It’s that time again — your rent payment is due. Instead of paying by cash or cheque, is there any way to pay rent with a credit card?
The answer is yes – paying by credit card can be much more convenient than sending a cheque to your landlord or meeting up with them in person to hand over cash that you might not have. While paying your rent with a credit card can be a convenient option, it’ll probably come with some extra fees.
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Paying rent by cash or cheque has one big advantage: While you might have to walk it over to your building’s office or mail it to your landlord, you won’t have to pay any big fees. Using a credit card to pay rent will cost you extra.
- If you use a rent pay service, you’ll likely be looking at credit card fees of 1% to 2.5%.
- If your landlord directly accepts credit cards, banks typically charge them a 2% to 3% fee for each transaction – which they’ll likely pass on to you.
So if your rent is $1,000 and you pay with a credit card, you could pay an additional fee of $10 to $30, sometimes more.
Most landlords won’t let you pay rent with plastic — they’ll insist on cheques, cash in hand or direct deposits. Ask your landlord if they accept credit card payments. If your landlord doesn’t take credit cards, you still have options.
You can use your credit card with an online rent pay service, which collects your payment and directly deposits the money into your landlords account on your behalf.
Though your credit card payment to the rent pay service is instant, it generally takes two to seven days for your landlord to receive a direct deposit or a physical cheque in the mail.
Here’s an example of possible fees from a couple of popular rent pay services.
|Service||Credit card fee||Credit cards accepted|
|Plastiq||2.5%||Visa, Mastercard, Amex|
|RentMoola||0.99 – 2.99%||Visa, Mastercard, Amex|
How to pay your landlord through a rent pay service
While it can vary between services, you’ll usually need to:
- Sign up for an online account with the rent pay service of your choice.
- Initiate a new payment.
- Add your landlord’s name and address.
- Add your payment info and submit your payment.
For most people, paying rent with a credit card is not worth the expense. Weigh the pros and cons to decide for yourself.
Consider paying rent with your credit card if…
- You’re trying to meet your credit card’s minimum spend requirement for a signup bonus. Many signup bonuses require you to spend a minimum amount of money within a specified number of months. Since rent is a significant expense that you have to pay anyway, using a card can get you closer to meeting that minimum. Just make sure that your card’s fees don’t eat up what you’ll earn as a signup bonus, whether that’s cash back, points or miles.
- It’s extremely inconvenient to pay with methods currently available. Maybe your landlord accepts mailed cheques only, and the closest post office is several miles away. Paying your rent with a credit card might make sense if it’s much more convenient — even if you have to pay a fee.
- Your credit card offers rewards that outweigh your fees. If the rewards you earn from using your credit card to pay rent are greater than the fee charged by your landlord or the rent pay service, then this could be a good option for you.
- You’re looking to improve your credit score and don’t mind the extra fees. If you’re trying to increase your credit score and you know you can pay off your rent – and any other credit card expenses – in full each month, then paying your rent with your card could be a good idea.
- You’re just trying to kick the can down the road. You can defer your rent payment by putting it on your credit card – but next month, the same payment will be due like clockwork. If you’re having trouble paying your rent, contact your landlord. They may be willing to work with you to make rent payments more manageable.
- It’s not much more convenient than paying through existing methods. On a rent payment of a few hundred or thousand dollars, a 3% fee can significantly increase your rent costs.
- You’re keeping an eye on your credit score. Putting a big charge on your credit card will raise your credit utilization ratio, which could put a dent in your credit score. If you’re looking to open a line of credit soon — such as a mortgage, car loan or another credit card — it may be wise to avoid taking on more debt right now.
- You’ll have trouble keeping up with credit card payments. It’s never a good idea to rack up a lot of debt on your credit card. If you plan on paying only the minimum toward your balance each month, consider avoiding a credit card rent payment. You stand to quickly accumulate interest that could throw you into an endless cycle of debt.