These days many New York City apartment buildings offer tenants the opportunity to pay rent with a credit card. While this may seem ideal, it’s important to keep in mind the possible downside of adding rent to your credit card bill. The obvious benefit of paying rent with a credit card is that you can set-up automatic payments so that you never have to worry about a late rent check and a subsequent late fee. Of course, renting in NYC means that even in the best of circumstances you’re looking at about $2000 tacked onto your credit card bill every month. Add to that living expenses New Yorkers can’t live without, like dinner at Minetta Tavern (dare to dream) and clothes to keep your wardrobe more Williamsburg and less Mall of America and your looking at a hefty credit card bill at the end of every month. That’s why it’s important to give the question some thought. Pay with your card or keep mailing that check?
Paying with your credit card has plenty of benefits that Suze Orman would approve of. First off, covering rent with your credit card can help your credit rating. If you have little or no credit to your name (bless your heart) and you’ve had no problem making rent every month, paying with your card can help you build your credit score. And for those of you with good credit, tacking on rent to your monthly Amex bill will help you keep the credit rating gods happy. Another added benefit to paying with your card is that you can earn miles or points. Depending on what program your cards offer you could be looking at a round-trip ticket to London before you know it!
If your building allows you to pay rent with a credit card, look into your credit score (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp), go over your expenses to see if you’ve been able to pay rent easily in the past, and use online tools (www.mint.com) or iphone apps (http://bit.ly/qD0OS) to create a budget so you can make sure you never have to use the miles you earned to escape to Argentina. If it seems like you can’t afford to add to your credit card debt, then keep buying stamps from the bodega on your corner and mail in those checks. There’s no shame in staying loyal to snail mail.