Can You Pay Your Student Loans With A Credit Card?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated December 7, 2020

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May 3, 2019

Simple. Thrifty. Living.


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If you’re in the middle of making your student loan payments every month, using a credit card to make your student loan payments may seem ideal. But can you even use a credit card to pay your student loan? Read on to find out if it’s a possibility and the various factors to consider.

There are tons of reasons why people consider paying their student loans with a credit card, including paying your student bill on time while waiting for a check deposit. Also, some people use their credit cards to offset the cost of an unexpected expense that may require cash, such as paying for towing your car to get towed in the middle of the night. Moreover, some people enjoy building up credit card rewards points by using their credit card to pay for bills, including their student loans.

Paying your student loans with a credit card is a possibility but whether you can do it depends on several factors. First, the U.S. Department of Treasury doesn’t allow loan service providers like Nelnet or Navient to accept credit card payments directly. Instead, you have the option of making a credit card payment to a third-party provider. That third-party provider can send a check to your student loan service provider on your behalf. Other options for paying your student loan bill with a credit card include taking a cash advance or balance transfer.

Even if you use a credit card to pay your student loan bill, it’s important to determine whether you should. Some individuals enjoy taking advantage of special introductory offers for credit cards, such as bonus rewards points and an introductory zero-percent annual percentage rate (APR). You may also benefit from using a credit card to make payments to avoid potential late or insufficient funds fees if you’re short on cash. See our roundup of the best credit cards for your credit score to be sure you’re not missing out on perks you could be eligible for.

But you also run the risk of racking up even more debt at a higher interest rate if you make it a habit to pay your student loan bill with credit cards. If it’s costing you more to use the credit card than to pay with your checking account, then you can easily dig yourself into more debt. You may also lose other benefits your loan service provider may give you for paying with your bank account, should as a discount or loan forgiveness. Consider how using a credit card may impact your ability to refinance your student loans should you wish to do so.

While paying your student loan bill with a credit card may be an option, it’s important to determine if it’s worth the effort. By assessing the costs associated with using a credit card and your financial situation, you can better determine if using a credit card to pay your student loan bill is right for you.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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