The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Saturday, November 28, 2020

7 Tips to Pay Your Rent or Mortgage with Credit Cards

Pay Your Rent Or Mortgage With Credit Cards

credit card advice

Ray FitzGerald
By: Ray FitzGerald
Updated: February 14, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Upon entering the real world for the first time, one of the most shocking things to many young people is often the exorbitant cost of housing.

Whether you rent or pay a mortgage, you’re looking at an average of at least $800 a month in many areas — and that’s assuming you don’t live in an expensive city.

With so much of our monthly wages going toward that roof over our heads, it seems a shame to miss out on potential credit card rewards. But paying your rent or mortgage with a credit card isn’t always straightforward. Read on for some important considerations and tips on how to pay your rent or mortgage with credit cards, then you can weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself if this approach is a good fit for you.

1. Check to Ensure Your Landlord/Bank Accepts Credit Cards

The first impediment to paying your rent or mortgage with your credit cards is your landlord or bank. Individual landlords are unlikely to accept credit card payments, often because they lack the ability to do so — but also because of the credit card processing fees merchants are charged.

Even larger rental organizations, like apartment complexes, are often unlikely to want to lose as much as 3.5% of their rent to a credit card company just for the privilege of having the payment processed.

Chart Showing Average Credit Card Processing Fees

Finding a bank or mortgage lender that directly accepts credit card payments is also a challenge. For example, mortgages from Chase cannot be paid directly by credit card; the bank only allows payments from a Chase account, transfers from other banks, checks, or money orders.

Even if your bank or landlord does accept credit cards, some credit card issuers don’t allow mortgage payments to be made with their cards. Bank of America, for instance, reportedly doesn’t allow you to charge mortgage payments with a BankAmericard.

Moreover, some entire credit card networks won’t allow credit card mortgage payments to be processed through their networks. Visa and American Express both reportedly prohibit mortgage payments made by credit card from being processed on their networks, though debit and prepaid card payments are allowed.

Visa and American Express both reportedly prohibit mortgage payments made by credit card from being processed on their networks.

Besides fees, one of the biggest beefs banks and credit card companies have with cardholders trying to make mortgage payments is the idea that those customers are essentially paying a debt with more debt.

Mortgage loans are a form of debt — and so are credit cards. Paying one with the other is really just moving debt around in many ways.

On the plus side, this does mean that most rental payments are considered in a different light. Rent isn’t generally regarded as a debt, particularly because it’s usually paid ahead of time. Therefore, most card issuers and networks allow rental payments to be made with their credit cards.

2. Watch Out for Costly Third-Party Fees

Although most landlords and banks won’t (or simply can’t) accept credit cards, there are a number of third-party companies that will allow you to use a credit card to make rent or mortgage payments.

Essentially, you pay the company with the method of your choice, and then the company sends the payment as an ACH payment or paper check to the party you designate.

The downside to these companies is that they all charge pretty stiff fees for the service, up to 3% on average.

Chart of Third-Party Rent/Mortgage Payment Processors

Because the fees are so high for third-party rent or mortgage payments, it can easily override any potential rewards you might earn with your credit card for the purchase. This is especially true given that few — if any — credit cards will offer bonus rewards for rent, mortgage, or online payments.

Think of it this way: you pay your mortgage with your favorite 2% cash back card. The third-party company you use charges you a 2.5% fee for the payment. When all is said and done, you’re in the red by 0.5%.

3. Use a High-Earning Credit Card for the Most Value

The best way to counteract the high fees for paying your rent or mortgage with a credit card is to use the highest-earning card you have in your wallet (or add to your wallet for the occasion).

If you play the points game, this may mean your favorite points card, but per-point value will vary drastically depending on how you redeem.

A simpler option is a cash back card that offers a high unlimited rewards rate or one with a bonus category of which you can take advantage.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice! Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance Transfers do not earn cash back and will have a fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • 24/7 access to customer service representatives
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
13.99% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

The Citi Double Cash Card has a unique cash back program that offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases — just not all at once. You’ll earn 1% cash back when you make your purchase, then another 1% cash back when you pay your balance.

