Can you pay your student loans with a credit card? Well, the answer is no, not directly. Yes, you heard it right. Actually, student loan servicers do not accept credit cards.
Today nearly around 43 million Americans are burdened with student loan debt. According to Federal Reserve reports nearly $1.5 trillion student loan debt is owed by students. That means $35,000 is owed by the average student loan borrower.
Millions of students are paying off these loans today but even the most responsible borrowers can find themselves in trouble. There is always the risk of job loss, bad health condition, or any other emergency can make it tough for them to make their monthly payments on time.
In such tough situations, many people think about paying off their loan payments using their credit card.
They do not accept it because federal regulations generally prohibit it. Also, whenever you do any transaction using your credit card then it involves processing fees that are paid by the party that accepts the card as payment.
But if your financial condition is not good and you desperately want to use your credit card to pay your student loan payment then there are still few ways you can pay for student loans with a credit card:
The easiest way to use your credit card to collect funds from it is by transferring your credit card balance into your bank account.
This option is best if you have a balance transfer credit card with a 0% introductory interest rate. Usually, you have to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% to 5% when you transfer the balance from your credit card. “That’s a fee you’re paying on top.
Although you can pay your payments using this method with your credit card it is not the best way to pay off your debt. The reason is that if you pay your $600 loan payment using a credit card then your credit card company will charge your $618 as it will add a 3% fee to it. Now see your loan remains in good standing but now you are worse off than before:
You may have paid your student loan using your credit card but the loan is still pending as it is now moved to a different place.
Now you have to pay more than your actual loan payment as the 3% fee has added $18 to your total obligations.
Credit card interest rates are higher than your student loans. So that $600 worth of debt will cost you more to carry going forward.
If you are not interested in balance transfer then you can use a Convenience check as an alternative. They are checks drawn against your credit limit, instead of against your bank account. So now your loan servicer will accept the check just like any other form of payment. You may like this method but you still have to pay around 3% to 4% fee on it.
The other option is using third party services such as Plastiq. These companies allow you to pay to them and later they pay it to your student loan company. But here also you have to pay the transaction fee. Plastiq says it charges a fee of 2.85% for credit card transactions.
Note: – We recommend you never use your credit card to pay your student loans until or unless there is a huge financial crisis. It will reduce your burden for short time but in the end, you will be at a loss.
You may be wondering that you may earn few reward points by paying student loan payments on a credit card to reap rewards. But do not even think about it. The reason is that you have to pay more in processing fee than the rewards that you will get.
Below we have discussed few major risks of paying student loans with a credit card.
Many credit card companies won’t allow you to pay your student loans directly with a credit card. They will charge a processing fee which further adds up to your loan amount.
Do you know your credit utilization rate makes up 30 percent of your FICO score? And when you can’t pay the debt on time then it can severely hit your credit score.
When you depend too much on your credit card, you could wind up racking up credit card debt that won’t go away. Once you start using a credit card too much then you are always at risk of getting a debt spiral that could be difficult to stop.
There are many benefits that you get when you pay your student loan directly. Once you start paying with your credit card then you won’t get these benefits. When you pay directly you get a deduction of student loan interest up to $2,500 on your federal income tax returns and this will reduce your overall tax burden.
Although there are no certain benefits of paying your student loans with credit card but still there are few.
You can earn few reward points when you do transactions with your credit card or pay student loans with it. But the thing to remember is that the benefits you receive will be eaten away by any fees you pay.
The only major benefit that you can get by paying your student loan with a credit card is that you buy time before your payment is due. This works best when you are in a financial crisis.
Technically you can pay your student loans using your credit card but we recommend not to. When you have the cash to pay then you should pay directly and skip credit card.