Updated November 13, 2013

How to Pay Rent with a Credit Card

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In the past, some things were considered unchargeable: rent, medical bills, taxes. But these days it's getting easier and easier to use your credit card for just about anything.

So can you charge your rent bill to your card and get cashback, travel miles, and other bonuses? The answer is, in general, yes.

However, to do so, you need to take some indirect routes, some of which you may find more convenient than just handing over cash to your landlord. Here's are your options.

Option 1: Williampaid, PayDivvy, or Rentpayment.com

Sites like Williampaid, PayDivvy, and Rentpayment.com allow you to pay your rent with a credit card just by signing up. With these services, your landlord doesn't even have to register; the companies send your landlord a check every month on a date of your choosing.

Not only will you get benefits from your card issuer every time you pay your rent, you gain the convenience of setting up automatic payments for your rent. Beware of fees, though; Williampaid charges 2.95% and PayDivvy's services costs 3.5% per transaction.

Option 2: Paypal or Square

If your landlord is tech savvy, ask if he or she uses Paypal or Square. While these peer-to-peer services have taken off with many small retail businesses, many landlords are still stuck in the 20th century. Still, it doesn't hurt to ask!

Landlords with several units might find the automation of these services convenient, and worth the fees that they'll have to pay by accepting these transactions. The benefit for you, the renter, is that Paypal and Square don't charge you to send money. Because of the convenience factor, you may be able to use your ability to pay with one of these services as a negotiating tactic when you're about to sign a new lease.

Option 3: Convenience Checks

Finally, a third option that some credit card issuers will offer is convenience checks that you can use like personal checks to pay for things. While many card issuers offer a limited number of these checks to new cardholders, some are also happy to offer more checks to existing card members - all you have to do is ask. Since these checks are as good as personal checks from the landlord's perspective, they can easily be used to pay your rent bill.

Keep in mind, credit card issuers usually consider "convenience checks" as a cash advance. That means you'll incur the higher interest rate usually associated with cash advances, and interest starts accruing on the amount used immediately. Plus, they usually charge a fee, typically 3 to 5 percent of the amount. Occasionally credit card issuers might offer a promotional deal, but even then, study the fine-print carefully.

There are a number of ways to use credit cards to pay your rent, either with a third-party solution or some creative thinking. Before you go ahead with one of these options, ask yourself if it's worth the effort and possibly extra cost of paying with a card. And be sure you'll be able to pay off what you charge - you don't want to end up paying more in interest just for the sake of convenience or rewards.

Mike Foster is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Mike Foster at mike@creditdonkey.com

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