When your paycheck is delayed, or you don’t have enough cash to cover your expenses, a credit card comes in handy. You can use a credit card to make a wide variety of payments ? from everyday purchases to monthly bills and utilities.
Today, you can even use credit cards to pay rent. The convenience of not having to mail in a check every month makes this a popular option. You’ll also be able to rack up points or miles on your credit card with this method.
Paying your rent with plastic may seem like a convenient option, but it comes with drawbacks as well. Therefore, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to ensure that you’re not losing money in the end.
Can You Pay Rent With a Credit Card?
The short answer is yes, but for a small service fee.
If your landlord or property manager accepts credit card payments for rent, you’re lucky because you likely won’t incur a ton of fees. You could pay a processing fee of 2.5% to about 2.9% that landlords often pass to renters, according to CNBC.
On the other hand, if your landlord doesn’t accept credit card payments, you can use third-party online services to pay your rent. These services will also charge you a processing fee, which will be determined by your service provider. For example, Plastiq charges a 2.85% service fee for every rent payment.
How To Pay Rent With Your Credit Card
The most convenient way to pay your rent using your credit card is by making a direct payment to your landlord or property manager. Often, landlords will set up online payment portals or use payment apps like Venmo or Cash App. If your landlord accepts this option, be sure you ask about the processing fees.
Many landlords or property managers don’t accept credit card payments for rent. However, several third-party services will let you use your credit card to make rent payments. Some of these services require landlords’ involvement while others don’t. Here are some of the services you may want to consider.
Plastiq is a bill payment service that lets you charge bills and utilities, such as rent, to your credit card and then sends payment to the recipient via check, wire transfer, or Automated Clearing House transfer. Your landlord doesn’t have to open a Plastiq account to receive payment. Plastiq charges a 2.85% processing fee.
RentTrack is another online service that will allow you to pay rent using your credit card. It charges a 2.95% transaction fee for every credit card payment and $6.95 for ACH payments. RentTrack will also help you improve your credit profile by reporting your rent payments to three major credit bureaus ? Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
RentMoola is a payment network like RentTrack that allows you to pay rent with a credit card. You can schedule one-time payments every month using your preferred payment method. RentMoola also offers an option called “RM Quickpay” that will let you make your rent payment with your contact information. It charges 2.99% per transaction for Visa and Mastercard credit as well as prepaid debit cards and a 3.99% transaction fee for American Express credit cards. There are also various other service fees depending on your card or transaction type.
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PlacePay charges a flat fee of $1.95 per ACH payment or 2.99% for every debit card or credit card payment. It allows you to split the cost of rent with roommates, and everyone can choose their preferred payment method. The platform will also send you reminders every month, so you never miss a payment; plus, you can also schedule automatic payments.
Pros and Cons of Paying Rent With a Credit Card
Using your credit card to pay rent comes with benefits, including:
If you’re running low on cash, paying your rent with a credit card can be a great alternative. Let’s say your rent is coming soon, your paycheck is delayed, you don’t want to tap into your savings, and you recently depleted your emergency fund.
In this case, using your credit card to make rent payments can help you avoid late payment fees. Plus, you won’t damage your credit score. However, make sure you pay it off as soon as your paycheck arrives. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay interest on your rent.
Using your credit card to pay rent can earn you several rewards for every dollar you spend ? cash back, points and miles. Other credit cards offer sign-up bonuses for opening a new account and reaching a minimum spending limit within a specific period.
Better Alternative to a Personal Loan
Taking out a personal loan to pay your rent can be a bad idea because such loans come with high interest rates. Other lenders will even go to the extent of charging a prepayment penalty if you pay off your loan early.
Like anything else, paying your rent with a credit card has drawbacks:
The processing fee charged by landlords and online third-party services is relatively high. Even if you use your rewards to cover the fees, this is still an expensive payment option.
Could Lead to High Credit Utilization Ratio
A credit utilization ratio is the percentage of your total available credit limit. Using your credit card to pay rent every month could lead to a high credit utilization ratio. A good credit utilization ratio is less than 30% ? keeping this ratio low can improve your credit score.
Risk Maxing Out Your Credit Card
You can quickly max out your credit card if you use it for large expenses like rent each month. This will prevent you from using your credit card for other purchases and could even damage your credit score.
Paying your rent with a credit card is convenient, but it also comes with drawbacks. It’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of paying rent with a credit card to ensure that you’re not losing a lot of money in the end. Some of the factors to consider include fees, interest payments, and the impact they can have on your credit score.
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Barri Segal contributed to the reporting for this article.