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Using a credit card to pay rent or a mortgage
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?
If cash is tight or you want to optimize rewards, you might be wondering if it’s possible to pay rent or a mortgage with a credit card. You can pay rent with a credit card, but you will likely incur some additional fees. As for a mortgage, most lenders do not allow you to make payments by credit card. In the rare case that a mortgage lender does accept credit card payments, you will probably incur additional charges to complete the transaction. Fortunately, there is a loophole – you can use a third-party bill payment service.
You can learn more about how to pay rent with a credit card and how to pay a mortgage with a credit card below.
Cost to pay rent or a mortgage with credit cards
Paying rent or a mortgage by cash or cheque has one big advantage. While you might have to walk it over to your building’s office or mail it, you won’t have to pay any big fees. Using a credit card to pay rent or a mortgage will cost you extra.
- If you use a third-party payment 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.
As an example, if your rent is $1,000 per month and you pay with a credit card, you could pay an additional fee of $10 to $30.
How to pay rent or mortgage with a credit card
Your first step is to double-check with your landlord or mortgage provider to determine if credit card payments are accepted directly. If not, you still have options.
To pay your rent or mortgage by credit card, you can use a third-party bill payment service. Below are 3 providers, their fees and the credit cards accepted, along with an explanation of their services.
|Service||Credit card fee||Credit cards accepted||Fee on $1,500 rent|
|Paytm||0% – 3%||Visa, Mastercard, Amex||$0 – $45|
|Plastiq||2.85%||Visa, Mastercard, Amex||$42.75|
|RentMoola||0.99 – 3.99%||Visa, Mastercard, Amex||$14.85 – $59.85|
Paytm accepts all mortgage and rent payments. While spending, you can collect rewards points that you can use at your favourite brands like Apple, Netflix, Uber and Tim Hortons. You’ll earn 1 Paytm reward point for every $1 you make toward a bill payment through the app.
Avoid using American Express to pay for a bill on Paytm – you’ll face a 3% convenience fee for using an Amex card. Using Visa or Mastercard branded cards through Paytm has a fee too, but it’s lower at 2% to 2.5%.
Pay your mortgage provider or landlord via Plastiq, one of the most well-known third-party bill payment services in Canada. Plastiq charges a convenience fee of 2.85% or less on all types of credit cards.
This means if you’re planning on using an Amex card to pay your mortgage payment or rent, Plastiq will be cheaper than Paytm.
As the name implies, RentMoola can only be used to pay rent with a credit card. At this time, you cannot pay a mortgage with a credit card through RentMoola. Depending on which credit card you use, expect to incur a fee between 0.99% and 3.99%. RentMoola also offers discounts for shopping, travel and more.
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.
Paying your rent or mortgage directly from your credit card
If using a third party doesn’t appeal to you, there are other ways to pay rent or a mortgage with your credit card.
You may already be familiar with a credit card cash advance, where you can withdraw cash from your credit card using an ATM, at a bank branch or via a convenience check. While this may seem like the most straightforward way to pay rent with your credit card, it’s also one of the most expensive ways. The fee on a cash advance usually runs around 3% of the withdrawn amount. So, on a $1,500 rent payment that would mean paying an extra $45. Plus, interest accrues on cash advances immediately, and with cash advance rates at 21% or more, you’ll end up paying a lot more over the long run.
You can also pay your rent or mortgage indirectly with a balance transfer by first applying for a credit card with a low rate balance transfer offer. Once you’re approved, you can move debt from another high-interest card to your balance transfer card. That will free up room to pay your rent on your other credit card using a cash advance or third-party service.
Compare credit cards
When you should — and shouldn’t — pay rent with a credit card
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. Keep in mind that there are other ways of paying remotely that don’t charge fees, such as online bill payments, email transfers or over the phone transfers.
- Your credit card offers rewards that outweigh your fees. By putting a large payment like rent on your credit card, you’ll earn credit card rewards faster. If the rewards you earn are greater than the fee charged by your landlord or the rent-pay service, then this could be a good option for you. Be mindful though that most of the time, transaction fees are more than the credit card rewards you’ll earn, so you’re more likely to end up losing out in the end.
- 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.
- Cash shortageRent is usually paid with cash or the balance sitting in your bank account. If you’re short on cash this month, using a credit card to meet the obligation is an option. If this is the case, just make sure to commit to a plan where you’ll pay off your card’s balance soon. Otherwise, you could end up racking up debt and paying much more in interest.
Avoid paying rent with your credit card if…
- 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.
When you should – and shouldn’t – pay a mortgage with a credit card
If you’re able to use your credit card to pay your mortgage, you might pay a processing fee of up to 3%. Such high fees could erase any rewards you’ll earn from points, miles or cashback.
Consider paying a mortgage with your credit card if…
- It’ll help you reach a minimum spend requirement for a sign-up bonus. Sign-up bonuses typically require spending a few thousand dollars. You can reach yours more easily by paying your mortgage with your credit card. Just make sure that processing fees don’t erase what you’d gain from your bonus.
- You can defer your mortgage payment. You can take advantage of your credit card’s grace period, which is the time during which your balance won’t accrue any interest. Instead, you can use the funds for something else before your card bill is due and take advantage of an interest-free period.
Avoid paying a mortgage with your credit card if…
- You’re having trouble making your mortgage payments. Putting mortgage payments on your card can lead to a mountain of debt due to snowballing interest. If you’re in financial difficulty, your mortgage provider may be willing to work with you to avoid foreclosure.
- You just want a convenient payment option. Instead of paying a processing fee to use your credit card, pay your mortgage for free through your bank account. Many mortgage providers even offer autopay.
How else can I pay my rent or mortgage?
- Use a third-party payment service from your account (e.g. Interac e-Transfer)
- Bank wire transfer
- Set up your landlord as a bill payee with your bank
- Get a money order from your bank or Canada Post
Frequently asked questions
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