How to pay rent with a credit card in Australia
There are some ways to pay rent with a credit card, but the potential costs may not be worth it. Here's what you need to know.
Most real estate agents and landlords in Australia give you a few ways to pay rent, with some of the most common including electronic fund transfers (EFT) from your bank account, direct debits, BPAY or even cash.
It's less common to have credit cards as a payment method, but there are a few platforms that give you this option.
When can I use a credit card to pay rent?
A few third-party companies allow you to pay rent with your credit card. Some services have partnerships with real estate agencies, individual agents or landlords, while others are independent payment platforms (similar to PayPal).
Usually, you’ll pay a surcharge or fee for each card transaction. There may also be other costs, so it's worth checking the details before you pay rent through one of these platforms.
Citi PayAll gives you a way to pay your rent and other bills with a Citi credit card. It also earns points, with Citi Rewards credit cards earning 1 point per $1 spent uncapped and Citi Qantas Rewards and Emirates Skywards cards earning 0.5 points per $1.
To set up Citi PayAll for your rent, you'll need your rental agent or landlord's BSB and Australian bank account number. Then, go to the Citi mobile app, click on "Payments & Transfers", then "Citi PayAll" and follow the prompts. You can also choose between making a one-off payment or setting up a recurring payment.
How much does it cost?
There is a fee of 0.95% for each Citi PayAll transaction you make.
Note that Citi PayAll payments will be charged interest at the purchase rate when applicable (for example, if you're not eligible for interest-free days).
Powered by Macquarie Bank, DEFT lets you make one-off payments by credit card online or over the phone. If you sign up for an account, you'll get access to other payment options including bank transfers and recurring payments.
To use this service, your landlord or agent has to be registered as a DEFT biller and give you the 20-digit DEFT reference number. Once you have that, you can pay online through the DEFT website.
How much does it cost?
DEFT transaction fees vary based on factors such as the card or payment method used and the biller’s preferences. The maximum costs for credit card payments are as follows:
- American Express: 1.5%
- Diners Club: 3.773%
- Mastercard credit card: 1.2%
- Mastercard international credit or debit card: 4.80%
- Visa credit card: 1.5%
- Visa international credit or debit card: 4%
The exact amount for your DEFT transaction will be shown before you confirm a payment, so it's worth checking before you go ahead.
Keep in mind that the fee is typically lower for bank payments or debit card payments, which are a maximum of 0.4% of the total transaction when you use an Australian Mastercard or Visa debit card.
Also note that the biller can choose what types of cards (and other payment options) are available, so you may not always be able to pay with your chosen credit card.
This is an online platform that partners with real estate agents and property managers. If your agent is set up with iPayRent, you'll need to create an account. You can then choose how you want to pay rent, including with a credit card.
How much does it cost?
The fees can vary depending on the real estate agent and payment method. But to give you an idea, we found credit card fees ranging from 1.32% to 2.2% when we looked at the payment forms available online through different real estate agencies.
Rental Rewards is an online payment platform that lets you earn points by paying your rent with a credit card. It has direct partnerships with real estate agents and brands including real estate agents that work for well-known brands such as Barry Plant, Century 21, First National Real Estate and RE/MAX.
It also gives you a way to pay any real estate agent in Australia, with the option of one-off or recurring payments when you register online.
How much does it cost?
Rental Rewards has different fees depending on how your account is set up, the type of payment and card you use. It can also vary depending on the agent.
While the Rental Rewards website doesn't publicly list card payment fees, a Rental Rewards rent payment form showed the following possible costs:
- Set-up fee: $1.51
- Mastercard or Visa fee: 1.45% of transaction value
- American Express or Diners Club fee: 2.65% of transaction value
These fees could be different depending on your real estate agent and card, so check before you make a payment.
If you can pay rent by BPAY, this app gives you a way to make payments from your credit card. If it's a rewards card, you'll also earn points per $1 spent at the same rate as other purchases.
To use Sniip, you just need to get the app and scan the BPAY details from your bill (or enter them manually), then choose how you want to pay.
How much does it cost?
There is a 1.5% fee for paying with an American Express, Mastercard or Visa credit card.
How much will paying rent with a credit card cost in the long run?
The payment fees and credit card interest charges are 2 key factors to look at before you decide to pay rent with a credit card. Here's a look at both of them.
1. Rental service payment fees
Based on the payment fees listed here, it would cost you between 1.2% and 3.773% for each rental payment made with an Australian credit card. And up to 4.8% if you pay with a credit card issued overseas.
To put that in perspective, if you paid $2,000 per month on rent, the card fee would cost you between $24 and $96. For weekly payments of $500, you’d be looking at around $6 to $24 in fees. So, even with the lowest fee, the cost would add around $288 to your rental payments each year based on this example.
2. Interest charges
The average standard credit card interest rate in Australia is 19.94%. If you paid $2,000 in rent on a card with this interest rate and made monthly repayments of $50, it would take over 5 years to pay off and cost over $1,300 in interest charges.
This is based on calculations using Finder's credit card repayment calculator. You could use it to check specific details for your own credit card. But the bottom line is that if credit card interest is charged, it can add a big cost to your rental payments.
Other potential costs
As well as card payment fees, some platforms have membership fees, direct debit fees, dishonour fees and other fees that could add to your costs.
Remember: There are other ways to pay rent
Even if your rental agent, property manager or landlord uses a third-party payment service, they should give you more than one way to pay. For example, renters in NSW and Victoria must have at least one fee-free way to pay rent. You can check with the tenants agency in your state or territory to find out your rights or how to make a complaint if you don't think you're being treated fairly.
Example: Rewards vs. platform fees for paying rent with a credit card
If you want to pay your rent with a credit card to earn reward or frequent flyer points, the value will depend on the type of card and how many points per $1 spent it offers. For example, say you have a Visa frequent flyer credit card that offers 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent and you want to use it to pay weekly rent of $500 through easyshare.
In this scenario, you’d earn 500 points and pay a 1.5% card fee of $7.50 per week. Over a year, this would add up to 26,000 Qantas Points and $390 in fees. As the value of your points depends on how you use them, here are some examples of what you could get with 26,000 points:
- A return economy flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island: 24,000 Qantas Points
- A one-way business class flight from Brisbane to Sydney: 18,400 Qantas Points
- A $100 Woolworths WISH gift card: 20,750 Qantas Points
In this case, you’re likely to get more than $390 worth of value from either of the flight options. But if you redeemed the points for a gift card, you’d basically be paying $290 per year for the convenience of using your card once the value of your reward is subtracted from the cost of the fees.
Is paying rent with a credit card worth it for points?
The value of being able to pay rent with a credit card depends on your goals and circumstances. While it could be a way to earn more points through your credit card, the fees charged by these platforms can add hundreds of dollars to your yearly costs. And interest charges could add even more.
So before you sign up for any of these rental payment services, check the costs involved, work out how many points you could earn and then decide if paying rent with your credit card is worth it for you.
Want to earn points for your everyday spending? Compare rewards credit cards that offer points per $1 and introductory bonus point offers. Want to know what your rights are as a renter? Find out what your landlord can and can't do.
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