For those who enjoy earning miles and points for award travel, it hurts to pay rent and not earn points, especially if you live in an expensive city—seriously, why am I still putting up with DC rent prices?
For the last couple of years, I've have been using Plastiq to pay rent with a credit card and eating the 2.5% processing fee. RadPad provided some competition but it's no longer an option. Fortunately for us, RoomiPay has just recently burst onto the scene to provide another option to pay rent with only a 2% processing fee.
Let's take a look at the process to pay rent with Roomi Pay and compare it Plastiq to see which is right for you.
What Is RoomiPay?
In 2016, Roomi launched an app and online service to make finding a compatible roommate easier. Recently, they added RoomiPay which allows people to pay their rent via credit card. Similar to Plastiq, once you submit a payment to RoomiPay, a check will be cut and sent to your landlord or property manager on your behalf.
For May rent payments submitted in April, RoomiPay will only allow payments to be sent via ACH. Roomi may allow payments by check again but it will depend on the response of users.
How To Submit a Rent Payment (Step-By-Step)
The whole process is quite simple and didn't take me more than 5 minutes to complete.
Step 1: Visit RoomiPay and click next in the bottom right corner.
Step 2: Select ACH/Bank Transfer as the method of payment required by your landlord. At this time, ACH/Bank Transfer is the only way in which RoomiPay can make a payment on your behalf.
Step 3: Provide your personal information including full name, email address, phone number, and current address
Step 4: Provide the necessary information about your landlord including to whom the payment should be addressed, email, phone number, address and bank account and routing numbers..
Step 5: Provide your rent due date and any additional information that should be on the check that is sent to your landlord.
Don't forget to provide the email address of the person who referred you as it will earn them a fee-free rent payment (if you feel so inclined, email@example.com)
Step 6: Enter the amount that needs to be sent to your landlord. You can also select to set up a recurring payment. If you do so, your credit card will be charged on the same date each month unless you cancel.
Step 7: RoomiPay will then ask why you are using the service: convenience, mail tracking, credit card points, recurring payments option, or other (you can specify). For me, the answer is quite clearly credit card points.
Additionally, you will be asked how many roommates you have, when your lease ends, and if you would be interested in renters insurance—I assume they have a relationship with an insurance company or will provide your info to one but I haven't checked.
Step 9: Provide your payment information. You will be reminded that there is a 2% credit card processing fee and shown the total amount to be sent to your landlord as well as the amount that will be charged to your card.
What Is The Processing Fee?
RoomiPay actually provides an even cheaper way to pay your rent with a credit card than Plastiq. While Plastiq charges a 2.5% processing fee for credit cards, RoomiPay charges 2%. Sure, it's only 0.5% but that adds up over time so why not take advantage of it?
In February, RoomiPay added 2.5% fee plus $30 as an option for an expedited payment if you were late to schedule it. In my last conversation with them, they are still deciding what fee structure they will use going forward.
As of April, RoomiPay is using four tiers of fees for rent payments:
- First 50 people: No fee
- Next 125 people: 2% fee
- Next 125 people: 2.5% fee
- Everyone else: 3% fee until RoomiPay stops accepting payments for the month
How To Get Fee-Free Rent (One Payment Guaranteed)
One feature I love about RoomiPay is the chance to pay one month of rent fee-free just for being quick. Each month, the first 75 users to sign up will be able to pay rent fee-free. Once those 75 fee-free slots are taken, everyone else will be able to pay rent with the standard 2% fee. Fee-free payments are available on the 15th of the month.
The 50 fee-free slots go lightning quick. If you want a chance to get in on the action, make sure you sign up for their email alert so you know exactly when the platform will go live on the 15th of the month. The last day to submit a payment will be on the 22nd of the month.
Going forward, you can also receive a referral bonus by referring friends to RoomiPay. To receive this bonus, your friends will need to enter your email address in the appropriate field during Step 6 of the payment process (see above).
Who Can You Pay?
At the moment, you are only able to pay rent with RoomiPay. You can pay an individual who is your landlord or a property management company. If, like me, you live in a managed apartment complex, make sure you include any necessary info for the check (see Step 6) such as an account number so the payment is applied to your unit.
How Long Do Payments Take To Process?
Your credit card will be charged the day you submit a payment and you will receive an email notifying you of the transaction. Additionally, you will receive a notification from RoomiPay once your landlord has cashed your rent check.
Payments can take up to 7 days to process, so you'll want to consider when a check needs to be sent based on your due date. Unless you state otherwise, RoomiPay will send out your check so it arrives on the first of the month. Once the check is mailed, you can expect it to take up to 5 days to be delivered unless you live in New York City which takes up to 3 days.
Best Times To Use RoomiPay
The whole point of using RoomiPay for people like us is to earn miles and points to travel. Now that you know how to use RoomiPay, let's talk about the best ways you can leverage it to earn the most miles and points possible for your upcoming travels. As it includes a 2% processing fee, we want to consider when using RoomiPay makes sense.
Hit A Minimum Spend, Earn A Sign-Up Bonus
Using RoomiPay to hit a minimum spend requirement and earn a sign-up bonus is obviously going to have the biggest impact. You can knock out a massive chunk of a $3,000 or $5,000 minimum spend requirement to earn 30,000 to 100,000 miles or points just by paying rent.
Consider this: If your rent is $1,000 per month and you are trying to hit the $4,000 minimum spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you could knock out $3,000 with RoomiPay and pay $60 in fees. Assuming you can knock out the other $1,000 in the three-month time frame, that's $60 in fees for $625 in travel and, if you know what you're doing, much more than that.
