Credit Cards How To Use Credit Cards Wisely

Can You Pay Rent with a Credit Card?

Elizabeth Aldrich

Credit cards can be used for just about anything nowadays. If you’re building credit or interested in gaining rewards like airline miles or cash back, it can be a good idea to use your credit card for most purchases. But is it wise – and even possible – to pay your rent with a credit card?

Can you pay rent with a credit card?

It is possible to pay your rent with a credit card even if your landlord only accepts checks. A number of websites and payment apps now offer rent payment services that allow you to pay your rent online with a credit card. These websites process your credit card payment and then send a check to your landlord on your behalf. Of course, processing credit card payments isn’t free, so these services all charge a fee.

The benefits of paying rent with a credit card

Even with fees taken into account, there are some good reasons to consider paying your rent with a credit card.

  • Rewards. If your credit card offers a rewards program, putting large bills and purchases on it will help you accumulate points or cash back more quickly. Keep in mind that you’d have to receive a pretty significant rewards rate in order for it to exceed the cost you end up paying in fees. If you’re paying a 3% fee, for example, your cash back rate should be more than 3%.
  • Meeting minimum spending requirements. Some rewards credit cards offer big sign-up bonuses for new cardholders, but they require you to spend a certain amount within the first few months. If you’re falling short of the requirement, paying rent with your credit card to hit it is almost always worth the fee, as many credit card sign-up bonuses are worth over $500.
  • Covering financial gaps. While spending extra money in fees to pay your rent with a credit card isn’t a good idea if you have the money to pay rent, it does offer you a little extra flexibility if you fall short on rent one month. Just be sure to reserve it for extenuating circumstance rather than making it a regular habit.

The drawbacks of paying your rent with a credit card

There are several benefits to paying your rent with a credit card, but they don’t come without cost.

  • Fees. The fees associated with paying rent with your credit card are the most obvious reason to avoid it. Even though a fee of 3% may seem minimal, it adds up when you’re making big payments.
  • Interest. As long as you pay your balance in full each month, you’ll avoid having to pay interest fees. However, putting rent on your credit card may tempt you to carry a balance, resulting in interest fees on top of your initial processing fees.
  • Credit score. Putting rent on your credit card once is unlikely to significantly impact your credit score, especially if you pay it off quickly. But because credit utilization, which includes your debt to credit ratio, makes up a good portion of your credit score, maintaining a high balance can drag your score down.

Best places to pay your rent with a credit card

If you decide you do want to pay rent with a credit card, there are several options. The main factors to consider will be the fees they charge and the credit cards they accept.

Plastiq

Plastiq is one of the most popular options because they have some of the lowest credit card fees. You can also use their service to pay a number of other expenses, including taxes and tuition.

Fee: 2.5% for credit cards

Cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB

RadPad

RadPad was one of the first websites to offer rent payment via credit card services, and they’re still a common choice. You can also use their services to split rent with roommates and even find a new rental.

Fee: 2.99% for credit cards

Cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover

Rentshare

Rentshare is another website that allows you to pay rent online and split rent with roommates. You can pay with a credit card or bank account and schedule automatic payments.

Fee: 2.99% for credit cards

Cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard, Discover

Venmo

Venmo is different from the options mentioned above. It’s a mobile payment app that allows you to quickly and easily transfer money to anyone else who has it, using a debit or credit card. Venmo doesn’t offer to send your landlord a rent check on your behalf, so the only way to pay your rent with the application is if your landlord uses it and agrees to receive your rent payments through it.

Fee: 3%

Cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard, Discover

Should you pay rent with a credit card?

Ultimately, the question of whether or not you should pay your rent with a credit card depends on your particular circumstances. If you’ll be receiving rewards with your credit card that offer a greater return than the fee you pay, it’s probably worth it. Otherwise, it’s wise to avoid using your credit card and paying fees unless necessary.

About the author

Elizabeth Aldrich

Elizabeth Aldrich

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and “digital nomad” specializing in small business, entrepreneurship, career advice, real estate, travel, arts, and culture. She’s written for outlets as varied as Rawckus Music and Arts Magazine, Itcher Entertainment, Sweden Tips, Houzz, Hometalk, JobHero, Tico Times, and Eugene Weekly. Thanks to a three-year stint in a travel job, a knack for mining great deals, and credit card churning, she has not paid for a single flight since 2012, despite her constant travels. You can find her on Twitter @LizzieAldrich or her website, www.elizabethaldrich.com.

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