Is Paying a Utility Bill With a Credit Card Considered a Cash Advance?


Using a credit card to pay your bills can be convenient. When you use your credit card to make your utility payments, you have a consolidated bill showing all of your charges, and that can make budgeting and money management easier. The payments you make to your utility company should be treated as normal charges, with no cash advance fees or interest charges incurred.

Automatic Payments

Many utility companies, including telephone providers, cell phone companies and electricity suppliers, allow their customers to set up automatic monthly payments using their credit cards. Once these automatic monthly payments are in place, any charges are automatically billed to the credit card, with those charges appearing as regular charges and not cash advances.

Website Payments

Depending on the utility company, you might be able to make payments by logging on to your account on the company's website. You typically need to have your account number and other identifying information available to create your account, but once the account is established you can use it to make a one-time payment or set up recurring payments month after month. These charges should go through just like any other charge, with no cash advance fees or immediate interest charges.

Contact Your Credit Card Company

While any payments you make to utility companies should go through as a regular charge and not a cash advance, you can get direct confirmation from your credit card company. Call the toll-free number on the back of your card and speak to a customer service representative. Tell the representative which utility bills you plan to pay with your card and verify that any payments you make will not count as a cash advance. Most credit card companies record their calls, so you should be able to request confirmation of what you were told if a dispute arises in the future.

Monitor Your Statements

Check your credit card statements carefully, especially the first one you receive after setting up an automatic payment for your utility bill or paying your bill online. Check your statement to make sure the charge goes through as a normal payment and not as a cash advance. If the payment was incorrectly put through as a cash advance, contact your credit card company right away to have the bill adjusted and any future payments corrected.

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