Rental Rewards is a smart, creative payment gateway designed for real estate agents and renters.
It's a viable alternative payment method that allows tenants to earn credit card rewards points or frequent flyer points by paying with a credit card. Unless renters pay in cash, there are fees associated with most rental payment methods used, and the user must decide if the charge is worth the benefit received.
Sounds interesting? This is how it works.
Inside this review
What is Rental Rewards?
Rental Rewards is an Australian-owned and managed business, providing a new way to make rental payments.
Tenants may pay rent to any real estate agent in Australia using Rental Rewards. The service accepts rent payments on behalf of the renter and distributes the cash to the landlord’s real estate agent.
Get our complete guide to paying rent and earning points.
Benefits for renters
- Ease of payment. The simplest method of payment is the 'Set & Forget’ automatic payment option. You will never have to worry about forgetting to pay your rent again. When your rent is due, Rental Rewards will automatically pay it using your designated credit card. Another available option is to set up SMS/email reminders.
- Manage your cash flow. Smooth out the bumps in your budget by paying rent with your card rather than cash, and take advantage of up to 55 days interest free.
- Earn points. Use your rewards or frequent flyer points credit card to pay your rent, and earn rewards at the prevailing rate for the card. This would also be a good way to meet a spending target for a sign-up bonus credit card.
- Build your credit score. When you make your rental payments on time, your positive financial behaviour may be reported to credit bureaus and could boost your credit score. Just make sure you also make your credit card payments promptly, or your credit score will take a hit.
How to set up a Rental Rewards account
- Fill in the online form or use the pop-up window to contact the service desk for help in setting up your account. Your real estate agent may also be able to help you register. You will need to provide your credit card details, your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number, and the real estate agent’s bank account details.
- Receive rent payment reminders by SMS or email, and just reply "YES" to have your rent paid, or use the ‘Set & Forget’ option to have online rent payments taken from your credit card account automatically. The best part is that you get rewarded for paying your rent.
Cost of using the service
For membership and card use, Rental Rewards presently levies the following fees to tenants:
- $1.51 for account set-up
- 1.45% of transaction amount for standard Visa/Mastercard payments. (Higher fees may apply to premium cards.)
- 2.65% fee for American Express/Diners Club payments
Depending on your account set-up, you may have to pay other transaction or membership fees. There may also be additional fees payable for failed payments and payment cancellation.
The credit cards you can use
Rental Rewards prefers Mastercard as the lowest cost option to pay rent, but also accepts Visa, American Express, and Diners Club cards.
Rental Rewards case study
Josh and Maddy are paying $500 a week to rent their Sydney unit. They pay their rent through Rental Rewards, using a credit card which gives them 1.0 Qantas Frequent Flyer points per dollar spent.
After using the service for one year, they have amassed 26,000 points from regular rental payments, plus 1,000 points from their first payment and a further 1,000 points from their 12th consecutive payment. That’s a total of 28,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points, more than enough for two Qantas Economy return flights between Sydney and Melbourne or Brisbane (24,000 points).
They used a Visa credit card, so their 28,000 points cost them $377 (1.45% of $26,000).
What customers say about Rental Rewards
Most of the Comments at Productreview.com.au are from real estate agents who are naturally delighted with this hassle-free method of collecting rents. But some are from tenants. A few of them object to being told by agents that Rental Rewards is their only payment option.
However, Roman in Sydney echoes a few others when he says:
Great product and a rewarding way to earn card points on one of the large portion of my house expense; Rent! Great team of support and professional! Highly recommend for anyone who value points and understand how to use it!
Pros and cons
- Simple to use.
- Choose between ‘Set & forget’ automated payments or payment reminders.
- A variety of cards are accepted, including American Express.
- Earn regular points plus bonus points.
- A help desk headquartered in Australia.
- Fees are charged each time you make a payment.
- Additional fees may be payable if your credit card provider rejects the charge, or if you want to cancel the payment service.
Alternative rental payment methods
Tenants do have other rental payment services to choose from. These are some options.
- American Express Accessline. Limited to commercial tenant payments for American Express Card business and corporate cardholders. You’ll need to be patient because the system is clunky and slow.
- B2BPay. Earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points in addition to your normal credit card rewards or frequent flyer points, every time you pay a business expense, including rental payments.
- RewardPay. Earn additional Amex Membership Rewards points or Qantas Frequent Flyer points when you use your Amex card to pay rent and other expenses.
Is it worth paying the extra 1.45% - 2.65% on top of paying rent?
It depends on your situation. In some cases, Rental Rewards may be the only payment option offered by the agent, so you need to weigh the extra cost against the desirability of the house or unit offered for rental, before signing the lease.
Additionally, you can offset most – if not all – of the cost, by using a rewards or frequent flyer points credit card when you pay, and then spending the points wisely. Exchanging points for flights is usually the most cost-effective option, followed by retail gift vouchers. You may even be able to end up with a small net profit by paying this way.
Does Rental Rewards make it easier to stay current with rental payments?
Yes. Rental Rewards offers a feature that allows you to choose ‘Set & Forget' automatic payments or receive payment reminders through SMS/Email. You'll never have to worry about remembering to pay your rent again since the platform takes care of it for you.
Could paying my rent on a credit card help build my credit score?
Yes. If the real estate agent chooses to report your positive payment history to credit bureaus, your score will improve. However, unlike banks, they are not obliged to report positive financial behaviour, but using a service like Rental Rewards could help you to avoid missed payments, which will almost certainly end up being reported as adverse information in your credit history file.
Can I use Rental Rewards if my landlord or agent is not signed up to the service?
Yes. Provided you have your agent’s BPAY biller code or bank account details (BSB and account number) you will be able to use the service.
Is there also a benefit for real estate agencies and property managers?
Yes. Real estate agents like the service for these reasons.
- Easier to collect rent. The 'Set & Forget' and payment reminder options make it more likely that tenants will pay on time, with little or no effort required on the agent’s part. Failed payments are retried automatically, which can eliminate the need to follow up.
- Saves time on admin. Tenants can be added, edited, and closed online. Rent increases can also be easily managed by the agents.
However, using the service is not without risk for agents. Tenants can still request a credit charge chargeback (reversal of the payment), which, if granted by the card issuer, will mean that the rent is not paid.
Rental Rewards is certainly a very useful service from the point of view of property owners and real estate agents.
As far as tenants are concerned, definite benefits come in the form of ease of budgeting for rental payments and making sure that payments are never forgotten. It does come with a cost, however, but this can be largely offset by paying with a rewards points credit card.