The Best Way to Pay Rent: Personal Check, Cashier’s Check, or Money Order

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The Best Way to Pay Rent: Personal Check, Cashier’s Check, or Money Order

Megan Foukes · Nov 1, 2022
Writing a personal check to pay the rent.

There are several different ways to pay your rent. Whether you choose to pay by personal check, cashier’s check, or money order, the most important thing is that you pay on time. You don’t have to stick to just one, either — it’s also possible to use a combination of these methods to fulfill your rent obligations. If you’re unsure which payment method will work best for you, check out the pros and cons of each below:

Personal Check

Paying by personal check may be the easiest and fastest way to pay rent. Not sure if you should pay by personal check? Here are the pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. No convenience fees. The only thing you need to pay for are postage stamps.
  2. Fast and easy. Most likely, you have a stack of checks in your wallet or sitting at home in your desk, enabling you to make out your check anytime you would like and deliver it at your convenience.
  3. Combine bills. Additionally, as the only limit to the amount of your check is the funds available in your checking account, you can include other bills due to your landlord on the same check. For example, should your landlord also charge you for water, you can add this bill to your rent payment and only use one check.

Cons:

  1. Risk of losing a check. Should the landlord lose your personal check, your bank may charge a fee to cancel it – not to mention that you will also have to write a new check.
  2. Delayed deposit. Similarly, if your landlord delays in depositing your personal check, you will have to leave those funds in your account to prevent it from being returned for insufficient funds.
  3. Checks aren’t cheap. You avoid paying convenience fees, but purchasing a stack of checks can be costly.

Cashier’s Check

Banker hands person a cashier's check.

A cashier’s check is a check drawn by a bank on the bank’s account. To obtain such a check, the customer must have either cash or make a check payable to the bank have them draw one up in their name. This means it will be the banks’ name instead of your own appearing on the bottom of the check.

Pros:

  1. Little to no risk of bounce. The benefit of using this type of check for your rent payment is that it’s guaranteed by the bank. When printed, cashier’s checks usually come in the form of a carbon copy, making record-keeping easy.
  2. No fees. Because you’re getting this through the bank, there is no fee associated with getting a cashier’s check.

Cons:

  1. You must come prepared. Banks often require the customer to hold accounts at the bank or provide cash to obtain a cashier’s check. Also, if they are lost, it could be difficult to have another one drawn. In this situation, your landlord will still need to be paid, meaning you may have to draw another check while waiting for the resolution of your claim for the original check.

Money Order

A money order is an order for the amount the purchaser wishes, payable to the recipient at any time. Money orders aren’t as common as the other two options, but they’re still a valid form of payment when it comes to rent.

Pros:

  1. Convenience. These checks are available at most grocery stores and post offices, but for a small fee.
  2. Guaranteed. Money orders are guaranteed because the funds have been paid in full at the time of purchase.
  3. No stress. For landlords that dally in cashing checks (and run the risk of messing up your finances), a money order may be the best way for a tenant to pay rent.

Cons:

  1. Risk of having to pay. If a money order is lost, there is no record to reference. You may be at a loss for the funds and need to present additional payment to your landlord.
  2. Limitations. There are often limits on the amount of funds each check can present, such as $500.00 or $1,000.00. In this instance, you will have to purchase multiple checks should your rent be more than the amount you can purchase in an individual one.

Pay Your Rent in Confidence

"Rent Due" notice in personal planner.

Prior to signing a lease agreement, ask the landlord about their preferred method of rent payment. It may be possible that they don’t accept one of these forms of payment, or they may offer a unique payment method. Some landlords offer automatic payments via check. You simply stop into the office, provide one check, and they hold the bank information on file for automatic payments.

No matter which option you choose, just make sure you’re comfortable with it and have a schedule set aside to make payments. Sending checks of any kind by mail takes time. Plan ahead and keep track of when your checks are cashed.

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