout cards to consider based on their rewards rates and other benefits.
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card: Best for earning boosted rewards on utility payments
With the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, you can earn 5 percent cash back on purchases in two eligible categories of your choice (on up to $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1 percent). You can choose from 12 eligible categories, including home utilities; TV, internet and streaming services; and cellphone providers. While this 5 percent rate only applies to the first $2,000 you spend in your two selected categories each quarter, that limit is more than enough to cover many common utility bills.
Additionally, you’ll also earn 5 percent cash back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations through the U.S. Bank Rewards Center; 2 percent cash back on one eligible choice everyday category; and 1 percent back on all other purchases. Eligible choice everyday categories include gas and EV charging stations, restaurants and grocery stores.
Lastly, this card comes with no annual fee and a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles (after that, a variable APR of 19.49 percent to 29.49 percent). Additionally, balance transfers must be made in the first 60 days of account opening for the intro offer to apply.
Citi Double Cash Card: Best for earning flat rewards on utility payments
If your utility service providers or even your landlord allows you to pay your monthly bills with a credit card (especially if you’re not charged a fee), the Citi® Double Cash Card could be the card for you. It comes with no annual fee and it allows you to earn 2 percent cash back on each dollar you spend — 1 percent when you make purchases and another 1 percent as you pay off purchases.
This card is great for earning on regular expenses that don’t typically fall into common rewards categories. The 2 percent rate is higher than many other top cash back cards, which often offer 1 percent to 1.5 percent back for each dollar you spend. With this card, you also won’t have to keep track of bonus categories or spending limits, and you can cash in your rewards for statement credits, direct deposits, checks or basic Citi ThankYou points.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best for groceries and streaming services
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the best credit card for groceries, hands down. You’ll earn 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent back). If you can max this category out by spending $500 at supermarkets per month, you’ll earn $360 in rewards annually on your groceries alone.
To maximize more everyday spending, you’ll also get 6 percent cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3 percent cash back on transit and U.S. gas station purchases and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases. And that’s all on top of the card’s welcome offer for new cardholders, which allows you to earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 within the first six months of account opening.
As a final bonus, this card comes with a 0 percent intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (18.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable APR thereafter), which could lead to big savings if you need to pay off a large bill over time. Note that this card also comes with a $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year).
Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: Best for paying cellphone bills
The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is an excellent card to use for your cellphone bill since you’ll get cellphone protection when you pay your bill with your card. This protection will cover you against damage or theft for up to $600 per claim (maximum of two claims per year), but a $25 deductible does apply.
On top of that, you’ll also earn an unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases, including cellphone payments. This makes this card a straightforward and potentially high-yield flat-rate rewards card. Plus, the Wells Fargo Active Cash comes with no annual fee and a welcome offer of $200 in bonus cash rewards after you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best for business utilities
There are several reasons the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card from Chase is a good option for the bills your business may incur. For instance, it earns 3X points on travel and select business categories (on up to $150,000 per year, then 1X points), along with 1X points on all other purchases. Eligible business categories include shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media and search engines. If your business spends a lot in these typical business categories, you could rack up rewards rather fast on these types of payments.
This card also comes with a large welcome offer — 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months from account opening. That’s worth $1,250 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards thanks to this card’s 25 percent points boost on Chase travel purchases. However, note that a $95 annual fee applies for this card.
The Ink Business Preferred also offers consumer protections that can be useful, like trip cancellation/interruption insurance, roadside dispatch, an auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. And when you pay your cellphone bill with your credit card, you’ll also get cellphone protection against damage or theft that’s worth up to $1,000 per claim (with a maximum of three claims per year; a $100 deductible applies).
The bottom line
Paying your regular bills with a credit card is not only convenient, but also rewarding — as long as you’re utilizing the right credit card. Plus, features like autopay can help ensure that no recurring utility bills go unpaid.
However, if you don’t plan to pay your balance off in full each month, you shouldn’t pay your bills with a credit card. Credit cards charge high interest rates even to those with the best credit scores, so you should never charge bills that you can’t afford to pay off at the end of the month.