How are things going on that Plastiq/Masterpass promo?

Plastiq’s fee-free promotion when paying bills with Masterpass and an associated Mastercard continues, with a slight change.

There is now a $250 limit per-payment which is fee-free (until June 1st it was a $500 per-payment limit).

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I thought it would be good to check in on the deal to discuss what we’ve learned and whether this deal is still worth taking advantage of. I think it is.


Q: Didn’t the $250 limit kill this deal?
A: Not at all. It’s $250 per payment, not payee. And it’s not difficult to initiate a 2nd payment.

Q: Is there a limit to how many cards you can have associated with your Masterpass wallet?
A: Yes, 25 seems to be the limit. If you hit that limit, remove old card(s) you’ve already used and it should free up a slot.

Q: Some Plastiq payees deliver electronically. Anything I should know about that?
A: Electronic payments go from Card Processed to Complete, whereas paper checks go from Card Processed to Sent to Complete.
Also, Plastiq seems to mis-estimate the arrival time of electronic payments. They don’t seem to correctly account for the time of day the payment is initiated and weekends/bank holidays. I’d recommend allowing for some margin in all of your Plastiq payments.

Q: Masterpass won’t let me add a MCGC to my wallet. Any suggestions?
A: Some MCGCs need to be registered before making online purchases.

Q: Can eMCGCs be used with Masterpass?
A: Yes.

Q: Have you run into any issues using MCGCs?
A: I have. In fact, at one point I was sure it was being blocked.
If you get the message below, try removing then re-adding the MCGC to Masterpass then re-adding it to Plastiq.


Q: Any issues with multiple back to back payments to stay under the $500/$250 fee-free limit?
A: Not so far.

Q: If I break up my mortgage payment into $250 chunks, will my mortgage company know how to deal with it?
A: I’d put a note on the payment saying “Towards payment <date>” and initiate the payments the same day. With this approach my lender applied towards payment without intervention.

Q: Have you had any issues with payments showing up later than predicted by Plastiq?
A: I have. Ironically, on an electronic payment towards my mortgage.
I initiated the payment in the evening on a Tuesday, and it was supposed to arrive on Friday.
Plastiq’s system doesn’t seem smart enough to recognize that you’ve missed the cut-off for the day when estimating arrival dates.
Coupled with a Monday bank holiday my payment didn’t transmit until Tuesday, and arrived Wednesday.
Plastiq didn’t seem to care to notify me along the way what was going on, but I submitted a help desk ticket and they explained it to me.
Bottom line: Always build in time margin to your payments and have a back-up plan in case things go awry.

Q: Plastiq’s Payment Guarantee is pretty lousy, isn’t it?
A: It is. They only compensate you for a payment that arrives later than promise if you incur and document late fees.
I think they should compensate (say, in the form of fee-free dollars towards future payments) any payment that arrives later than promised, even if it doesn’t cause a late fee. I’d never put myself in a position to incur a late fee in the first place, but I do expect Plastiq to deliver on time.
Tip: Chat them up if you run into issues and ask for fee-free dollars as compensation. They may well oblige.

Q: How do you pay estimated federal taxes to the IRS with Plastiq? Seems complicated.
A: It is. I’ll follow-up with a separate post on that later.

Q: Sounds like you don’t much care for Plastiq. Do you recommend using them or not?
A: I don’t like the way they conduct business, but I do like this promo. They seem to make short-sighted decisions, take longer than most to deliver payments, and find ways to make bill pay harder than it needs to be. But I’m still up for using them when they run profitable promotions like this one.

Q: How much longer do you think this promo will run?
A: They say until September 30, 2018. I’m surprised it’s lasted this long.
Reducing the fee-free amount per payment from $500 to $250 is strange.
I expect they’ll make it $250 per payee as their next change, or kill it all together prematurely.
I’d advise against stockpiling too many MCGCs, and I’d get payments in for future months expecting this to die early.

Q: Is this all worth it? Seems like a huge waste of time with little scale.
A: It depends on whether you have real bills to pay and the credit cards you have.
Man has long sought to pay his mortgage with a credit card and earn rewards. This enables that, though you have to jump through some hoops.

See also: Our post from when this promotion was launched with some ideas on types of bills to pay and more.

Any things you’ve learning/bumped into during the course of this promotion?

About the author

– Written by Robert Dwyer, contributor at Milenomics. Connect with me on Twitter @RobertDwyer

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