Paying My US Bank Mortgage by Credit Card (FAIL)
I consider being able to pay one's mortgage by credit card to be one of the holy grails for a credit card rewards maximizer like myself. It's also next to impossible to achieve, especially in today's economic environment where default is a massive concern among the banks. Thus, I was incredibly excited when I thought I was going to achieve this feat.
It started about 3 weeks ago when I was ruminating about ways to pay my mortgage through my credit card. I mean isn't this what you ruminate about? Yeah I thought so. Anyway, the first thing I thought of was using the US Mint $1 Coin Direct Ship program to order enough boxes of coins each month to pay my mortgage in person at the bank with $1 gold coins. Yes, you can probably expect some funny looks, but it could be quite profitable ($1,500 mortgage/mth * 12 mths * 2% cashback = $360/yr). In fact in just over 4 years of doing this, you would be able to make a full mortgage payment from the credit card rewards alone. SWEET! I was still patting myself on the back about this excellent plan when I went online to check where the nearest US Bank branch was. It was….in Georgia? Only about 6 hours away! It turns out the name "US" in the US Bank name is a bit of misnomer since they only have physical branches in 28 states, and mine is not on the list. So for me this was a FAIL. However, if you happen to live near your mortgage provider's branch, it could be a total win for you though.*
I had just gotten over the failure of this great idea when I was glancing at the US Bank website (after I discovered there was no local branch). On their site I saw they offer credit cards. Interesting, I thought, and I checked to see if they had a rewards card. They do. It's the FlexPerks Cash Reward VISA, and it pays a measly 1% back on purchases. Normally, I would sneer at this and move on, but I thought maybe, just maybe US Bank would let me pay my mortgage if I was using their credit card. I decided to call them and lo and behold they said I could. I was excited. Yes, it would take a little to set it up with autopay and get the account settlement dates for the credit card aligned with the mortgage payment dates to maximize the free loan deferment I was getting on top of the 1%, but in the end it would certainly be worth it. Approval was no problem, and a week later I had my card (with my name misspelled on it). I called US Bank and got them to authorize an updated card, and I got the settlement dates aligned, then I just had them transfer me to the mortgage dept. so I could set up the payments. Awesome I'm almost there I thought. The discussion with the mortgage person was quick and easy and so painful. It went something like this:
Me: I'd like to change my payment so it comes from my credit card.
Them: We don't take credit card payments.
Me: No, I know that I mean I have a US Bank credit card that I want to use.
Them: Yeah, we don't take credit card payments from anyone. We aren't even set up to accept debit card payments, let alone credit cards.
Me: But, the credit card folks said I could.
Them: Yeah, but you can't. I can transfer you back to them if you'd like to speak with them again?
Me: Yes, please do.
Needless to say I skewered the credit card folks, especially when they forwarded me to the retention dept. To that guy's credit, he says he gets these kind of requests from time to time, and they try to coach the credit card folks not to say you can do this. Yeah, sure, but they make their money through people like me acquiring and using their cards so they're incented to mislead me given they are unlikely to get caught. So, anyway, I cancelled the card immediately. Another FAIL. The takeaway here is that if you're trying to execute a similar hustle, be sure to check with both sides of the bank before you go too far down the path.
What about you? Have any of you achieved this holy grail of being able to pay your mortgage by credit card and reaping all the rewards? If so, how?
* Disclaimer: The US Mint doesn't like you directly depositing coins in the bank after you buy them. The reason the Direct Ship program absorbs the shipping costs is so you will circulate the coins. It is debatable whether using the coins to pay your mortgage is the equivalent of putting them into circulation.