Can You Use a Credit Card to Pay Your Rent?By Caitlin in Money
For most people rent is one of, if not the most important bill that needs to be paid each month. If you don’t own a house or condo then you probably pay to rent your home and the monthly payment process may sometimes seem a little bit tedious. But the good news is that as payment technology grows and evolves there are new ways for landlords to receive payment from their renters.
Cheques and cash are the most common ways to pay for rent but in recent years landlords have been able to start accepting electronic payments. This is a great option because electronic payments are often automatic which means that you don’t have to remember to drop off your rent on the first of each month. Electronic payments typically happen through a fund transfer between your bank account and the bank account of your landlord, but what about paying for your rent with a credit card? This is an option but it’s important to understand all the pros and cons before you decide to use your credit card to pay your rent.
Hidden Fees or Extra Costs
If your landlord or building’s management does in fact accept credit card payment for your rent then there will most likely be at least some kind of fee. It’s important that you ask about the type and amount of fees before you choose to use your credit card. There is also the possibility that your building’s management uses a third party system to accept credit card payments, in this situation the fees might be even higher.
All credit card transactions, whether in a store, restaurant or for your rent have a processing fee. You might have known this as the business typically covers the cost of the transaction fee. But since paying rent with a credit card is a relatively new option your landlord or building’s management might not cover the fee, which means you will have to. Essentially this all means your rent might end up being higher than you originally thought because of the processing and service fees associated with credit card transactions. Depending on the size of these fees the convenience of paying your rent with a credit card might not be worth it.
Consider Your Credit Card’s Reward System
One potential benefit to paying your rent with a credit card is earning a significant amount of reward points, if your credit card as a reward point system. Because rent is typically a large sum of money charging it to your credit card could be a type of investment for you. It’s possible for you to earn cash back from your credit card company and essentially lower your monthly rent cost. Or if your reward system gives you points that you can then use to buy specific items, you could then buy gifts and save your own cash for other expenses.
While this is in theory a great benefit it’s important that you figure out if the rewards you’ll earn outweigh the fees that will be associated with charging your rent to your credit card.
Do You Need Help Building a Credit Score?
If you’re struggling to build a credit score from the ground up then charging your rent to your credit card might be a good option for you. But, if you can’t afford to pay your rent with cash or a cheque then charging it to your credit card will have the opposite affect you’re looking for and could potentially hurt your credit score for years to come. Furthermore, you need to consider the fees when making your decision. If you’re desperate to improve your credit score then paying the fees might be worth it. On the other hand if you’re only looking to improve an already good credit score, paying the fees probably isn’t worth it for you.
You’ll Need to Pay Your Bill in Full
Once you’ve decided that the convenience and possible reward benefits outweigh the fees you’ll have to pay, you’ll then have to plan on paying your credit card bill in full and on time every single month. Aside from understanding any extra costs this is the most important thing you’ll do, maxing out your credit card and spending even more money on interest is not what you want to do. Yes, rent is probably one of the more important bills you pay each month but do you really want to be paying for it years down the line simply because you didn’t pay your credit card bill in full? If you can’t afford to pay off your credit card each month then you definitely shouldn’t being putting your rent on it. And if you can’t afford to pay for your rent with cash then you’re probably living above your means and should look into finding some place less expensive.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is yes you could potentially use your credit card to pay your rent, but whether or not you actually should takes a little more thought. If you landlord or property’s management have the ability to take credit card payments then the convenience might be exactly what you’re looking for. But you’ll have to make sure that the fees not outweigh the convenience. Everyone’s situation is different and therefore you’ll need to make your own decision, just make sure you take into account the above pros and cons and you should be able to make the best choice for yourself.