RadPad: Pay Rent With MasterCard Credit Card at 1.99% Fee

rp_logoRadPad is a startup trying to be both a better apartment search engine and a better rent payment service. Of course, this translates to: Find apartment on your smartphone. Pay rent on your smartphone. Tap tap done. :)

I haven’t learned much about their rental marketplace, other than it is free for landlords to list. However, RadPad recently altered their fee structure:

  • No fee for debit card payments (Visa and MasterCard debit, under $5,000).
  • 1.99% fee for paying with MasterCard credit card or their Masterpass digital wallet.
  • 3.49% fee for Visa, American Express, and Discover credit cards.
  • Works with Apple Pay.

Your landlord or management company doesn’t have to sign up for anything, Radpad will mail them a paper check. RadPad also guarantees that you won’t be subject to late fees (they require 4 business days lead time). They’ll even send you an alert when the check is deposited by your landlord.

If you write and mail a check now, then you most likely have a debit card already. You can pay no fees, but gain in convenience (and perhaps save a stamp?). Much fewer debit cards offer significant rewards after the Durbin Amendment.

(The notable exception is the PayPal Business Debit card, which gives you 1% cash back on online “signature” purchases. If that is how it is processed, you can net 1% and the money is drawn from your bank account. However, for existing cardholders after 2/1/16 and all new cardholders, PayPal will not pay cash back on “PIN-less debit” transactions. This is a fine distinction, but if that is how the transaction is processed, then you won’t get the 1% cash back. Honestly, nobody really knows until someone tries it after 2/1.)

The lower 1.99% MasterCard fee also opens you up to paying rent with a rewards credit card like the Citi Double Cash card (issued as a MasterCard). Alternatively, you may be working on a spending requirement on a credit-card sign-up bonus. If, for example, you get $500 in rewards after making $3,000 in purchases like the Citi ThankYou Premier card (issued as a MasterCard), then that works out to over 16%.

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Note: Plastiq offers a similar service. It works with a wider variety of payments (not just rent), but the default fee is 2.5% for credit card payments. If you catch them during a promotion, the rate may be lower.

Comments

  1. This is great, I will recommend to my tenants. I always had issue with money transfers from tenants. They pay rent on time and I sometimes wait for 10 days for that payment.

  2. If the goal is to use Debit card, why not just use online BillPay from checking account for rent payment?
    Option of using CC for rent payment is useful, however, for times when don’t have funds available by the rent payment due date. This comes, of course, at the price of 1.99/3.49% fee + CC interest rate if can’t pay it off in full monthly.

    • Good point, but the way my bill pay works is that the money is taken out of my account right away, and I am not told when the check is actually cashed. I think the fact that RadPad will send you an alert when the landlord actually cashes the check is pretty neat.

  3. Quick heads up – per PayPal’s Business Debit Cardholder Agreement:
    “Merchants may process your Debit Card payments as PIN-less debit transactions. If processed in this manner, the transaction will not be eligible for cash back.”
    https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/ua/debitcard-full

    Per RadPad customer service (via email):
    “If you choose to use PayPal it will be processed as a PIN-less debit transaction.”

    • Thanks for the heads up. Other people have reported it going through in the past as a “signature” transaction as categorized on PayPal’s end, but perhaps Radpad is now processing it as a PIN-less debit. This option was too good to last forever, and PayPal says that PIN-less debit will stop earning 1% cash back for existing accounts as of 2/1/16 as well. I suppose I just wouldn’t count on the 1%, but still worth a shot if you already have the card until more people report actual experiences after 2/1.

    • Thanks to Jonathan I have been using Plastiq for a few months now. Everything works fine. PayPal debit card is good for 1.5% cashback. I will see if it changes after 2/1/16.

  4. I’ve been using the PayPal card for 4 or 5 months to pay my $1900 rent and get 1% ($19) back. I was sorry to hear it might be ending on Feb 1st. So a week ago I set it up to process my Feb rent a few days early just to get one last $19 reward. After Feb 1st we’ll see…

  5. Can you make mortgage payments with RadPad?

  6. I wouldn’t do this with any card. They just changed the rate on all non-Mastercard cards from 2.5% to 3.49% without even notifying their existing customers. They’re a bait-and-switch shop.

    • Sounds like they just wanted a differentiating factor between them and other similar services, so they negotiated a special deal at the expense of having to raise the price on other cards. This move makes MasterCard their “preferred provider”. Just switch to Plastiq if you have a non-Mastercard.

  7. Any idea if “debit” includes pre-paid visa debit cards? I technically pay my gf rent and this would be a great way to liquidate some of my cards I used to meet minimum credit card spend.

    Anybody know if this is a legitimate use?

    • You could also do MS using the card and paying the 2% fee. Anyone know if this would work? Why does this service only limit it to rent, and how do they know the payee is a landlord?

  8. How often can you pay your landlord each month? Can i make 1 payment each week? What is the minimum $ amount per transaction?

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