Can I pay off my student loans with a credit card? The short answer is… no, you cannot directly pay your student loan bills with a credit card. However, you may be able to use a third-party payment service or a line of credit to pay student loans. You might be able to transfer them to a card with a 0% APR period or take out a cash advance. But these options are risky and expensive. In nearly all cases, you’ll pay extra fees and potentially more in interest.
Instead, if you’re struggling to afford your loans, look into options to reduce or pause payments. Or, if you have the means to pay off your loans in full and want to earn credit card rewards in return, first calculate how much you’ll pay in fees; it may not be worthwhile.
However, paying with a credit card might not be the best idea as companies that collect student loan payments generally require cash payments. In addition, they typically don’t allow you to use a credit card to pay your bills. The following options are available to you instead, but they all have trade-offs. Be careful and explore all your options before making any decision.
Alternative Options to Pay Off Student Loans
- Use a third-party provider to make monthly payments by credit card. Certain services pay bills with a credit card, but you’ll pay a transaction fee on each payment. This will inevitably add to the cost of your loan.
- A few private lenders allow student loans to be paid off with a credit card, which some borrowers do in order to get rewards. The lender usually charges a transaction fee which could be significant on a large student loan balance and outweigh any potential rewards.
- Some credit cards allow student loan balance transfers, which could be helpful if you qualify for a 0% APR balance transfer offer. The balance interest fee would have to be paid off under a certain time period. So, you should only consider it if you can get rid of the loans you transferred in that time. However, in most cases, you’ll pay a fee—often 3% of the transferred balance—which will add to your cumulative debt load.
- Your credit card issuer may allow you to get a cash advance on your credit line. While you can use this money to make a student loan payment in an emergency, cash advances come with extremely high fees and interest rates that can exceed 25%. Consider this option a last resort. You’re better off looking into other ways to get relief from student loans, which we’ll cover later on.
In general, interest fees charged by your student loan issuer might seem stressful, but it’s very likely your credit card interest charges will hurt even worse. Unless you’ve taken advantage of a 0% APR offer or immediately pay off your bill in full, you’ll likely be drowning in steep credit card interest fees. If you enjoyed this read, you’ll want to check out our other blog on student loans for more information! Good luck and get going!