Ask Finder: Can I earn points for paying my uni fees with a credit card?

Amy Bradney-George 20 February 2019 NEWS

Do university fees count as eligible transactions on your credit card?

Hi Finder,
I have an ANZ Rewards credit card and I’m about to start my second year at UNSW. I’m just wondering if there’s a way to earn points for paying my university fees?
Thanks,
Pointy Hat

Earning points for university fee payments is often tricky because it depends on your card and what payment options the university offers.

Based on the details you’ve shared, there are actually two ways you could earn points when you pay your fees. This is because UNSW accepts credit card payments through the ANZ eGate online portal and BPAY. The ANZ Rewards credit card is one of the few cards that allows you to earn points through BPAY when the biller accepts credit card payments (which it does, in this case).

So, you can choose either payment option and use your card to pay your fees and earn points in the process.

However, it’s worth noting that it isn’t always simple to pay uni fees from a credit card – or to earn points in the process.

For starters, BPAY – which is one of the most common payment options universities provide – is not always available from a credit card. And, even if your card does allow you to make BPAY payments, earning points on these transactions depends on your credit card and provider. For example, ANZ, NAB and Amex do earn points (when the payment is processed as a purchase), while CommBank, St.George and Westpac don’t.

Another common payment method universities offer is Australia Post’s bill-paying service. Similar to BPAY, credit card payments are available if the biller accepts them – and you may be able to earn points if your rewards program considers the payment an eligible transaction.

Generally, your best bet for earning points for uni fees is to pay by card on campus, or through an online payment system like ANZ eGate or CommBank BPOINT. It will still depend on how the payment is processed – because it could go through as a purchase or a bill payment. But if you’re lucky and it’s processed as a purchase, you’ll get points in the same way you would for your everyday shopping.

Given that university fees are often worth thousands of dollars, you might want to see if you can make a smaller, partial payment first. This will give you a chance to see exactly how it shows up on your credit card account. If it’s a purchase and you earn points, you could put the rest on your card, while if it’s not, you could look at other payment options.

If you do decide to pay your fees using a credit card, remember to factor in any interest charges that will apply if you don’t pay the balance off straight away. This cost could quickly cancel out any benefits you get from using your card – including any points you earn in the process.

Ask Finder is a regular column where Finder's expert writers answer your questions. All rates and fees are correct at time of publication and we only give general advice.

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