Paying rent with a credit card

Tips & Guides / Leases

Can You Pay Rent With a Credit Card?

By Bri Hand

Monthly rent expenses are most likely the biggest expenses you have to think about each month. Experts have traditionally recommended that you try to spend around 30% of your monthly income on rent, but Americans are now paying closer to 50% of their paychecks on rent as wages stagnate and the cost of living increases. If you’re finding yourself in this boat, it’s only natural that you may be looking for other options to keep your finances afloat and pay your landlord on time.

Can you pay rent with a credit card?

Many renters may wonder whether it’s a good idea to pay rent with a credit card. While rent payments are traditionally made through a bank transaction, check, or sometimes a debit card payment, some renters may rely on credit card payments if they don’t have the cash on hand to afford a lump sum rent payment at the beginning of each month. 

Credit cards involve borrowing from a line of credit you have with the bank, and then paying back that money with interest. These kinds of payments can theoretically help you get out of a tough spot, but there are some factors to consider before you pay rent with a credit card.

Is a credit card payment an acceptable way to pay rent?

While you can pay rent with a credit card, doing so can be complicated and usually involves extra fees. The first step for figuring out whether this is possible for you is to speak with your landlord. Some landlords may form an understanding with their tenants to allow them to pay rent with a credit card—you just need to ask. 

If your lender is strict with renters and doesn’t allow you to go this route, you may be able to find a third-party provider that can help you with your monthly bills. Apps like RentPayment or PlacePay will accept a credit card payment from you and send a check directly to your landlord.

If appealing to your landlord or using a third-party service doesn’t work, you may be able to move some money around within your credit account. You can take out a cash advance (with high interest rates) at an ATM, or consolidate some credit card debt to a different account, so you have enough money right away.

Beware of the fees

Paying rent with a credit card does have some pros and perks. You may be able to get some credit card rewards and bonuses—plus, some third-party services offer you protection and security to cover late fees if a payment doesn’t arrive on time. 

However, there are some cons to paying rent with a credit card. The biggest issue is transaction fees. If you’re paying rent with a credit card, additional charges can be a dangerous game, as they usually range from 2% to 3% of your rent. This may not feel like much at first, but it adds up after a while. Plus, the more credit card debt you’re in, the higher your interest charges will be down the line. So, if you can get your monthly payment in cash without using your credit line, it will save you money on payment services and help you out down the line. 

Look into more options

If paying rent with a credit card isn’t for you, there are plenty of other options. You can pay with a debit card that takes money directly out of your account, rather than relying on a line of credit. You can also write a check, pay with a wire transfer or money order, and in some cases, you can even pay in cash.

Bri Hand published on June 7, 2021