Can I Pay Rent With a Credit Card?

Kylie Ora Lobell
Dec 15, 2021

It's the first of the month. While you’re typically very responsible when it comes to your finances, right now, you’re facing a tough time. Perhaps you lost your job, you got sick and had sky-high medical bills to pay, you’ve had to take time off work for personal reasons or you’re falling short waiting for your paycheck to arrive. Now, you’re either faced with paying your rent with a credit card or not paying at all.

You could receive a late fee from your landlord or, worst-case scenario, be at risk of getting evicted if you don't pay your rent on time. Then, a lightbulb idea hits: Can you pay rent with a credit card? Read on to find out.

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How Do I Pay Rent With A Credit Card?

Can you pay rent with a credit card? Absolutely—but there are drawbacks. The first may be that your landlord or rental company doesn't take online payments. How do you pay rent by credit card, if your landlord wants a check? Thankfully, there are different options to help you out of a jam.

Most websites and apps that allow you to make online rent payments let you use cards from the major credit card issuers including Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. 

That means, as a cardholder, you have a few choices when you want to pay rent by credit card:

Pay Online

If your rental has the option to pay online, check to see if it allows debit/credit cards. If it does, you should be able to pay with any accepted credit card.

Some online payment portals charge a fee for credit card transactions, so log in, and look into how your specific system works. Fees can range from a few cents to over $20, so it's good to be aware of your costs before you commit to paying your rent with a credit card.

Request a Cash Advance

If you need to pay your rent by check or money order, you'll need to think outside of the box when paying with credit.

One option is taking out a cash advance from your credit card issuer so you can pay rent by credit card. A credit card cash advance is a short-term loan issued from your credit card company to you, and able to be paid out in cash or transferred to your bank account.

It's meant to be paid back quickly, and you’ll need to pay a cash advance fee to acquire the money. You may have to pay a flat per-transaction fee or pay a percentage of the amount you took out.

In addition, credit card cash advances have caps, often at just a few hundred dollars. If this is enough to help you make rent, it may be a good idea to look at alternative cash advance products, or even a short-term installment loan such as a Possible Loan, to see if the fees are more favorable to your future budget.

Look at your credit card issuer’s terms and conditions to see what the cash advance fee is going to be, what repayment terms look like, and how it affects other products on your card, such as point accrual, etc.

Use Plastiq

You can also use a website like Plastiq to pay rent. Plastiq takes your credit card payment, and converts it to the payment method you need, such as a check, wire transfer, etc., and sends it to your landlord. This method can take some time, however, so this method is best used if you have a little lead time before your rent is due.

Plastiq charges a 2.85% fee based on your payment, and your landlord doesn’t need to have an account with them in order to receive your money. 

Pay on PayPal

Another option is to pay rent through PayPal, however, your landlord will need to have an account with the site, and it's even less likely to work if you're trying to pay a property management company.

PayPal charges a 2.9% transaction fee plus a fixed fee of 30 cents to do a person-to-person money transfer through a credit card.  You'll need to make sure that you pay enough that the amount covers any fees your landlord may incur transferring the money into their bank account.

Utilize RentMoola

RentMoola is a service that sets up an online payment portal for tenants to pay their landlords with different kinds of online payment methods. The downside is that it takes time to set up an account, and your landlord has to initiate the process on their end first.

Again, this is a method that takes time and is much more likely to work with a landlord rather than a property management company.

You could try RentMoola to use credit card payments for rent, but your landlord will need to give their approval. The flat fee is 2.99% to 3.99% depending on what kind of credit card you have.

The site also allows you to earn MoolaPerks, which offers hundreds of discounts on home service providers, travel, shopping, and more, so this could be a conversation to have with your landlord before you are in a bind.

Use Venmo

Venmo is one of the most popular payment services around. When using a credit card to pay rent through Venmo, you’ll have to pay a 3% processing fee, and your landlord will need to have an account with the app.  

Should You Pay Rent With A Credit Card?

Can you pay rent with a credit card? Yes.

Should you pay rent with a credit card? That depends…

Usually, it’s best not to pay rent with your credit card, since you’re going to be hit with either a cash advance fee or a processing fee based on whichever method you choose to make the payment.

Along with fees, if you have an interest-bearing credit card, you’ll also have to pay interest on your rent payment. However, it could be worth it to pay your rent with a credit card if you get more back than you spend in fees. 

What’s The Best Credit Card to Pay Rent?

If you’ve decided to pay rent by credit card, then you should use the one that will give you the most bang for your buck. You’ll need to start by choosing what you feel is the best credit card to pay rent from. 

For instance, if you recently opened up a rewards card that required you to spend a certain amount of money to earn a large sign-up bonus, then you could use this card for your rent payment. You could meet the card offer spending requirement easily and get all those rewards back to spend on things like travel and shopping. 

Point Rewards Cards

Point rewards cards give you points for every purchase on your credit card, usually either a percentage of the total value of the charge or a dollar-to-point exchange system. For example, 20% of every purchase or for every $2 spent, you get 1 point.

