AC unitThe downside to blasting the air conditioner all summer is a monster utility bill at the end of the month. During the hottest times, a medium-sized home with central air conditioning in Phoenix, Ariz., can generate a monthly electric bill of between $250 and $300. (Check out this free tool to compare your own utility bill with your neighbors'.) Nationwide, the average monthly electric bill is $116, according to utility analysts Chartwell.

So why not make that big electric bill work for you? Devotees of credit-card rewards programs use bill paying to their advantage, earning points for every dollar they spend.

No-Fee Payments with Discover

More than 90% of utility companies offering credit-card payment options, according to Chartwell, but most are done through a third-party vendor that charges a convenience fee, which can range from $1.50 to $6.95. Less than half of the utility companies surveyed by Chartwell offered a fee-free card acceptance program and of those, only three were large investor-owned utilities. Most were small, rural electric cooperatives or municipalities.

How do you cool your house?
Use central air conditioner696 (69.5%)
Have a window AC unit166 (16.6%)
Ceiling fan55 (5.5%)
Open the windows84 (8.4%)

Online bill-pay platform ChargeSmart, which processes payments to more than 500 utilities, is now offering no-fee payments for customers using Discover Card to pay their energy and water bills. The card's consumer-reward program is one of the top ranking for credit cards.

But if you pay with plastic, there is one catch: Consumers who don't pay their credit-card bill in full each month end up paying interest on the bill. Not a good thing.

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Sam C.

Is there a fee to use this service?

Depending on the biller, there is either a blended fee (including a percentage of the transaction cost) or a flat fee associated with your transaction. The fee will be displayed prominently throughout the customer payment process before clicking "Pay This Bill" to submit a payment.


https://www.chargesmart.com/faq#faq-4

July 12 2014 at 4:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Charles D

I actually stumbled across http://www.energygridiq.com and found that you could use a couple of different programs. It seems like some states have feed back tariffs as well as energy benefit programs during peak consumption. A lot of the projects depend region to region, but there is undeniably a lot of different ways one can save cash from cutting back on energy use (beyond just not spending)

February 29 2012 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Charles D

I actually stumbled across http://www.energygridiq.com and found that you could use a couple of different programs. It seems like some states have feed back tariffs as well as energy benefit programs during peak consumption. A lot of the projects depend region to region, but there is undeniably a lot of different ways one can save cash from cutting back on energy use (beyond just not spending)

February 29 2012 at 2:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorina

Get a credit card that has reasonable rates/limits is now the only challenge.

August 05 2011 at 9:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply