Paying BAS will never win a popularity contest. Besides preparing your accounts before lodging BAS, it can put pressure on cash flow. Some businesses use a credit card to bridge the gap. Others pay BAS with a credit card to earn rewards points.
Regardless of your situation, use this guide to make a more informed decision about paying BAS with a credit card.
In this guide
Why pay BAS with a credit card?
In addition to credit cards, it's possible to pay BAS via debit card, bank transfer, BPAY, or cheque. So what's the benefit of paying with a credit card?
Improved cash flow
Paying BAS with a credit card means you can spread the cost over time since many credit cards offer as much as 55 days interest-free (assuming you pay off the balance in full each month). If paying with a credit card means you will pay BAS on time, then it can help avoid incurring penalties levied by the ATO for being late.
However, using a credit card to pay BAS is not the cheapest option. Regardless of the type of credit card used, the ATO will pass on a processing fee. The fee itself may be tax deductible.
Turn tax into rewards
Since the ATO accepts credit card payments, then it is possible to pay using a credit card that earns reward points. However, there are some important caveats to consider.
- You may not get the full earn rate on ATO payments. For example, you can pay BAS with an American Express credit card, but the earn rate will be lower than for general purchases.
- Some cards may not reward ATO payments at all. For example, some personal credit cards do not earn points on any government charges, which may include BAS, GST, licences such as vehicle rego, and other taxes and duties like stamp duty.
- Interest will negate the value of rewards. If you pay BAS with a credit card just to earn points but do not pay off the balance in full, the value of the rewards points earned will be negated by the cost of the interest due. The longer the balance incurs interest, the less value you get from the points earned.
The general rule of thumb is to check what your credit card's terms and conditions for ATO payments are before proceeding to pay.
Payment options and fees
|Credit card type||Accepted by ATO?||Processing fee|
Processing fees accurate as of publishing date.
Paying ATO directly vs using a payments service
A number of businesses have come to market in recent years that provide a payments service for businesses to pay suppliers who do not accept credit cards. Prominent examples include B2Bpay, Pay.com.au, and RewardPay.
These services are particularly popular with American Express cardholders because ATO spend on American Express cards is not eligible for the full earn rate. However, American Express does reward payments to payment processor services such as those mentioned above at the full rate, regardless of who the end recipient of the payment is.
Payments services charge a fee — typically around 2% — to process your payment. Since they pay the ATO on your behalf, the ATO's credit card processing fee will not be levied in addition.
- Paying sent via a payments service may take longer to arrive. Therefore, it's important to take the extra time into account to avoid penalties for paying late.
- Paying via a payments service is more expensive. Since the ATO accepts credit cards except those issued by Diners Club, you should weigh up the benefit of earning rewards points at the full rate against the additional cost for doing so.
What type of credit card has the lowest processing fees when paying BAS?
The type of credit card with the lowest processing fee when used to pay BAS is a Visa credit card issued by an Australian bank.
Why is it more expensive to pay BAS using American Express?
The fee charged by American Express to process a transaction on their network is higher than that of Mastercard and Visa. This fee is not absorbed by the ATO and is passed on to the payor, i.e. you, making it the most expensive option.
Is the credit card processing fee on BAS payments tax deductible?
The processing fee applied to all credit card payments may be a tax deductible expense, but whether you can claim it or not depends on your individual circumstances.
What taxes can be paid for with a credit card at the ATO?
The ATO accepts credit cards for all taxes levied including BAS, GST, and company tax.
You can pay BAS with a credit card and there are a number of options to do so. However, there is no "best" way.
The cheapest way to pay BAS with a credit card is to pay directly on the ATO's website (paying with a debit card or via bank transfer will be cheaper still). Those wishing to maximise their rewards could pay BAS via a payments service to get their credit card's highest earn rate, but whether it is worth paying extra for comes down to how much you value rewards points.