Using a credit card to pay rent

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It’s that time again — your rent payment is due. But this feels like the millionth check you’ve had to write. Is there any way to pay rent with a credit card instead?

The answer is yes. And paying by card can be much more convenient than sending a check to your landlord. However, it’ll probably come with extra fees.

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3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
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You can use a credit card — but it could cost you

Paying rent by check has one big advantage. Yes, you might have to walk it over to your building’s office or mail it to your landlord, but you won’t have to pay any big fees.

Using a credit card to pay rent will cost you extra. If your landlord 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 a fee of $30.

How to pay rent with a credit card

First, ask your landlord if they accept credit cards for rent payments. Most landlords won’t let you pay rent with plastic — they’ll insist on checks or direct deposits. If you’re lucky, they’ll take cards without adding a surcharge.

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 mails a check to your landlord 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 the actual check.

Here are a few popular rent-pay services out there.

ServiceCredit card feeCredit cards accepted
Plastiq2.5%Mastercard, Discover, Amex
Radpad2.99%Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex
Rentshare2.99%Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex
RentMoola2.99%Visa, Mastercard, Amex
TIOVaries — typically around 2.8%Visa, Mastercard, Discover
Venmo3%Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express

How to pay your landlord through a rent-pay service

  1. Sign up for an account on the rent-pay service of your choice.
  2. Initiate a new payment.
  3. Add your landlord’s name and address.
  4. Add your payment info and submit your payment.

Why you should — and shouldn’t — pay rent with a credit card

For most people, paying rent with a credit card is a losing proposition. Weigh the pros and cons to decide for yourself.

Consider paying rent via credit card if:

  • You’re trying to meet your credit card’s minimum spend for a signup bonus. Many signup bonuses require you to spend a minimum of thousands of dollars. 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 in cash back, points or miles.
  • It’s extremely inconvenient to pay with methods currently available. Maybe your landlord accepts mailed checks only, and the closest post office is several miles away. Or you’re traveling abroad. 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, then this could be a good option for you.

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Avoid paying rent via 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 hurt making regularly payments by credit card an expensive option.
  • 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 rarely a good idea to rack up a lot of debt on your credit card without paying it off quickly. If you plan on paying only the minimum toward your balance each month, consider passing on a credit card rent payment. You stand to quickly accumulate interest that will balloon your debt.

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