If you’re searching for ways to use your cryptocurrency in the real world, one option worth considering is paying your bills. With the help of cryptocurrency bill payment services, it’s easier than ever before to use your digital currency to pay everything from utilities and credit card bills to your weekly rent.
If you want to know how to pay your bills with bitcoin (BTC) or with other cryptocurrencies, keep reading for a guide to crypto bill payment services, how they work, and how to choose one that’s right for you.
Cryptocurrency bill payment services in Australia
How to pay bills with cryptocurrency
One of the criticisms regularly levelled at digital currencies is that they aren’t widely accepted enough to make them a viable alternative to traditional fiat currencies. However, it’s entirely possible to pay bills with bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies – in fact, there are quite a few options for doing so:
- Cryptocurrency bill payment platforms. These platforms, such as HiveSpend and Living Room of Satoshi, automatically convert your cryptocurrency into Australian dollars (AUD) to pay your bills.
- Bitcoin debit cards. Bitcoin debit cards work just like any other debit card and can be used to pay bills wherever payment by debit card is accepted.
- Direct to biller. Some companies and service providers now accept BTC (and to a lesser extent, other digital currencies) as a direct form of payment, so it’s worth asking if you can pay your bill with cryptocurrency.
How do cryptocurrency bill payment services work?
Despite the fact that some businesses accept bitcoin as a form of payment, the vast majority don’t. So how do cryptocurrency bill payment services fulfil their promise to help you pay just about any bill?
Simple – they convert your crypto coins or tokens into AUD and then send the necessary amount to the biller. The basic process may vary slightly between platforms, but it’s generally as follows:
- You enter your bill amount in AUD and provide the payment details, for example the biller’s BPAY information or bank account details.
- You select the cryptocurrency you want to use to pay your bill.
- You’re quoted an exchange rate for converting your cryptocurrency into AUD.
- If you’re happy with the rate and any extra fees that may apply, you submit your transaction and pay your bill.
What bills can I pay?
You can use bitcoin to pay a bill for just about anything. You can use crypto bill payment services to pay the following:
- Any Australian bill that has a BPAY biller code
- Any Australian bill that accepts electronic funds transfer (EFT) to an Australian bank account
This means you can use cryptocurrency to pay for a hugely diverse range of bills, including the following:
- Electricity and gas bills
- Phone bills
- Council rates
- Credit card bills
- Gym memberships
- Car insurance premiums
- Home insurance premiums
- Health insurance premiums
- Car rego
- Tax bills
In short, you can basically pay any bill that includes BPAY details or that can be paid via bank transfer.
Are there any transaction limits?
Due to Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence regulatory requirements, the maximum amount you can send per transaction (unless transferring funds to your own bank account) with a crypto bill payment service is $1,000. You can still use crypto payment gateways to pay bills that exceed this $1,000 limit, but you’ll need to split your payment up into separate transactions of $1,000 or less.
For example, let’s say you’ve racked up a credit card bill of $4,321 that you want to pay with bitcoin. To pay off your debt, you’d need to submit five separate transactions – four transactions of $1,000 each and one transaction of $321.
It’s also a good idea to check the payment gateway’s disclosure document to see whether the provider imposes any of its own limits, such as a restriction on the total amount you’re allowed to pay via the platform per 24 hours.
Key features to look for when choosing a cryptocurrency bill payment service
Now that you know how to pay bills with bitcoin, it’s time to choose a cryptocurrency bill payment service. There are several options available, so it’s important to compare their features before deciding which one is right for you. Factors you’ll need to consider include:
- Exchange rates. Check each provider’s terms and conditions to find out how they calculate their exchange rate. How far above the market rate is the rate you’ll receive for your transaction?
- Fees. Does the platform charge any fees on top of its exchange rate? While some providers incorporate all fees and charges into the exchange rate you’re quoted, others may impose an additional fee calculated as a percentage of your transaction amount.
- Supported cryptocurrencies. Does the provider accept bitcoin only, or are you allowed to pay using a variety of other digital currencies?
- Transaction limits. It’s also a good idea to check whether any limits apply to the amount you’re allowed to pay per transaction. In addition to the $1,000 limit imposed under AFS licence regulations, read the provider’s disclosure document to find out whether it has any other restrictions on the amount you can send.
- Processing time. How long will it take for your bill to be paid? Will the AUD payment be sent the same day as the provider receives your cryptocurrency?
- Ease of use and verification process. Find out exactly what’s involved in the bill-paying process. How quick and easy is it to pay a bill? Will you need to create an account first? What information will you need to provide in order to verify your identity?
- Reputation. See what you can find out about the people behind the company. Where is it based? How long has it been operating? Does it have a reputation as a trusted provider? What security measures does it have in place to protect your funds and your personal details?
- What happens if something goes wrong? Check the service’s terms and conditions to find out what happens if something goes awry and you have a complaint. For example, what happens if the biller claims they never received any payment?
- Customer support. What customer support channels does the service offer? During what hours can you get in touch with the customer support team? How long do they take to respond to queries?
By comparing platforms based on these criteria, you’ll be well placed to choose a crypto bill payment service that offers all the features you need.
Pros and cons of cryptocurrency bill payment services
- Quick and easy to use. Crypto bill payment services make it simple and convenient to quickly pay bills using bitcoin and other digital currencies.
- Use your crypto in the real world. Tired of people telling you crypto is useless because you can’t use it to pay for anything? Bill payment services provide a practical, everyday use for your digital coins.
- Not just bitcoin. These services allow you to pay bills with bitcoin and a number of other leading cryptocurrencies.
- Pay almost any bill. If your bill lists BPAY or a transfer to an Australian bank account as an accepted payment method, you can pay it with cryptocurrency.
- Not free. There will always be a cost involved in using these types of services, so make sure you’re aware of the exchange rate as well as any fees that may apply.
- Large bills need to be split. Due to regulatory requirements, you will need to make multiple payments to pay large bills of more than $1,000.
- Disputes. If the biller says they have not received payment, you may have difficulty getting your money back. Make sure the provider has a clear policy on what happens in situations such as this.
If you’d like to start paying bills with bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, check out the comparison table above for details of a number of leading bill payment services. Compare the features, fees and reputation of each provider to find one that you can trust to pay your bills with cryptocurrency securely and on time.
Frequently asked questions
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ADA, ICX, IOTA and XLM.
Ask an Expert