These point rewards can then be used in an online "reward mall", for anything from gift cards to retail goods. The only downside is that these "deals" sometimes end up being more expensive than just paying for the gift card or goods outright when you calculate what you spent to "get" them.

If you absolutely have to use your card to do something like pay rent, then getting points is nice, but it's not a good idea to pay rent with a credit card on purpose for the explicit goal of earning points.

Miles Cards

Another type of reward card is for airplane miles. These cards, when used correctly, can help make air travel cheaper. If you're planning to take a trip where the airfare will be significant, such as an international or transcontinental flight, paying your rent with an air mileage rewards card could be a savvy way to save in the future.

There are drawbacks, however, depending on the type of card you have. Some have blackout dates, only use a specific airline, or limit where you can travel. Be very aware of the fine print on your card, and double-check that your plans are within the card's limitations.

Saving up miles for a trip to Europe to find you can only use your miles domestically is not a good feeling.

Cash Back Rewards Cards

Additionally, if you have a cashback card, you could use it to pay for your rent and earn valuable cashback. 

Be sure to look into the terms of your card, and ensure that something like rent is included in the cashback reward program and that what you'll get back is worth the interest or any fees associated with paying your rent via credit card.

Finally, if you have a 0% interest credit card because you’re in an introductory period—and you can earn rewards on it—that’s going to be your best bet if you need to use your card to pay rent. Then, you won’t have to pay any interest and you’ll still reap the benefits of the card. 

Alternatives to Paying Rent By Credit Card

If the above information has you second-guessing paying your rent by credit card, we have you covered. There are many ways to get fast cash that don't involve your credit card.

A Loan From Possible Finance

If you need $500 or less to make rent, an installment loan from Possible Finance could be a great option, even if you have bad credit, since we don’t require a credit check.

You can pay back the loan in installments over multiple months if you need to, and Possible loans have lower fees than traditional payday loans. We also report your on-time payments to the credit bureaus, which can help you build credit. 

Payday Advance

If you need $200 or less, a payday advance could be the right solution. There are many online options, and getting the cash into your account is generally quick and easy.

The downside is that those advances are often taken out the moment your paycheck hits your account, without any alternatives to paying the money back. So if your money issues are something long-term, this option may not work.

Short term and personal loans

You could also take out a short-term loan or a personal loan from a lender such as a bank or credit union, though you may need to pay high-interest charges.

Paying your loan back in its entirety before the due date could save you tons of money in interest, especially if your cash flow issues are due to a temporary lack of cash, such as emergency car repairs, or a gap in income between jobs. If your lender charges a fee for paying your loan back early, then it’s best to look into another option.

If your bank or credit union has an emergency loan feature, you may be able to get a very short-term loan with reasonable interest and fees. Explore the options, and you may be pleasantly surprised that they have a program to help.

Ask for help

If you have a good relationship with your landlord, you could ask them if it’s OK if you pay your rent late because you’re having financial difficulties. They may understand and won’t charge you a fee. In addition, many property management companies have options for renters that can be used a specific amount of times a year, or have a grace period you can use to acquire extra funds.

If you have family or friends who are willing to chip in, you could ask them if they’d help, either directly or through a donation platform such as GoFundMe. Another option is to look into programs in your city that offer emergency rental help. Many places have a one-time rent alleviation fund people can use for situations just like yours, and it never hurts to look into your options.

How to Pay Your Landlord

We can't stress this enough: keep in mind all the possible extra fees your credit card company could charge you before determining which card to utilize. 

Once you choose which card you’re going to use, select the platform for making your payment. If your landlord needs an account, ask them if they have one on that site or app. Let your landlord know how they’re going to receive the payment. 

After making the payment, when your bill comes in, try to pay it off in full. Otherwise, you’re likely going to be charged interest. If you carry a credit card balance from month to month, your debt is only going to grow because of this interest. Then, your credit utilization ratio—or the amount of debt you have compared to your credit limit—is going to go up, affecting your credit score. 

Your credit utilization rate is one of the most important factors that determine your FICO score, and you should always try to keep it at 30% or less. You can check your credit report with one of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion, to see where you stand with your ratio and your credit score in general. 

If the tight spot you're in is going to last longer than a month, and your credit card is all you have to pay rent, try to work it into a debt repayment plan for the future. The more aware you are of the impact of your debt, the better able you'll be to pay it down and eliminate it completely.

A plan can also help things feel less overwhelming. Having to worry about making rent is stressful!

Making Your Choice 

Credit card debt is something that can easily get out of your control. That’s why it’s always better, if possible, to pay your rent by check, debit card, or some other form of payment that won’t carry any fees, penalties, or interest.

But if you have to pay with a credit card, at least make sure you’re getting something back in return. Then, you’re making the best out of a sticky situation and contributing to the improvement of your personal finances.

Kylie Ora Lobell

Kylie Ora Lobell is a personal finance writer with over 10 years of experience working with publications like MoneyGeek, Slickdeals, LegalZoom, OppLoans, SoFi and TaxAct. She has also been published in New York Magazine and the Los Angeles Times.

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