Safe way to pay rent electronically?
March 20, 2019 10:13 AM   Subscribe

I'm wondering if there's a secure, fee-free way to send rent electronically these days? I'm renting from the condo owner, who lives in another state (I'm in Colorado). The warnings that I see are geared towards landlords, but I'm curious if I run any risks by paying rent through Venmo, Paypal, etc. If so, are there better options than mailing a check? I've moved in and paid first month's rent via check. Thank you!
posted by sugarbomb to Work & Money (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
My bank (TD Bank) will draft and mail a check for me for free.
posted by schwinggg! at 10:20 AM on March 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


I rent from a condo owner, and pay through my bank’s website. First month and deposit were paid with a check. All electronic payments have gone through without any fuss. I bank with a small, local credit union so if they have person-to-person bank transfers set up, I’m sure most other banks and credit unions do also.
posted by sacrifix at 10:20 AM on March 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


can you just use your banks bill pay service?
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:20 AM on March 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Have you asked your landlord if they have any preferences? If your bank or credit union has a bill pay service they may cut a check and mail it for you at no cost to you. My CU has this feature and I have used it with success. Although it may be a good idea to check with the bank or CU about what happens if the check is lost in the mail.
posted by Justin Case at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2019


Check if your bank and your landlord's bank are both on Zelle. Here's their list of banks.

Instant, verifiable transfers between accounts and AFAIK it's free.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:26 AM on March 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


I just started transferring my rent directly to my landlord’s account directly through my bank. No problems so far.
posted by tdismukes at 10:26 AM on March 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yep, we pay with Zelle. We use Chase and I think he's on Wells Fargo. It's been zero problem ever.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:27 AM on March 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I pay my rent with Venmo and have for basically 5 years at this point with no issues. We used to use the banks bill pay but my landlords didn't want to deal with checks.
posted by primalux at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


For the last nearly decade I've use my bank's send-a-check bill pay feature to do this. It's electronic for me, paper for the landlord.

But my building just got sold and the new guy doesn't like checks and literally just minutes ago I signed in for the first time to the service he wants us to use: Cozy. Appears to be free to use the basic features (looks like they make their money by taking several days to process the transfers) and nothing was weird or annoying about registering. Might be worth talking to your LL about.

Or use your online banking to send a check.
posted by phunniemee at 10:52 AM on March 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I set up cozy.co for my tenant to pay electronically since our credit union does not provide that service. We have been using it for a year without issues.

It's free to the landlord for up to 3 addresses IIRC, and free for the tenant if they use a bank account number (there's a fee if they use credit card).

Only downside is the several business day delay between the payment being debited from the tenant's account and deposited in my account, but it sends an email when the payment is in process so I know he paid on time.
posted by superna at 10:54 AM on March 20, 2019


I just finished renting from an out-of-state landlord, and we used PayPal for rent for 3 years without issue.
posted by witchen at 10:55 AM on March 20, 2019


Zelle's terms explicitly state that it's only meant for person to person transfers - the time I put a note in the memo that it was rent the payment was rejected. They also give you a lot of warnings about how you can't get your money back if you screw up the email address and someone else accepts the payment. That said, my landlord (with multiple units) prefers using it, so I do, and apparently it's been working fine. The email address is also clearly for another business they run, so apparently I'm overly fastidious about terms of service.

My last landlord gave me deposit slips to deposit rent checks into their account directly - there was a bank branch with a night drop a few blocks away, so this was tolerable.
posted by momus_window at 11:23 AM on March 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


The aforementioned Zelle is built in to the banking app, you just add the contact to the app and send.
posted by mtrhd at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2019


For the past few years my wife and I have been paying our rent (in Canada) by Interac e-transfer via our bank's website.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:06 PM on March 20, 2019


Momus Window, that's so odd. I paid my rent with Zelle for over a year with "rent" in the note and never had a problem.

My landlord uses the Cozy app now. It's fine so far.
posted by ananci at 1:44 PM on March 20, 2019


Find a bank that gives you direct ACH ("e-check") access instead of Zelle.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:18 PM on March 20, 2019


I can't imagine why you wouldn't use your bank's online bill pay. They mail the check for you, and most banks guarantee delivery by the date you specify (or they pay all the fees). I don't use it, but my apartment complex offers RentPayment.com, so I guess you could look into that. I'd feel very uncomfortable using a peer-to-peer service, as most disallow using them for rent.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 9:38 PM on March 20, 2019


Going through my credit union is the answer for me! I didn't know this feature existed, honestly. Because I like to anticipate the worst-case scenario, this seems like the most secure route. Thank you all!
posted by sugarbomb at 9:29 AM on March 21, 2019


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