Utilities typically include electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, and garbage, which are necessary expenses you likely pay on a monthly basis. Other utility-like expenses, often seen as necessities in today’s world, include your phone, internet, and cable TV or streaming services.
This guide on the best credit cards for utilities will help you understand how using credit cards to make your monthly bill payments can provide you with valuable benefits and rewards. To find the best credit card option for you, consider each card and how its features align with your personal finances.
The best credit cards for utility bills
- Best for cell phone protection: Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Best for streaming services: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Best for overall spending on utilities: Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
- Best for home utilities as a rotating category: U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card
- Best for earning Ultimate Rewards: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Best for business utility expenses: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
How credit cards can save you money on utilities
Paying for just about any utility typically works the same way. You pay the utility companies each month and in return receive the helpful services they provide. But if you pay utility bills with a credit card, it could make the whole experience more rewarding, especially if you select cards based on your specific utility expenses and financial goals.
When you compare credit cards, you have plenty of options to choose from. If you want to offset the cost of your bills, consider a cash rewards credit card to earn cash back on every purchase. Or if you want to earn travel rewards, a travel credit card could help you get the points or miles you need for your upcoming trip.
But not every card offers the same level of rewards and benefits. Using one of the best rewards credit cards helps to make sure you get higher earning potential and useful card perks compared to the other available card options. In addition, picking a card that has spending categories that pair well with your specific utility expenses can make a lot of sense.
For example, if you subscribe to multiple streaming services, a credit card that earns bonus rewards for streaming subscriptions could be a good fit. Or if your biggest expense outside of utilities is shopping at the grocery store, then a card that also rewards you for that might be useful. Here are our suggestions for the best credit cards for utilities in different situations.
The best credit cards for utilities [September 2022]
|Card name||Best for||Why it’s special|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||Cell phone protection||High earning potential on rotating categories plus included protections on purchases, cell phones, and travel|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||Streaming services||Excellent earning potential for groceries and streaming services plus other common categories|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Overall spending on utilities||Straightforward and unlimited earning on every purchase|
|U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card||Rotating category for home utilities||Unique option to earn bonus rewards on categories you choose plus increased earning potential on everyday categories|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Earning Ultimate Rewards||High earning potential on everyday categories plus excellent redemption options when paired with Chase Sapphire cards|
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card||Business utility expenses||Excellent earning potential for common business expenses and 25% increased travel redemption rate|
Chase Freedom Flex℠: Best for cell phone protection
- Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
- Earning rate: 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases
- Annual fee: $0
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable))
The Chase Freedom Flex is a top choice if you pay a monthly cell phone bill because it offers cell phone protection. Considering how expensive it can be to fix or replace a cell phone, getting up to $800 in protection for each eligible claim and $1000 per year (maximum of two claims per 12-month period) is a helpful benefit. This coverage is notable as you don’t have many options for credit cards with cell phone protection.
In addition, the best way to earn is to take advantage of the rotating bonus categories. Each quarter Chase updates the bonus categories so you will want to monitor the Chase Freedom bonus category calendar and activate them as needed. You can redeem your built-up rewards for travel, a cash deposit, a statement credit, gift cards, and purchases with shopping partners. You can also pay for certain purchases with the Pay with Points feature.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for streaming services
- Welcome bonus: Earn a $350 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months
- Earning rate: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases
- Annual fee: $95 (See rates and fees)
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then 16.99% to 27.99% (variable) (See rates and fees))
If you spend a lot on streaming your favorite shows and movies, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express would likely make sense for you. It’s one of the best credit cards for streaming services because of how much cash back you can earn when paying for streaming subscriptions.
For example, if you pay $75 per month on streaming services, you could get 6% back, which would be $4.50. It might not seem like much, but over the course of a year that’s $54 in cashback savings (in the form of statement credits) on your streaming services alone.
Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for overall spending on utilities
- Earning rate: Up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases
- Annual fee: $0
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then 16.24% to 26.24% (variable))
The Citi Double Cash Card is one of the best cash back credit cards available because of its high earning potential. Many cards offer a 1.5% cashback rate, yet the Citi Double Cash provides up to 2%, regardless of the expense category. Cardholders get the same rewards rate on all purchases.
This makes it an ideal choice for earning unlimited cash back when paying for all your monthly utility bills. Depending on where you live in the U.S., you could be paying over $300 each month on utilities, not including cell phone bills or streaming subscriptions. Over the course of a year at $300 per month, you would pay $3,600. Getting 2% cash back on this would be $72 back into your pocket.
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card: Best for home utilities as a rotating category
- Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first 120 days
- Earning rate: 5% cash back on two chosen categories (up to $2,000 quarterly) and prepaid air, hotel, and car reservations booked in the Rewards Travel Center; 2% cash back on one chosen everyday category; and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
- Annual fee: $0
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles on balances transferred in the first 60 days (then 16.74% to 26.74% (variable))
The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card takes a unique approach to its top-earning categories. You can earn 5% cash back on two categories, up to $2,000 quarterly; and prepaid air, hotel, and car reservations booked in the Rewards Travel Center. Available categories include cell phone providers and home utilities, as well as TV, internet, and streaming services.
