While not as common as gas, groceries, drugstores, or airline spend, some credit cards consider “utilities” as a bonus category. Most famously, the Chase Ink business cards pay 5x or 3x on “utilities” cel phone, cable, and a few other related categories.
However, chase and others don’t pay a bonus on many utilities, due to the merchant coding not registering as “utilities.” For example, City of Spokane water / sewer garbage bills are coded not as “utilities” per se, but as “BUSINESS / PROFESSIONAL SERVICES - 5969”, with the numbers referring to the MCC, or “merchant classification code.” Therefore no bonus is triggered from Chase.
Barclays offers at least one Visa card that bonuses utilities 2x–their Wyndham Rewards card. I assumed that they would treat non- or mis-classified utilities charges the same way, and not bonus them. Happily, they interpret the category broadly. I am not sure how…perhaps by awarding he bonus if the MCC is correct or the term “utilities” is in the charge? Would be curious if anyone has more info on this.
Let’s share info on which cards bonus what “utilities” charges. Thanks in advance for your data points and sources!
(For reference, you can check the MCC at https://www.visa.com/supplierlocator/search/index.jsp )
Vantage Credit Union has a credit card that gives 5% back on one category for up to $1500 per quarter, you get to choose the category from a list. One is Utilities. Another is charities. I got it for the latter, but found that my favorite charity (Foundation for Metabolic Cancer Research) used the Paypal Giving Fund, and Paypal and chose not to classify their own charity (through which the money passes) as a charity.
For those whose utilities do not use the full $1500 each quarter, I can imagine prepaying some bills one quarter, and then picking another category for the next quarter.
They also have no interest for the first six months and no balance transfer fees. This permits you to easily transfer to and from their checking account. This means you can pay the minimum monthly and then transfer it back out during the first month.
I did not realize these features and casually requested a $25,000 limit which I got.
You can use a credit card for opening deposits up to I think $2,000 for the saving account (share account), and for the checking account. I took the checking account because it was the easiest way with their bill pay to use the loan and reborrow the $750 minimum payments. To keep it free you require a minimum average monthly balance of $1,000.
If not qualifying by where you live you can join a bicycle club, or donate to feed the elderly. I donate $25 since it would do some good, while for me the bicycle club would be useless.
ProfessorEd! I’m delighted to see you here! I learned from many of your thorough, thoughtful posts over the years at FWF.
Thanks for the tip on Vantage CU, and an interesting sounding CC product.
I have spent too much time writing posts, so nice to know someone appreciated them.
If you have large utility bills for rental properties the CC mentioned might be good, and could be a useful source of 0% money.
Chase ink cash for business was coding the Google voice purchases in the bonus 5% category for a while. I just noticed they stopped doing that