The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

7 Tips to Pay Your Rent or Mortgage with Credit Cards

Pay Your Rent Or Mortgage With Credit Cards

credit card advice

Ray FitzGerald

Written by: Ray FitzGerald

Ray FitzGerald

Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian is a Content Editor who brings her journalism experience in business and consumer finance to ensure CardRates news articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. Her primary goal is to assure editorial content meets the highest level of quality and precision.

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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 — 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. Weigh the pros and cons and decide whether this approach is a good fit for you.

1. Confirm Your Landlord/Bank Accepts Credit Cards

Your landlord or bank is the first impediment to paying your rent or mortgage with your credit cards. Individual landlords are unlikely to accept credit card payments. Either they don’t possess the ability to do so, or they can’t stomach the credit card processing fees charged to merchants. Even larger rental organizations, such as 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.

Finding a bank or mortgage lender that directly accepts credit card payments is also challenging. 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 prohibit using their cards for mortgage payments. 

Moreover, some entire credit card networks won’t process mortgage payments 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.

All fees aside, banks and credit card companies are largely against processing mortgage payments via credit card because cardholders essentially pay a debt by creating more debt. Mortgage loans are a form of debt — and so are credit cards. Paying off one using the other is just moving debt around. 

On the plus side, rent isn’t generally regarded as a debt. Therefore, most card issuers and networks allow rental payments by credit cards.

2. Watch Out for Costly Third-Party Fees

Although most landlords and banks won’t (or can’t) accept credit cards, several third-party companies 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 the company sends the payment as an ACH payment or paper check to the party you designate. Unfortunately, these companies charge pretty stiff fees for the service, up to an average of 3%.

The high fees associated with third-party rent or mortgage payments can easily override any potential rewards you might earn for the purchase with your credit card. And 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% cashback card. A third-party company charges you a 2.5% fee for the payment. And 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 acquire a new one for the occasion).

If you play the points game, you might go for your favorite points card, but the per-point value will vary drastically depending on how you redeem. A cashback card is more straightforward, offering attractive rewards rates for one or more bonus categories, depending on the card you choose. 

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • 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.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% - 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% Intro APR Period 18 months on Balance Transfers
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

Chase Freedom Flex℠ Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.24% - 23.99%.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
15.24% - 23.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

4. Weigh the Signup Bonus Against The Transaction Fees

As a savvy credit card user, you also might want to pay your rent or mortgage with a credit card to meet the spending requirement for a juicy signup bonus. Some cards require a minimum $3,000 spending 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. In this scenario, the associated fees are outweighed by the long-term reward.

The cards below routinely offer inticing signup bonuses. Check current offer details to determine whether the card meets your spending and credit-building requirements.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • 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.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 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
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.24% - 24.24% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

As one might expect of an elite card with a somewhat exclusive cardholder approval process, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® historically offers high-value signup bonuses to attract new customers. But remember: The higher the signup bonus, the higher the spending requirements, typically. 

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

Similar to its sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also regularly features high-value signup bonuses.  If you can meet the spending requirement in the specified timeframe, however, the rewards will likely outweight the cost of any transaction fees.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • 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 a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 24.24% (Variable)
$95
Excellent, Good

The minimum spending requirement for some cards may be more accessible than others. We urge readers to compare popular card offers, heeding the advice of finance experts, and pull the trigger on a card that makes the most sense for your personal situation. The top-dollar signup bonus may not be the best deal long-term.

5. Prepare for Payments To Be Coded 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, but 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

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $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 Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 21.24% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card Card is a popular choice of many businesses. Transferable to a number of travel partners, points earned with this card can be particularly lucrative for frequent travelers.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • 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 purchases
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring.
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • No Annual Fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
13.49% - 19.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is consistently ranked among the top cashback cards for businesses. Cardholders earn bonus rewards in a range of useful categories, maximizing your credit card usage.

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

Finally, the Capital One Spark Cash for Business is our recommendation for those seeking a no-frills business rewards credit card. When in doubt, stick with simple.

7. Be Patient: Payments May Take a While to Arrive

When you have to wait for money to change hands more than once, say goodbye to day-before deposits or last-minute payments 

“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 late fees.

Convenience vs. Cost: Is It Worth It?

Although it’s one of the big four — along with air, water, and food — shelter is often the most expensive human need. 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. Stick to old-fashioned checks to pay your rent or mortgage.

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