A growing number of New Jersey municipalities are allowing property owners to use a credit card to pay their property tax bills.

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“It’s an option that towns began looking at this about 10 years ago when guidance was established on the financial systems that needed to be put into place to do it,” said Michael Darcy, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. "It’s a local option and decided on a case by case basis. You may find in some communities that certain fees and certain costs could be paid with a credit card, whereas others might not.”

Darcy explained many towns switched over to an online pay system option “once the state regulations caught up with the times.”

In most cases, it will cost people more to pay with a credit card though since the majority of local governments charge people a percent convenience fee. Typically, the fee is 3 percent.

Darcy pointed out a 3 percent fee can mean several hundred dollars extra.

“That can really drive those numbers up when you’re paying a high property tax bill, for example, or if you’re doing something else,” Darcy said.

At the same time, he said for some people it's a benefit to use their credit cards because it can help them earn valuable travel or spending miles.

Besides the additional cost factor, there’s another potential problem with using a credit card to pay your taxes - getting into debt.

“In some communities, there may be a concern about people who are driving up credit card debt and getting themselves into big trouble because they’re paying high interest rates on their credit cards,” Darcy said. “In the worst case scenario, you’ve got somebody of limited means who may be driving up their credit card debt, which is a very expensive type of debt.

For those that may be struggling, Darcy recommended that they research lower-cost options to get those bills paid.

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