Credit Card Bonus Category
If you don't have a sign-up bonus to earn, the value calculations become a bit more important as you want to make sure the points you earn are worth more than the fee you have to pay. This will be informed by how you redeem your points—there's a reason I try to hammer home the importance of learning how to redeem for max value (i.e. how to use points to fly Emirates first class without crazy high taxes and fees).
Earn 3X Points Per Dollar
The data points I've seen so far have shown that payments to RoomiPay code in the category computer/software. This is great news for those who have the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express and the Citi Access More card (no long available for application).
(I recently heard a data point in which this did not earn 3X. Keep this in mind.) With the Business Gold Rewards Card, you can pick one of five bonus categories to earn 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar. If you select "U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases", you should be able to earn 3X on RoomiPay rent payments.
Additionally, the Citi Access More card has already been shown to earn 3X ThankYou Points per dollar when paying rent through RoomiPay.
Using either of these cards means you will be paying 0.67 cents per point. Whether you're earning Amex Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points, you will have plenty of options to redeem them for far more than the 0.67 cents you paid to earn each point. These are definitely the best credit card options if you aren't earning a sign-up bonus.
Earn 2X Points Per Dollar
Another easy option is to use the Blue Business Plus Card from American Express which earns 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on all purchases up to $50,000 in spend per calendar year. With this card, you are effectively paying 1 cent per point. If you know how to use Membership Rewards for big value award bookings, this could be worth it to you.
Earn 1.5X Points Per Dollar
Finally, you might consider using the Chase Freedom Unlimited in some limited situations if you are in need of some Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This card earns 1.5X points per dollar on all purchases which means you would be paying 1.33 cents per point using RoomiPay.ls
If you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can use your Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase travel portal and receive a 50% bonus (i.e. 100 points are worth 150 points). In this scenario, you will have spent 0.89 cents per point with RoomiPay. Additionally, if you leverage transfer partners well, you can do even better.
With the last two options depending heavily on the redemptions you are planning, I consider these second-tier options. If you really want to get a ton of value out of bonus categories, the Business Gold Rewards Card and the Citi Access More card are your best bets.
Big Spend Bonus
Last but not least, we have the cards that earn bonuses once you spend a lot of money. This option will be useful to fewer people but it's still worthy of discussion. If you choose one of these options, think carefully before foregoing a sign-up bonus or using a card with a 3X or 2X category bonus.
Here are some options you might consider.
Chase British Airways Visa: $30,000 for a Travel Together ticket which allows you to book an award ticket for 2 for the miles required for one person. You are still on the hook for the taxes and fees for both passengers (often steep with British Airways)
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express: $30,000 earns Gold elite status with SPG (which applies to Marriott and Ritz-Carlton). This also applies to the business version of the card. You could also just get any version of the Platinum Card from American Express to receive SPG Gold (and Hilton Gold) status.
JetBlue Plus Card: $50,000 earns Mosaic status for the remainder of the calendar year plus the following year.
Delta Reserve Credit Card from Amex: $30,000 for 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 SkyMiles. An additional $30,000 ($60k total) for an additional 15K MQM and 15K SkyMiles.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from Amex: $25,000 for 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 10,000 SkyMiles. An additional $25,000 ($50k total) for an additional 10K MQM and 10K SkyMiles.
Chase Ritz-Carlton Credit Card: $75,000 for Platinum status (which applies to Marriott and SPG). $10,000 for Gold Status.
Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards cards: Earning 110,000 Rapid Rewards points from the sign-up bonuses or everyday spending on any of the 3 Southwest cards earns you the Southwest Companion Pass. If you spend a lot on rent, this can go a long way toward earning 2-for-1 award and cash tickets on Southwest Airlines.
Hilton Honors American Express Card: $20,000 earns Hilton Gold status.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card: $15,000 for a free weekend night certificate. $40,000 for Hilton Diamond status.
Hilton Honors American Express Business Card: $15,000 for a free weekend night certificate. $40,000 for Hilton Diamond status. $60,000 for a 2nd free weekend night certificate.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire: $40,000 for Hilton Diamond status. Comes with a free weekend night certificated. A 2nd free night weekend night certificate is earned at $60,000.
RoomiPay vs Plastiq: Which Is Better?
The big advantage to Plastiq* is that you can pay all kinds of bills beyond rent such a utilities, insurance, taxes, tuition, and more. However, if you're paying rent with a bill pay service, RoomiPay's 2% processing fee is just clearly better than Plastiq's 2.5% fee.
While I've been using Plastiq for rent payments for over a year, RoomiPay has jumped in to give them a little competition. I particularly like that RoomiPay provides a few ways to utilize bonus categories when you don't have a minimum spend to hit for a sign-up bonus.
For now, I'll be using RoomiPay for rent unless Plastiq offers a useful promotion.
*This my referral—you get 500 fee-free dollars, I get 1,000 FFDs when you make $500 in payments*
RoomiPay is the latest new service that allows us to pay rent with credit cards so we can earn miles and points. It's still new to the scene so we'll see if they can handle more and more people as they grow as customer service is key for these kinds of things.
For now, you can take advantage of RoomiPay's fee-free rent payment if you are one of the first 75 people each month on the 20th (will update if this changes). Additionally, the 2% fee for all other rent payments is currently the best on the market.
If you're smart about which credit card you use, you'll be able to earn a bunch of miles and points for some exciting (almost) free flights.
What do you think of RoomiPay so far? Will this be your go-to method for paying rent?
Featured image courtesy of Brandon Griggs