Few landlords in Singapore accept credit card payments, and this can be a problem for both foreigners and local renters. Fortunately, a number of innovative companies are revolutionising Singapore’s digital payment landscape.
Read on to find out the key points on how to pay rent with a credit card in Singapore.
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Rent is the single largest recurring expense for most households that do not own their properties. Singaporean landlords usually accept rent payments directly, but some may choose to go through a real estate agency.
While many real estate companies do accept credit card rent payments, not all of them do. Landlords, on the other hand, rarely accept rent payments directly via credit card at all. This is largely because of the processing costs levied by credit card companies.
As our guide explains, this inconsistency is now a thing of the past. That’s because three platforms are giving renters in Singapore the option to use credit cards for rent payments, irrespective of landlord or agency.
How can I earn rewards when using a credit card to pay rent?
Rent accounts for a large portion of a household’s expenses, particularly for expatriates. Paying it with a credit card allows you to earn points or miles quickly and to meet your card’s minimum spending requirements more easily. Credit card companies in Singapore don’t usually distinguish between charges made against rent and those for other expenses.
The exact cashback and points you receive are determined by the individual bank and credit card. Please note that all cards have a cap on cashbacks as well as a tier system of rewards.
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So, is paying rent with a credit card worth it?
Rent is a significant expense for both local and expatriate renters in Singapore. However, it can be turned into an excellent source of credit card points, rewards and cashback.
Still, the idea of paying a major monthly expense like rent with a credit card can be puzzling to some. After all, it is a recurring expense that does not vary – why risk the late payment penalties and repercussions on your credit score?
There is also the negative effect on your credit history from excessive and prolonged stress on your credit limit. The general consensus is that exceeding 60% of the limit can trigger red flags.
It is important to first work out the proportion of your total credit card expenses that rent represents. That figure will allow you to allocate cash for other expenses and manage them between cards without an adverse effect on your personal credit score.
What other ways could I use a credit card to pay rent?
In recent years, the Singaporean financial scene has been shaken up by the arrival of payment platforms such as CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero. Not only do they allow clients to pay rent using credit cards, they could sweeten the deal by rewarding them with discounts, points and rebates. Let’s take a closer look.
What is it?
What you need to know
Essentially a middleman between a payer using a credit card and a payee – whether or not the latter accepts credit card payments – CardUp pays the recipient directly, but charges the amount and a processing fee to the payer’s card.
The company offers 59 days of interest-free credit and a low processing fee of 2.6%. Its rewards system pays 1.5 miles to the dollar on Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Users can earn up to $2,000 in CardUp credits from its referral program. Signing up is simple and requires only an email address. Recipients do not need to register. You can then make a one-off payment or schedule regular ones. The payee is paid on the due date while your credit card is debited three days beforehand. Be aware that late payment charges are as high as 25%. Other fees apply.
Like CardUp, ipaymy works as a payment gateway that allows credit card users to pay any individual or business. Originally designed for SMEs, it still advertises itself as “an interest-free small business loan in your wallet”. However, it now extends its services to everyone.
Individual users enjoy low 2.25% processing charges (1.99% for businesses) per transaction and an interest-free term of 55 days. Airline miles, program points and cashback are part of the package. Registration on ipaymy requires you to divulge more details than on CardUp. Once set-up is complete, simply add your credit card details and specify the payment amount and frequency. Payments are processed by ipaymy as early as the next business day and you simply pay your credit card company as you would otherwise. Just keep in mind that Singapore-issued American Express credit cards are not eligible. Plus, a higher transaction fee of 3.3% for credit cards issued outside Singapore applies. Check for other fees and charges.
This online rental management platform – launched in 2018 – aims to make renting an easy and transparent process for agents, landlords and tenants alike. Its services include online credit card payments and secure deposit handling. While paying rent with a credit card, you can take advantage of points and miles too.
Among RentHero’s charges are a 1.75% service fee and this applies to both new and existing customers. As with any payment platform you compare, check for any exclusions when it comes to rewards. For example, Citibank, OCBC and UOB credit cards all typically won’t earn rewards points or air miles with RentHero.
Most tenants in Singapore pay their landlord directly or through a real estate company that manages the property for the owner. This can be done in one of several ways:
Cash – If you choose to pay rent in cash, ensure that you receive a proper receipt.
Bank transfer – Automatic giro rent payments from your bank account generate records in case of disputes and give you one less thing to remember.
Pay Now – Launched in July 2017, Pay Now allows you to send payments directly to a recipient even if you don’t have their bank name or account number.
Frequently asked questions
Is it safe to pay rent with a credit card in Singapore?
Singapore is a major international financial hub and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is renowned for its extremely strict financial services standards. RentHero, CardUp and ipaymy come under MAS’s purview. You can read the in-depth explanations of their security processes on these providers’ websites.
Can I use a credit card issued outside Singapore to pay rent in Singapore?
Yes – RentHero, CardUp and ipaymy accept international credit cards for rent payments. However, these cards attract a higher processing fee. Why not consider a local credit card instead?
Will I need to use my credit card to pay rent in Singapore?
Singapore has consistently been one of the world’s most expensive cities. One of the key factors is the high rental rates. For local renters, credit card rent payments add a new dimension of flexibility combined with rewards points and cashback.
The credit card option holds even greater allure for international expatriates settled in Singapore. It can help to offset the huge expenses associated with an international move, particularly in the first few months.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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