You get to choose two of these categories each quarter, though you only get the 5% cashback bonus on the first $2,000 that you spend across the categories combined. Yet if you spend $2,000 each quarter on these utility categories, that’s $100 you get back every few months and $400 on the year. Not a bad return for simply paying your bills each month.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for earning Ultimate Rewards
- Sign-up bonus: Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year
- Earning rate: 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases
- Annual fee: $0
- Intro APR: 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable))
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great overall cashback card, but its general cashback rate of 1.5% is not as lucrative as the up to 2% found on the Citi Double Cash. However, if you want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the purpose of travel redemptions, the Chase Freedom Unlimited could make a lot of sense.
This is especially true when you pair Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire cards. If you earn 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points from paying your utility bills with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, they would be worth $100 in travel redemptions. But you can transfer your points to a Chase Sapphire card and get more bang for your buck. Ten thousand points on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card would be worth $125 in travel redemptions, and the same 10,000 points would be worth $150 toward travel on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: Best for business utility expenses
- Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months
- Earning rate: 3X points on the first $150,000 spent each year on travel, shipping, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; and 1X points per $1 on everything else
- Annual fee: $95
The Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is one of the best business credit cards available. The high 3X earning rate on internet, cable, or phone services means you can rack up the rewards on these common business expenses. Many businesses require these utilities to stay running, so it makes sense to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points on expenses you have to pay for anyway.
In addition, the Chase Ink Business Preferred provides a 25% bonus on travel redemptions made with the card. So if you want to earn rewards to help offset your business travel costs, this card could be the right fit for you.
Methodology: How we chose these cards
We looked at a variety of credit card issuers and chose these cards based on their overall earning potential, rewards value, and benefits, as well as how these three criteria aligned with paying for monthly utilities. Then specific credit card offers were selected that could fit any number of potential situations.
For example, if you want to earn bonus rewards for rotating categories and get cell phone protection at the same time, the Chase Freedom Flex is likely your best option. But if you want to use utility bills to earn rewards and fuel your travels, cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Ink Business Preferred, are excellent choices.
Additional tips for saving money on your utility bills
If you want to continue offsetting the cost of your utility bills, consider these tips:
- Beware of fees: Some utility bills could charge a transaction fee if you want to pay with a credit card. If the rewards you earn on the card aren’t enough to make up for the fee and then some, it’s likely not worth using a credit card to pay for the bill.
- Pay off your card balance: Credit cards can help you earn rewards from paying your utility bills, but it’s not worth it if you don’t make your card payments or pay off your card balance in full each month. Paying credit card interest negates the rewards you earn and missing payments can negatively impact your credit. The exception to this would be if you have a card with a 0% interest rate, but even then you’ll need to have a plan for paying your balance before your promotional period ends.
- Use apps: Apps like Rocket Money and Trim can help you save money on utilities by helping you negotiate or cancel utility bills.
Should I put my utilities on a credit card?
Using a credit card to pay for your utilities is typically only worth it in certain situations. If you have to pay fees to use a credit card to pay for a bill, make sure the value of the credit card rewards you’re earning is higher than the fee. Otherwise, it’s likely not worth it to use a credit card.
In addition, remember that you need to pay your credit card balance off in full each month to make paying for your utilities with a card worthwhile. Taking a hit on your credit score because of late payments or accruing interest charges on your balance means that paying your bills with a credit card likely won’t be worth it.
Which credit card is best for utility bills?
The best credit card for utility bills is the one that aligns with your spending habits and lifestyle. If you pay for lots of streaming subscriptions, it could make sense to use one of the best credit cards for streaming services. But if you want to earn cashback rewards on a wide range of utility bills, cards like the Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited might be a better fit.
Do you get points for paying bills with a credit card?
You should earn points, miles, or cash back when you pay your bills with a rewards credit card. Though, the rewards you receive depend on the card you use to make your bill payments.
For example, using the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express to pay for streaming subscriptions would earn cash back (in the form of statement credits). Paying for your business phone, internet, and cable services with the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card would earn Ultimate Rewards points.
Utility payments can make up a large portion of your monthly expenses, especially when you include cell phone plans, streaming services, and cable TV in your overall cost. Using the right credit card for your situation can help offset these costs through earning rewards, taking advantage of card benefits, or both. Using a credit card can also help your cash flow since you can plan better for when the card payment will come out of your bank account.
If you use a credit card to pay for utilities, remember to practice good habits, as you would with any financial product. In this case that includes paying your balance off in full each month and not missing any payments. This will help you earn rewards for your necessary expenses while not racking up interest or negatively affecting your credit score.