Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rent is Due – Grab the… Credit Card?

Consumers can pretty much rely on using a credit card for anything they want or need to buy. Credit cards are now accepted at most stores, gas stations, online vendors, and so many more places we visit in our daily lives that we consumers are often only surprised when a place does not accept our plastic.

However, there are still some solid examples of instances where you can not use a credit card. One prime example is when paying rent. For many who pay a monthly rent to a landlord or property owner, it may be the one time a month consumers actually write out a personal check. Consumers have no doubt become accustomed to the convenience of paying bills online and even automatically. Up until recently, landlords and property management companies were almost always paid by check, cash, or money order but now it seems that more and more consumers are getting the option to pay their monthly rent and fees by credit card. Property managers are realizing the effectiveness of offer such options to tenants who have grown used to online credit transactions and it seems it is becoming a more popular way for landlords to conduct business.

Property managers and landlords have access to more software and technology that has been created specifically for their industry so accepting credit cards seems to get less complicated. There are also several third-party vendors on the market who provide contract services to landlords. These vendors are contracted to accept credit card payments from tenants and in many cases, the transactions can be done over the internet. Many more tenants are also enjoying the option and flexibility of paying their rent conveniently with a credit card, especially tenant who can make their monthly payments online.

As convenient and great as this all sounds, the reality is that many consumers should not travel this route. With the increasing costs of rental fees, just one month’s worth of rent can put many consumers in danger of going over their credit limits fairly quickly. While having the option to pay rent with plastic may be a lifesaver in times of emergencies, it should not be considered a way of making ends meet. Essentially what drives people into deep debt is making purchases on a credit card you know you can not afford to pay off at the end of each month. Going over your credit card’s limit will also add the possibility of incurring over the limit fees, increased interest rates, and other penalty charges.

While it may be good for a select few to have the ability to pay rent with credit, most consumers should just chalk it up to a valuable piece of information should they need it and just keep on using the old check book to pay for living expenses.

Tisha Kulak is a writer for, where she writes about offers, finances, credit cards, and responsible credit card use.


Zombie Money said...

I only write checks now for Rent and also to my electric company.

Chris said...

I hate checks. I hate them so much that I opened an Electric Orange account. With my previous bank, I was a victim of check fraud twice in the same year. The second time it happened, we had just ordered new checks and hadn't even used them yet.