Chase Freedom FlexSM Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
N/A
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

While the Chase Freedom FlexSM only offers 1% cash back for non-category purchases, it does sometimes offer certain digital payment methods, like Apple Pay and Paypal, as a bonus category, which means you can earn up to 5% cash back if you make rent payments using your card and a qualifying payment service.

4. A Big Signup Bonus May Be Worth the Fees

Beyond purchase rewards, another reason you may want to use a credit card to pay your rent or mortgage despite the fees is to meet the spending requirement for a high-value signup bonus. Some cards require you spend $3,000 or more in a 90-day period, which can be tough if you don’t have many expenses.

Since housing payments typically make up at least a third of the budgets of most consumers, making those payments with your card can take you a long way to the spending requirement.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

As one might expect of an elite card with a robust $550 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has an equally robust signup bonus — and a high spending requirement to match. On the plus side, the Ultimate Rewards® points you earn for every dollar can be worth enough to balance out most (if not all) of the transaction fees.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

Similar to its sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a big signup bonus — with a big spending requirement. If you can meet the requirement in the first 90 days, however, you’ll be rewarded with hundreds of dollars worth of Ultimate Rewards® points.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

While the minimum spending requirement for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is lower than some of its peers, it can still be a stretch for those who don’t regularly charge much without adding rent or mortgage payments to the mix. With an unlimited 2X miles per dollar, you can even make up for some of the fees.

5. Some Issuers May Code the Payments As Cash Advances

Unfortunately, the third-party processor that handles your credit card payment may not be the only source of fees when it comes to paying your rent or mortgage.

In some cases, your credit card issuer may interpret your payment as a form of cash advance. Not only does this mean big cash advance fees, it also means your payment will start accruing interest right away — often at a higher rate than normal purchases.

Using those handy convenience checks often provided by your credit card company is the surest way to incur big cash advance fees. Although it seems like an everyday check, convenience checks are always treated as cash advances by credit card companies.

6. Business-Related Rents/Mortgages May Also Qualify

One of the largest chunks of a business’s overhead is often office space, be it leased space or a building owned by the business. Happily, business owners can often use the same third-party platforms to pay their business’s rent or mortgage with their favorite business credit card.

Of course, keep in mind that the same potential limitations apply to business rent or mortgage payments as for consumer payments, including only being able to use certain payment methods for some types of payments.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99%-20.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card Card is a popular choice of many businesses thanks to the versatile, valuable Ultimate Rewards® points earned on every purchase. Transferable to a number of travel partners, these points can be particularly lucrative for frequent travelers.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card doesn’t have any points to transfer or maximize, instead offering cash back on every purchase. Cardholders earn bonus rewards in a range of useful categories on top of its unlimited 1% cash back for all non-bonus spending.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

This card is currently not available.

Best Overall Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business may be a good option for those who like simple rewards, with 2% cash back on every purchase and no bonus categories of which to keep track. There are no limits on the rewards you can earn.

7. Payments May Take a While to Arrive

Fees aren’t the only downside to paying your rent or mortgage through a third-party service, especially one that sends a paper check. That’s because you can say goodbye to day-before deposits or last-minute payments when you have to wait for money to change hands more than once.

If you select a recipient in our system, they will be funded by ACH/EFT (electronic bank transfer) in 2-3 business days. If your recipient is manually added, they will be funded by check in 5-7 business days. — Plastiq

With some services, the payment can be processed and delivered in just a few days. In other cases, you’re looking at a week or more before your payment reaches its final destination. So, if your rent or mortgage is due on the first of the month, you’d better start the ball rolling ASAP to avoid paying late.

Only You Can Decide If the Convenience is Worth the Cost

Although it’s one of the big four — along with air, water, and food — shelter is often the most expensive need on the list. And paying that big housing bill is even more frustrating for credit card rewards enthusiasts who see thousands in rewards going unearned each year.

But while you can find ways to pay your rent or mortgage with a credit card, even one that earns rewards, it isn’t always the most worthwhile procedure.

Unless you have a card with points that you value above the amount of the processing fee or are working toward a big signup bonus, you may want to skip the plastic and stick to old-fashioned checks to pay your rent or mortgage.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.