RentalRewards - Paying for Rent via Credit Card

RentalRewards - Paying for Rent via Credit Card

RentalRewards - Paying for Rent via Credit Card

Summary/TL;DR

RentalRewards is a company that allows you to pay for your rent on Credit Card with a catch - they charge you surcharges, fees, and membership fees.

Is it worth it? If you've got the right card, yes. The right card (for me) just so happens to be my favourite Credit Card, the American Express Explorer, so yes it is absolutely worth it for me!

In the post below, I have broken down the points you'd be expected to earn at $500/week and I also share tips to maximise points and minimise fees. Read on for more detail!


RentalRewards - Paying for Rent via Credit Card

In line with the whole "put all your expenditure on a Credit Card", being able to put your rental expenses on a Credit Card would be absolutely incredible... and guess what? It's actually possible.

There aren't many real estate agents that accept Credit Card payments for rent, and that's where RentalRewards come in. I've been using their service for over a year.

RentalRewards act as a middleman between you and your real estate agent, accepting rental payments with Credit Cards on your behalf and forwarding these funds to your real estate agent. They're also affiliated with Qantas (RentalRewards/Qantas).

They apparently also have some sort of rewards club/section (according to this word document), but I have never seen any other mention of it.

Firstly, some pre-requisites and tips.

  • You must be renting via a registered real estate agent. Use this link to find out if your real estate agent is registered.
    • This means it can't be a "cash only" situation where you're paying for a room from a mate
  • It is highly recommended you have a high points earning Credit Card (such as the AMEX Explorer) for this
  • This allows you to not only earn points on your rental payments, but also maximise interest free days

Fees

Their charges are not clearly set out anywhere on their website. The closest I could find was in this word document (this will download a word document), and even then it does not spell it out quite as clearly as below.

These figures that I am sharing are from an official email response I received from them.


  1. Amex 1.10% + $2 for payment below $500
  2. Amex 1.10% + $12 for payment below $3000
  3. Amex 1.76% for payment above $3000

  4. Visa/MasterCard 1.10% + $2 for payment below $3000

  5. Visa/MasterCard 1.76% for payment above $3000

  6. Bank - One-time setup fee of $1.51

  7. BPAY - $1

  8. Quarterly Membership Fee - $15 - charged on the first day of December/March/June/September. Pro-rata for the quarter at the end of your joining month.

  9. Failed Payment Fee - $15

The list of fees above actually don't quite conclusively highlight what the optimal way to structure these payments is.. but I'll help you with that. At the end of the day, you just need to do the maths to determine whether or not the surcharges are worth it for you.

Example - AMEX Explorer Credit Card, Weekly Rent: $500/wk

Let's pretend I have an American Explorer Credit Card and my weekly rent is $500.

If I pay $500 exactly through RentalRewards every week, I'll be paying $500 + 1.1% surcharge + $12. This is because the wording is "below $500", so as soon as the amount is $500 or higher, I get put in the next bracket.

How can we get around this?

Ok, the fee is consistent for any payment you make from $500-$2999.99.

My recommendation: Pay $2999.99, cop the 1.1% surcharge and pay the $12 payment fee.

You'll effectively be paying for 6 weeks of rent in advance ($500 * 6) instead of paying it week by week, but this allows you to optimise the fees you're charged.

There's generally no reason a real estate agent or landlord would refuse to accept rental payments so far in advance. In addition, I would imgaine most real estate agents have systems in place that automatically calculate how much the rent you've paid actually "buys" you.

Total cost? $3044.99 ($2999.99 + $33 surcharge @ 1.1% + $12 flat fee). Paying $3000 (or more) will cost you $3052.80 - an extra $7.80 for paying an additional $0.01 - hardly worth it! Let's not forget the $15/quarter fee (or $60/yr) Total points earnt? 6090 AMEX Explorer Points = equivalent to 4567 points in the majority of the Frequent Flyer programs. This equates to 39580 points per year, which is 420 points short of a SYD-LAX/SYD-SFO one-way ticket in Economy Class on Qantas/American Airlines through Asia Miles.

Don't forget the $15/quarter membership fee, or $60/yr, which will net you another 120 points. You're now 300 points short of that SYD-LAX/SYD-SFO ticket!

Let me break this down another way...

$500/wk rent, or $26000/yr A rental payment of $3000 (2999.99 to be exact, as above) will "cost" you $45 in fees. 8.666 lots of $3000 rental payments will cover your yearly rent. $60/yr is the amount you'll have to pay in membership fees. Given each $3000 rental payment nets you 6090 points or 52880 points per year, you'll end up with 53000 points per year after factoring in the membership fees. $45 * 8.6666 = $390 - this is the total of your fees for each $3000 payment. $390 + $60 (annual membership fee) = $450 per membership year that you're paying for 53000 in points.

Is it worth it..? I'll let you do the maths. I haven't factored in:

  • Cashflow benefits (in the form of interest free days - money can sit in your account for longer to either earn you interest, or offset a mortgage)
  • 1000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points for your first payment and ongoing per membership year. It is (mentioned here), here, and here
  • Missed payments/late fees/other charges

Keep in mind:

  • There's no real reason to use a bank account to pay for your rent. There is no bank account that earns you any points of any significance to be worth even a $1.51 one-time set up fee
    • There is supposedly 250 Qantas points to be earned for the first time you sign up and pay with a bank account and 250 Qantas points for each subsequent year. I guess 250 Qantas points for $1.51 is not bad - it's just not a substantial amount.
  • The BPay option may be useful, but I haven't figured out how to use it. If it's actually $1/payment, there might actually be value in it!
  • BPay is not available for American Express cards
  • You need to really find the right Credit Card that would make this worthwhile. If it weren't for the American Express Explorer, I would absolutely not be using RentalRewards to pay for my rent as the fees would not be worth it.

Paying for your rent on Credit Card. Who would've thought?!

To be completely honest, their fees aren't cheap. They're a business after all; but if you've got a card that gives you such a strong earn rate per dollar spent, then it might just be worth it!

The American Express Explorer Credit Card

The American Express Explorer Credit Card

Using Incognito Mode as an "Extra Browser"

Using Incognito Mode as an "Extra Browser"