Posted by William Charles on April 15, 2018
Manufactured Spending

Published on April 15th, 2018 | by William Charles


Urbanr: Pay Rent With A Credit Card [1.5% Fee/Requires Landlord Sign Up]

Urbanr is a new service that allows renters to pay their rent with a credit card. They charge a 1.5% fee and accept Visa, Discover & Mastercard. Property managers can also opt to pay a portion or all of this fee if they so choose. You’re also allowed to split your rent into up to three different cards per transaction. Unfortunately it looks like as a renter you can sign up for the service, but you have to invite your landlord to join and they must do this for the transaction to work.

The drawcard to competing services such as Plastiq, RadPad & RoomiPay is that your landlord doesn’t need to sign up. The services simply cut a check to your landlord. Urbanr deposits the rent directly, so if your landlord doesn’t sign up there is no way to process the transaction. Getting your landlord to sign up for a program like this is never easy, there is little added benefit for them (apart from maybe receiving payments on time more often) but maybe this requirement will make this 1.5% rate more sustainable long term.

VFTW has organized a sign up bonus for his readers as well, so head over to his post for more information on that. It’ll be interesting to see how these purchases code, what cards will earn at bonus rates?

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I strongly suspect that they are underestimating the interchange fees, and that this won’t last. Guess we’ll see.

Hi David, This is not an early bird promotion, nor do we lose money on the transactions. The 1.5% is a sustainable price in union with the bank. Our goal is to help plasticize the rental market. I hope this is helpful – Irad Straus, CEO Urbanr.

Hello – I am an urbanr user and have been trying for an extended period of time to contact your service through every number and contact available, only to get no response. Your payment processing system is down and I am unable to pay my rent. Can someone please get back to me? I spent time sitting down with my landlord to set up our accounts on both sides only for this to only. I’d really appreciate it to speak with someone to understand how to proceed.

Correct. I worked for Square for several years in senior role running their payment interchange on finance team. There is no possible way to undercut standard interchange and rent codes under MCC 6513 (unless they are mis-routing it, which will create lawsuit from the issuing banks who can then claw back our rewards as consumers – just read your T and C’s folks). For 6513 coding the lowest possible interchange for premium cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve is 2.40% + processing – so close to 2.6-2.7% cost. This is public information you can simply look it up in the interchange charts. It’s actually a myth that Amex is more expensive – it is not on these premium cards. Amex gets close to 2.2-2.4% for these types of payments. VISA premium cards are most expensive – anyone who actually knows payments knows this. This could easily put Urbanr out of business within months. We’ve seen it before with X # of other models. Radpad lost $1m+ in 3 months with a “promo” – they thought was sustainable but was bad math on their part. Or Roomipay – they had 2% promo because they thought they could support it but also didn’t do the math. Now it’s at 3% and I suspect will move to 3.5%. There’s no way to make this work – not even close.

What does it take to sign up as a landlord? 🙂

Key is for them not to report it to the IRS as income…

Go to and click the ‘Get Started’ button. It only 2-3 minutes to set up. Good luck – Irad Straus, CEO Urbanr.

Roomipay now requires the landlord’s bank information and the payment is sent via ACH. They are no longer cutting physical checks

Do they send 1099s? If not, I’m signing up.

This kind of comment aleays makes me laugh. Just do your taxes and claim it easy. Income and expenses.

Nah, people want to churn. Hubby – landlord, Wifey – tenant. Easy churn at 1.5%. But you don’t want 1099 because you can’t explain this one away easily.

This guy gets it!

its hilarious to see so much of this Pokemon Go type of “Me Too” fad totally saturate the market. everybody wants to be the middle man for CC rent payments and jump on the “travel for free” train. Last time it was the All In One CC where many failed. Then you have Uber of XYZ. Then you have the crypto currency craze where everyone and their stupid dog who didnt understand shit wanted in. Now everyone lost money. Will see where this goes. SMH.


“Now everyone lost money”

Not sure what he means since all major cryptos are still up a very large amount since last year. What happened in Q1 2018 was just a normal market correction. Crypto is still very healthy.

This thing is dead — they require landlords to ONLY accept payment through their platform if they sign up. “TENANTS MAY NOT PAY THE LANDLORDS BY ANY OTHER MEANS OTHER THAN THE SITE AND LANDLORDS MAY NOT ACCEPT SUCH PAYMENT. ”

Good luck convincing a real landlord

Not to mention that’s illegal at least in California. Landlords have to accept at least two forms of payments, including one cash equivalent (i.e. check or ACH).

Thanks for the info

I couldn’t find that rule on their web site – can you link to where you found it?

WHAT ARE YOU QUOTING? You are just making things up at this point @Frank

This will only interest me if they take Amex.

Amex cards (more specifically, MR cards) are the only ones that require 100% organic spending to me. For the rest I’ll just take the same old routes.

Amex not allowed

Renter- Husband
Landlord- Wife

Easy MSR/MS at 1.5%

but do they send 1099

Only if the landlord makes $20k or 200 transactions or lives in VT or MA.

Their website looks totally fly by night and has virtually no details on their policies… One thing I did notice was that they have a co-mingled account – so that if something goes wrong, the landlord may never see their money… As a landlord, I’d stay far away from this.

Even as a tenant it may not be a good idea. If things go south with the landlord, a cancelled check is hard to dispute. With a payment service, what do you do, save a screenshot of the website? What if you paid but landlord claim the payment wasn’t received? What a mess.

“My name is Gabriel. We are so glad to have you as a customer at! I am reaching out from our compliance team and have a quick follow up regarding your request to pay rent online through Urbanr. We noticed that the names of both the tenant and landlord are similar. Could you be so kind as to provide a dated & signed copy of the lease? In cases where the last names of counterparties match we require additional documentation for our Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. We, unfortunately, can only process rent payments on apartment leases. Thanks for understanding and I truly appreciate your time. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

typo in 2nd paragraph – “you’re”

DP: didn’t code as travel on CIP

What was the coding?

I’m not sure how to find the actual code, I looked on the visa supplier locator and couldn’t find it. Chase just shows it as miscellaneous

anyone succeeded to add an owner/landlord that is not private person, but a property management company (kind of “NNN Realty Group LLC”)? They request specifically a FirstName/LastName…

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