The Pros and Cons of Different Rent Payment Methods

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As a renter, you are paying a monthly fee to your landlord in exchange for a place to call home. Though this fee is generally non-negotiable, unless your landlord is mom or dad, your method of payment can be. If you are like most renters, your landlord or lease agreement has specified your method of payment for your monthly rent. But if that is not the case, know that you have a wide array of payment options for your rent collection.

To know which option is best suited for you, here are a few of the best and most commonly used methods tenants use to pay their rent.

Cash

It’s the fastest and most straightforward mode of payment. Generally, when paying in cash, the process only involves two steps: giving the landlord the money and receiving a receipt as proof of payment. That’s why it is still the favored method of payment of most landlords.

Payment can be done in one of two ways:

  1. The landlord can stop by your apartment at a scheduled time once a month to collect the rent.
  2. You can deliver the cash directly to the landlord or collection agency’s office.

Unfortunately, meeting up with your landlord every month to pay rent may not be convenient or desired if you have an unpredictable schedule or don’t enjoy unnecessary social interactions (you’re not alone).

Now, dealing with cash comes with its own set of perks and drawbacks. Some of them include:

Pros:

  • It’s a simple and direct transaction.

Cons:

  • It’s time-consuming if you have to travel to get to your landlord. It’s also less secure when moving around with large amounts of money. Plus, without a receipt, the landlord can claim they didn’t receive the payment or the amount you gave was less.

Credit Cards

Credit Card Payment

Credit card companies understand our desire to minimize time-consuming shopping trips and even reward our compulsive online spending habits with loyalty programs to encourage the use of their cards with varying rewards. Under such conditions, it’s no surprise to see some renters using their credit cards to make rental payments as well. Though you might enjoy the convenient perks of this method of payment, know that your landlord may not appreciate this process because they’ll be forced to pay a transaction fee.

A landlord will have two options in this case:

  1. To accept to pay for the transaction fee as a price for its convenience.
  2. To pass the extra expense down to the tenant.

If you have or choose this rent payment option, make sure to discuss whether this fee will fall on you or not before you make your final decision.

Pros:

  • Just like cash, a credit card transaction is easy and direct.
  • You get to accrue loyalty points that can be redeemed after some time.
  • It reduces the chances of repudiation.

Cons:

  • It introduces a potential extra expense.
  • Not every landlord is comfortable handling these kinds of transactions.
  • Conflict resolution on these transactions can take time.

Checks (Personal, Cashier’s)

Rent Payment by Check

Fortunately, if cash or credit card payments don’t sit well with you, you can opt for old fashioned checks. Check payments are a very convenient option because all you need to do is mail them to your landlord. They also provide full proof of payment once they are cashed in. The best part of this process is that no one can repudiate the receipt of a check payment. And if the landlord loses the check, all you have to do is to contact the bank to cancel it and write a new one.

Pros:

  • Minimizes the chance of repudiation.
  • Provides proof of payment.
  • Lower risk of disputes.

Cons:

  • The availability of the funds is unknown unless it’s a certified or cashier’s check. A fact that discourages landlord’s from accepting these kinds of payments.
  • Buying stamps.

Electronic Deposits

Online banking is another convenient way to pay rent. All it takes is an arrangement with your bank to send rent payments directly to your landlord’s account. The arrangement is designed to be a monthly automatic payment, with a specified amount of cash to be transferred. What’s more, both you and your landlord can check the transaction online at any time to confirm that the payment has been made. The transaction details act as an electronic receipt for future reference.

Pros:

  • The process is automated and well recorded.
  • You don’t have to disrupt your schedule to pay your rent.
  • There’s proof of payment even if the landlord doesn’t provide a receipt.
  • Payments are made on time.

Cons:

  • Failure to update your details with the bank after a relocation may lead to payments being made to your previous landlord.

Other Forms of Rent Payment Options

There are a few more payment options including:

With all these options, it will be easy for you to work out a suitable payment plan with your landlord. Everyone is different, and hopefully this article put you on the right track to find the method of payment that is best suited for your needs.

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Mihaela Buzec is a senior writer and online content developer for RentCafe. She covers topics about everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money saving advice, and more. She dives deep into topics of interest, writing well-researched comprehensive guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed and live smart.

Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature, an MA in Current Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in neurolinguistics.

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