Is your landlord stuck in the past and insisting on getting paid rent with cash or checks?
It can be a genuine hassle dealing with someone who prefers old and less efficient forms of payment, but there are ways you can persuade your landlord to accept electronic payment, such as through debit cards, instead of cash or physical checks.
In this article, I am going to cover whether you can pay your rent with a debit card and discuss some of the key options for doing so.
But the short answer to the question is as follows:
You can pay rent using a debit card using a variety of methods, including rental payment platforms, peer to peer payment apps, and direct deposit via ACH.
We’re going to cover each of these options in more detail, so let’s get into it.
Can You Pay Your Rent With a Debit Card?
As we discussed, there are multiple ways you can pay your rent using your debit card and many of them are free and convenient, however, there is a one big caveat:
You will need your landlord’s agreement to do this.
That’s because for most of these options, you will need your landlord to either (i) provide you with relevant information (such as their checking account information) or (ii) be on the applicable cash transfer platform or app.
How Can I Convince My Landlord To Switch?
While it totally makes sense for them to make the switch, some landlords may need convincing. Here are some of the benefits (from a landlord’s perspective) you can share with them to help them get over the line.
- No more excuses – “the check is in the mail” has been such a common excuse that it is now a cliche. But that can now be a thing of the past. For many of the debit card payment options, payment (or at least notice that payment has been initiated) is almost immediate, so the landlord has comfort that payment is truly on its way (or there already).
- Faster payment – as just mentioned, many platforms offer lightning quick payment, which is always a good thing
- No Cost – most payment options are free to the landlord, so it does not impact their bottom line.
- Recordkeeping Is Easy – most platforms keep a clear record of payments, so all your landlord needs to do is pull those records come tax time.
- No Receipts Needed – when dealing in cash, landlords often provide receipts to tenants – with electronic payments via debit card, that’s no longer necessary.
- (Predictability) Payment Can Be Automated – many platforms allow you to automatically pay your rent on a set date each month, so you don’t forget. That is good news for your landlord.
- Makes Tenants Happy – adopting another convenient payment option makes tenants happy. There are going to be more and more tenants asking for this, so they will likely be accepting debit card payments at some point. Might as well make it now.
Online Payment Methods
Unlike grocery stores or retailers, most landlords don’t have a machine that can process debit card transactions.
So the simplest way to pay rent with your debit card is through an online portal or platform.
Here are two major online payment methods we can take a look at:
- ACH Electronic Transfer
- Rent Collection apps
- Peer-to-peer payment method
These payment options utilize your bank account so it’s possible for you to pay your rent through debit cards.
Now, let’s see how each works.
Rent Collection Platforms
Rent collection platforms are a great way for your to use debit card to make rent payments. I use apartments.com, which is free to both tenants and landlords and offers a variety of payment options, including the ability to set up automatic payments.
As a general matter, these platforms collect money through debit or credit cards, and other bank transfer methods.
You simply need to create your account, have your landlord set up their account and the money transfers like clockwork between your two accounts.
This option is probably the best from a landlord’s perspective because they can adopt it for all of their tenants and have their entire rental payment operation running on a single platform.
Peer-To-Peer Payment Method
Peer-to-peer payment apps have exploded in popularity over the past several years and are now part of the payment culture for most people.
These include apps like PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
Note that while some offer free cash transfers, others do charge a modest fee.
ACH Electronic Transfers
ACH, or Automated Clearing House Network, is the electronic network responsible for moving your money from one bank account to another.
You can access this network by initiating an ACH transfer request. To do so, you simply need the landlord’s checking account information. You can often access the ACH network through your online banking or through a third party platform.
Disadvantages of Paying Rent With a Debit Card
Although paying with your debit card seems like the best payment option, there are a few things to keep in mind too.
Insufficient Account Balance
If you are operating on automatic payment with a rent collection platform, you need to make sure your bank account has enough money in it when the time comes.
Otherwise, late fees (from your landlord) and overdraft fees (from your bank) may be charged.
Third-Party Service Fees
As mentioned, some of these payment services change a fee. Avoid those if you can – no one like paying more than they need to.
So, can you pay rent with a debit card?
The answer is yes!
As long as your landlord cooperates with you to set up the payment arrangement (or gives you enough information for you to make payment to them), paying with your debit card is a breeze.