It’s that time again — your rent’s due. Instead of writing a check or initiating a bank transfer, have you considered paying your rent with a credit card?
It’s not the right choice for everyone, but it can make sense if you want to take advantage of credit card rewards, especially those juicy sign-up bonuses.
Before making a decision, let’s explore how you can pay your rent (or mortgage) with a credit card to rack up points or miles, and whether it makes sense for you.
Is it a good idea to pay your rent or mortgage with a credit card?
Whether it’s wise to pay your rent with a credit card depends on your exact situation and goals.
First, most services that allow you to pay your rent or mortgage with a credit will charge you a fee, typically a percentage of your payment. For example, Plastiq, a third-party service provider, charges 2.5% per transaction. However, you may be able to justify the extra charges if you’re trying to meet a credit card’s minimum spending requirement and qualify for a sign-up bonus. We’re talking about cards that may require spending at least a few thousand dollars within a three- or four-month period.
Considering your rent or mortgage is probably one of your biggest expenses, charging it to your credit card could help you meet the minimum spend without resorting to unnecessary purchases.
Sign-up bonuses aside, it could be a good idea to pay rent with a credit card if you’re between paychecks and the processing fee for credit card payments is lower than your landlord’s late fee. You could save some money with this method, but only if you pay off your credit card balance in full and on time. If you don’t, you may be stuck with your credit card’s high interest charges, which means you’re going to pay way more than you bargained for.
Could your credit score be affected?
It’s important to note that charging your rent or mortgage payments to your credit card may carry other consequences. For example, using credit to pay for a large sum could increase your credit utilization ratio and potentially lower your credit.
Your credit utilization ratio refers to how much credit you have available versus how much you’ve used. If you use more than 30% of your total credit, your credit score could go down.
Say, for example, you have a credit card with a $6,000 credit limit, and your rent is $1,500 a month. If you pay your rent with your credit card, you’ve used 25% of your available credit. Your credit score probably wouldn’t be affected with just that charge. But add in other purchases such as gas and restaurant meals, and your credit utilization ratio could surpass 30% quickly.
How can you pay your rent with a credit card?
If you’re apartment hunting, ask the landlord or property manager if they offer online credit card payments with no fees. Count yourself lucky if that’s the case. If your landlord or property manager doesn’t offer the option to pay your rent using a credit card, you’ll need a third-party service to do so.
The options below charge similar fees, but they may not accept all types of credit cards:
- Place: This service charges 2.99% to pay via credit card. You can split payments with roommates and set reminders for when the rent is due. The landlord or property management company will receive payment via direct deposit.
- Plastiq: You can use most major credit cards and pay a 2.5% fee. Your landlord will receive payment via check or bank transfer. Plastiq offers a referral program where you can earn points to go toward fees.
- RadPad: Pay a flat 2.99% per transaction with a credit card and your landlord or property manager will receive payment via check. You can split payment between roommates, and your payment is guaranteed to arrive on time.
- RentMoola: Use either your Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express card and pay a 2.99% fee when paying rent. You can set up recurring payments and get access to MoolaPerks, which offers exclusive deals and discounts on major retailers like Starbucks and Booking.com
One small warning: Some third-party services may process your rent payment as a cash advance. This usually results in extra fees or interest costs. Make sure your transactions are counted as purchases so you’re not caught paying more than you bargained for.
How can you pay your mortgage with a credit card?
You’ll be hard pressed to find a mortgage company that allows borrowers to pay with a credit card. On top of that, some credit card issuers may not allow you to pay your mortgage with credit. You’ll need to check the fine print to see what is and isn’t allowed.
If your credit card issuer does allow mortgage payments, your best bet may be to use third-party services like the ones mentioned above. To find out if this a possibility, contact your mortgage lender to see if you can make payments with a credit card. Otherwise, check the regulations with a third-party service. For example, Plastiq only allows mortgage payments using Mastercard or Discover cards.
Are the fees worth it?
It’s ultimately up to you to decide what fees make sense for you.
Let’s say you signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You’ll earn if you spend $4,000 within the first three months. Your rent is $1,000, and you use Plastiq to make your monthly payments.
For three rent payments, you’ll end up spending $75 in Plastiq’s fees. These payments could help you reach your minimum spend requirements, earning you the — which is equivalent to $750 worth of travel when booked through Chase’s Rewards Portal. In that scenario, the rewards you earn more than make up for the fees you paid.
But if you’re being charged fees every time you pay your rent and aren’t earning any bonuses or extra points, it’s likely not worth your time or money.
Best credit cards to pay your rent or mortgage
You’ve decided you want to earn some sweet bonuses by paying for your rent or mortgage with a credit card. How do you decide which card to pick?
First, pick a credit card that offers a significant sign-up bonus. That way, you’re getting the best bang for your buck, considering you likely have to pay fees to make rent or mortgage payments with your card.
We’ve already mentioned the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which is a great all-around card, but there are others to consider. The Capital One Venture Rewards card, for instance, offers an early spend bonus of after you spend $3,000 within the first three months.
Not much of a traveler? If you won’t get much use out of bonus miles or other travel rewards, consider a cash back card instead. For example, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card offers a $500 bonus after spending $3,000 within the first three months.
Before signing up for a new card, check that the issuer will work with the third-party service you want to use. Contact both the credit card company and the third-party service to make sure you can pay your rent or mortgage using their card. Otherwise, you’re stuck trying to find another way to make your monthly payments and a way to meet your minimum spend requirements.
Also, consider any annual fees you’re going to pay for your new credit card and if it’s worth it to earn those sign-up bonus. Estimate how much you could be paying in fees with a third-party service and compare it to the rewards you’ll be earning.