The rent is too damn high!
September 14, 2021 8:02 AM   Subscribe

What's a good digital payment system for a family member making a monthly rent payment? Preferably something that doesn't consider this scenario a business use, so no fees incurred. Would Zelle work, or PayPal, since they have other ways they earn fees?
posted by cameradv to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you mean the family member is paying rent to you (or vice versa), or to someone outside the family?

If it's within the family any sort of cash transfer system would work. If they need to do it from their online banking then choose whatever their bank supports (I've heard many support Zelle).
posted by TimHare at 8:11 AM on September 14


PatPal will do free transfers if you select option that the recipient is a friend or family. No fraud protection will be offered though.

Many banks offer payment systems - some will mail a check for you while others will initiate an ACH transfer. I prefer these as if much rather go to my bank with a physical location if I have an issue with a transfer than an online company. In general, the bank would view me as a customer whereas I am an expense to any company that I pay no fees to.
posted by saeculorum at 8:21 AM on September 14


The answer will depend in part on what payment system their landlord will accept. Have they asked?

If this is a small landlord and they don't yet have an online payment, they could look at Zillow Rent Payment. I use it for one rental unit. It was easy to set up and free, although they do hold onto the rent for about a week before depositing it in my bank account.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 8:26 AM on September 14


Venmo works fine for this if I’m US.
posted by artificialard at 8:33 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I'm a landlord, and I've used Paypal and Venmo to accept rent. With Paypal, just make sure you are using "Friends and Family" transfers (meaning people you know) to avoid fees. I've used Zelle for other things, and that also would work for me.
posted by kimdog at 8:38 AM on September 14


I've been using Zelle for my rent for a couple of years. It's reliable but my only complaint is payments can't be automated but that's pretty minor.
posted by bleep at 8:45 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


We use Zelle for this purpose. We actually have automated recurring payments (a push transaction through our bank) although I don't remember offhand exactly how we set it up.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:48 AM on September 14


Years ago I got my landlord to switch to Cozy to accept rent payments. It was free to them, and free to me!

They have since been acquired by Apartments.com, but still offer scheduled monthly payment processing that is free to my landlord, and free to me!
posted by Lafe at 9:10 AM on September 14


My credit union will, through their online bill payment system, cut and mail a check for me if the payee doesn't have an online payment option.

The above solution isn't completely online, but maybe your financial institution has some online payment methods, too.
posted by chinesefood at 9:18 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


A lot of landlords use RentCafe to take payments electronically via direct debit, debit card or credit card.
posted by slkinsey at 9:31 AM on September 14


I use Paypal to send my half of the rent + utilities to my roommate, and she pays the full amount through the property manager's payment portal. The worst risk is sometime there is a delay in getting the funds moved from her paypal account to her bank (especially with holidays), so I always start the transfer the day after payday even if it's a early for rent.

Previously I had set up an auto-transfer direct from my bank to hers, but our rent is now high enough that my half is over the maximum my bank allows for that.
posted by buildmyworld at 9:34 AM on September 14


Response by poster: Thanks for all the input. Just to clarify, the family member is currently mailing me a check, and I'm trying to make it easier for them. And me.
posted by cameradv at 12:02 PM on September 14


Do you want the payment to happen automatically each month, or do you want the family member to specifically say "pay rent now" each month? That will make a difference.

Zillow Rent Payment handles automatic monthly payments. It is free.

I don't believe Venmo has any way to automatically make a monthly payment.

I'm not sure about the others.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 12:07 PM on September 14


My landlord is also my roommate (and good friend), and I pay her via Zelle.
posted by radioamy at 12:34 PM on September 14


I use Zelle and it's automatic. I set it up through my bank. No fees for me (not sure if my landlord pays fees?)
posted by twelve cent archie at 12:59 PM on September 14


I've had housemates pay me with PayPal and Zelle with no fees and no big headaches. Zelle is a little easier for me because it goes directly into the bank account whereas with PayPal I have to transfer it.
posted by Candleman at 1:03 PM on September 14


The best option is for you and your family member to both have bank accounts at the same bank. Most bank accounts have an inside-bank way to transfer money that is very easy.

I think Zelle is the best option for between US banks. Zelle is the payment system the banks themselves have developed and are marketing. If your bank is in the list of participants the process is very smooth and free. Even if your bank isn't it will still work with no charges, you give them your debit card account number.

The tricky thing with all these systems is payment limits. For instance Venmo has a confusing set of limits on how much money you can send and receive. These limits are as low as $300/week. Zelle also has limits: for instance, $500/week sending money if your bank is not a member.

Zelle as implemented also sends and receives money directly to your accounts. Venmo maintains funds in a separate Venmo balance that you then have to transfer to your bank. Last I looked Venmo had no way to automate monthly payments. Zelle does.

(I'm assuming you're using US banks. Our banking system is uniquely bad at transferring money. This question is a lot simpler in many European banks.)
posted by Nelson at 3:30 PM on September 14


I use Popmoney, becauase Zelle's max was too low to cover my rent. Popmoney does charge 95 cents per transaction.
posted by COD at 4:36 PM on September 14


I used to pay with a physical check but once the pandemic hit I moved to using my Chase bank's Payment Center online which will mail a check on my behalf (so much like chinesefood's credit union). It's free, and easy, but it's not optimal. I usually need to enter it nine to ten days before the 1st of each month for them to guarantee it arrives on time. Worst of all it takes the money instantly upon entry and it doesn't show any other info so I don't see when if ever it actually gets deposited and always wonder if the check actually arrived, but it is what I've been using for a year and a half now so I guess it's working well enough.
posted by vegartanipla at 5:17 PM on September 14


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