Is it Legal to Pay Rent via Venmo or PayPal?

One of the first things you need to figure out when moving into a new apartment is how you’re going to pay your rent. These days, most people manage pretty much everything from their cell phone, so why can’t paying rent be the same? Venmo and PayPal are two of the most popular mobile payment services, so read on below to find out if it’s legal to use them to pay your rent.

It’s up to your landlord

It’s absolutely legal to pay your rent via Venmo or PayPal! In fact, pretty much any means of payment is allowed as long as you and your landlord agree on it. There are plenty of options, but some may be better than others. 

PayPal

Free transfers on PayPal are only meant for transactions between friends and family, so if you make a business transaction like paying your rent as a “friends and family” transaction, your account could be shut down.

According to PayPal’s User Agreement, if paying your rent, you need to choose the “paying for an item or service” option. If you do this, your landlord will be charged a 2.9% fee to accept the payment, so you’ll need to speak with them to make sure doing so is allowed, and the landlord may charge the 2.9% to you.

Venmo

If you choose to pay with a credit card through Venmo, you’ll be subject to a 3% fee, but paying with a debit card or directly through your bank account is free. Similar to PayPal, however, Venmo charges landlords a fee of 1.9% to accept rent payments, so check with your landlord to come to an arrangement.

Venmo can be convenient because it allows for quick payments, but it has its downsides. There’s no way to get your money back on Venmo if you accidentally pay the wrong amount or pay the wrong person. It can also be easy to accidentally fumble with an extra digit or a slightly wrong username for the person to whom you’re sending money.

Better options

The safest way to pay your rent is through a personal check. A check is addressed directly to the recipient, ensuring that the money gets to your landlord and can’t be stolen. Additionally, when your landlord cashes your check, it automatically creates a record with your bank as proof that you paid your rent.

You might also be able to work with your bank to set up an automatic transfer for your rent. This approach creates an electronic record of the payment, keeping you safe just like the paper trail of a check. Additionally, automatic transfers will get your rent payment on a consistent schedule so you don’t have to remember to pay it on time each month.

Whichever method you and your landlord settle on for your rent payment will work fine. Just remember to be careful and keep a record of all payments. Get a receipt from your landlord if you pay cash, and keep a log of every time you pay your rent and how much the payment will be. You should be able to trust your landlord, but it’s always good to be careful just in case!

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