Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Still need to pay your January tax bill? Use Billhop to earn Avios from HMRC

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This article has been sponsored by Billhop

It’s one week today until the HMRC self-assessment tax return deadline. If you haven’t completed made payment yet, you may want to consider using Billhop to pay your tax bill.

HMRC stopped accepting personal credit cards for tax payments a couple of years ago, which frustratingly means that on the face of it, there’s no way of earning miles or points on what is often a sizeable payment.

However, there is an option. Payment processors like Billhop act as an intermediary and can turn your card payment into a bank transfer.

How does Billhop work?

Essentially, Billhop pays your bills for you – directly into the bank account of the recipient – and charges your credit or charge card, including American Express, with the transaction going through as a purchase.  That means you can continue to earn miles or points if you use a reward credit card.

Use Billhop to earn Avios

Billhop charge 2.95% on every payment you make and the card processing costs are included in the Billhop fee, i.e. if you pay a bill of £100, you will pay £102.95 in total. However, registration with Billhop is free – see here – so you have nothing to lose by signing up and seeing how it works.

If you decide to go ahead and use Billhop, you can pay your tax bill using your credit card. Simply give Billhop the bank account details for HMRC and your payment reference, and they will make the payment on your behalf.

It is important to note that you cannot use Billhop to pay private individuals unless you have an invoice from that person for a service provided, such as music lessons.

With an invoice, Billhop is happy to pay private individuals via Visa or Mastercard. However, although it’s fine to use Amex with Billhop for paying companies and HMRC, you cannot use an American Express card to pay private individuals under any scenario, even if you have an invoice.

Use Billhop to earn Avios

Why use Billhop?

Billhop is particularly useful if you are struggling to hit a spend target on a credit card, for example, the £3,000 you need to spend on the Amex Gold card within three months of signing up to get the welcome bonus. You may also need to increase your spending towards your next British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

Businesses can use Billhop too

There are also some clear benefits for SMEs.

Whilst one of the main reasons individuals pay through Billhop is to achieve various credit card rewards, business owners are using the platform to help with active liquidity management. Billhop provides them with an opportunity to pay suppliers faster without affecting their cash flow until the card statement is due.

Using Billhop means that any credit card can be used to pay any invoice. The service broadens the choice available to SMEs in today’s market where often traditional credit might not be available.

How to set up your Billhop account

Click ‘Register for Free‘ on the homepage. On the next page you can choose whether you’d like to register as a company (with company number) or as an individual (with your date of birth).

Use Billhop to earn Avios

To create a personal account you need to fill out your details including email and postal address. You can transfer up to £250 without providing any verified ID, but for money laundering reasons Billhop will need a picture of your passport before you can make larger payments.

On the dashboard you can see your past bills and scheduled bills and pay new bills.

When paying with a Mastercard or Visa, the recipient will receive their money within 2 days. For American Express, it takes 4 days. When we tested the service previously using an American Express, the money actually arrived after 4 business days. You receive an email when the money has been sent.

In conclusion

Whilst the relaxing of travel restrictions in the UK mean that you may be making a few big ticket purchase like holidays soon, many of us are holding back until we feel a bit more confident.

Billhop is a good option for ensuring you hit any targets for credit card welcome bonuses and BA Amex 2-4-1 vouchers in the meantime. The Billhop fee may well be a price worth paying if it means you don’t miss out.

The Billhop homepage is here if you want to sign up or learn more.

Comments (17)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • The real Swiss Tony says:

    Probably worth adding that HMRC are being very generous in terms of extending credit to taxpayers this time round and no late payment penalties, just very low interest charges of 2.5% pa. Also, when I used BillHop a few years back, it took them the best part of a week to sort this out with the AML checks then getting the cash to HMRC, so if you are thinking about it, better get a move on….

    • Memesweeper says:

      Do you know is this just for personal tax , or will a late payment from an SME for corporation/value added tax be similarly treated if it’s a few weeks late?

      • tony says:

        I honestly don’t know. It’s been on the PAYE narratives I’ve received, but since my Corp Tax is due at the end of September and VAT is paid on the monthly scheme, I’ve seen nothing beyond this.

        A quick google however suggests Time To Pay (TTP) will be offered to small businesses on overdue VAT bills, and that if it’s under £30k owed you can sort it online. HMRC have also apparently committed to go easy on companies strangled by “COVID debt”.

  • JD says:

    Try the Tesco Pay Plus Debit card. There was an article about it on HfP last week I believe so just have a scroll/search.

  • Axel says:

    HMRC are rejecting my new Tesco Pay + card for self assessment Not sure why as can use it to topup Amazon.

    • Rob says:

      Try £100 and see what happens. If that goes through then it is a limit issue. Loads of readers using this OK.

      • flyforfun says:

        I hope it’s an limit issue! I’ve got my card arriving shortly, hopefully in time to pay mine and my spouse’s self-assessment tax bills! Did they extend the payment time to Feb for self assessment?

        • tony says:

          You have to complete your return by 28th Feb this year. No £100 fine, but interest charged at 2.5% on outstanding debt after 31st Jan. Also other regs regarding payment plans. “HMRC Time To Pay” is the search term to use.

        • Rob says:

          Yes, although you pay a small amount of interest (0.2% per month).

          • The real Swiss Tony says:

            And the point here being that 0.2% per month is a lot cheaper than the 2.95% BillHop fee. Then on top of that if you need even longer to pay, the HMRC rate of 2.5% pa is going to look like free money compared to rolling this onto a credit card.

  • elguiri says:

    @Gary See the article a week or so ago on Tesco pay+ (sorry can’t link to it on phone)

  • Leyla says:

    My daughter is now going to buy her car from Audi as the lease deal has expired . It’s a sizeable sum but they don’t take Amex, which is her credit card . Could this be used for that or is there another way ?

    • Rob says:

      I would imagine so, since you will have a bill you can show Billhop.

    • Peter K says:

      Just be aware, Amex will not allow you to pay financial services via billhop. So you cannot pay off a back loan early using amex via billhop for example.

  • Polly says:

    Gary,
    Our trick was to,prepay the stamp duty in chunks to our solicitor, plus the estate agents fees, so we were in huge credit until the sale. Got about 2/3rds of the costs in avios, wouldn’t take Amex, but got the WE going fast.

  • Andrew A says:

    Outside of reaching spend thresholds for bonus points, the best way to look at this value-wise is pence/point or pence/avios – 2.95% charge works out as 2.95p/reward point with a Platinum Amex for example, or 1.97p/avios with the BA Premium Plus card.

  • Lindsay East says:

    This was a useful article. I have used Billhop to pay HMRC, and get 11.000 Avios. It is worth pointing out, however, that there is a commission charge of 2.95%, which I only realised when I was about to press pay! Still that should get me a few extra [email protected]

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