Review: RadPad

This post has been updated with new information.  Please read this, and then check out the new post here.

RadPad

RadPad essentially offers to pay your rent using a card.  Debit or credit, and they process the payment and then mail the check for you.  It is easy to use, but not a good idea for everyone.  They charge a 3% fee on credit card transactions, which makes it hard to justify for normal spending.  Think about it, do you want to spend an extra $3 for every $100 worth of rent?  Bills are tough enough as is!  However, in a few circumstances, RadPad can be a great tool to earn special card perks, or to meet a tough minimum spend on a new card.

Keep in mind you’ll also have to float the money a bit longer.  Say you’re used to paying rent on the first of the month.  Well, if your rent is due on the first of the month, RadPad will charge your card somewhere around the 25th or 26th day of the previous month, in my experience.  If you’re using a debit card, this means you have to have your rent money about one week earlier than you’re used to, which could be hard to do.

The sign up process is quite easy.  You only need to fill out your name and address, your landlord’s name, the amount of your rent payments, and the address you send your rent check to.  I was able to set all this up for the check to be sent to my name at my own address (since we just leave the check in a cabinet in the basement).  RadPad also

You get a call shortly after setting everything up.  Very shortly.  A California phone number called me about 30 seconds after my account was finished, to see “if it was really me.”  It was an automated robot voice, which was actually quite comical, and I hit 1 to reaffirm my identity, and then the automated call hung up.

Similarly, you get an email for verification.  Verify your email to ensure “you’re not a robot.”  You also get a welcome email, explaining that it will take a few hours to verify all of your information.  In previous investigating, I’ve talked to some reps from RadPad, and have a feeling this is to prevent anyone trying to create some kind of manufactured spending…

MANUFACTURED SPENDING?!?!?  NO!  The horror!!

Once your details have been verified, you get another email, confirming that your rent will, in fact, be charged to your debit card.  I received my email a few minutes later, even though the original message states verification could take a few hours.  In your RadPad account, you can see all the details you need under the “My Rent” heading at the top of the page.  This includes the date your card will be charged, the payee on your check, and the type of card you’ll be using.

It’s worth noting that changing the card on file is extremely easy.  That kind of flexibility makes it very useful for minimum spend requirements.  Although I’m sure if you have multiple cards with a bank, and they continue to see huge purchases designed to meet minimum spend requirements, they’ll get antsy..

RadPad also can schedule your rent to be charged to your card and mailed to your landlord, month after month.  The scheduling tool is very helpful, especially if you plan on using the service regularly.

Is it worth it?

For points or miles?  The short answer is no.

Only use RadPad if you’re using a debit card (no fee), and simply like the ease of use, rather than writing or mailing a check.  A 3% fee for credit card usage makes this service much harder to justify.

For me, the benefit was with regard to a Citi Checking account offer.  50,000 AAdvantage miles after $1,000 in debit card purchases and at least 2 online bill pays within 60 days.  I wasn’t going to be able to hit $1,000 on my debit card without getting creative.  That’s where RadPad comes in.  RadPad is a debit card purchase, and codes as such, allowing me to hit my target without any additional spending (since I pay rent every month anyway).

The Last Word

In certain very rare circumstances, it may be worth it to some folks to put the spending on a credit card (with the 3% fee).  There are only two reasons I can see that justify this:

  • Elite Status Qualification:  typically requires a very high spend.  RadPad charges a 3% fee for credit cards, so you have to be making back at least 3%.  Since most travel cards only offer 1% back on “Business Services,”  you’d have to get at least 2% of the cost of your rent back in other benefits.  If you’re planning on doing a lot flying, this may be worth it to you.  Elite status can be very helpful on long flights, long lines, and saving money on booking tickets.
  • Minimum Spending Requirement:  I’ll break this one down in a similar fashion.  Let’s say you have a card that needs a $2,000 spend for 50,000 rewards points or miles (a pretty common situation).  Your rent is $2,000/month.  You use RadPad and your credit card to pay the rent, this costs you a total of $2,060.  You hit your spend requirement, and get the 50,000 miles!  If you value your miles at 1 cent/mile, you just got $500 worth of miles.  So, your return is actually really good!  You net $440 worth of travel!

So, as you can see, it depends on your circumstances.  Barring a very useful and worthwhile elite status, or a minimum spend you absolutely cannot meet otherwise, I don’t see RadPad + credit card being worth it to many folks.  No matter what, you’re spending more on your rent then you should, since you’re paying an additional 3% fee to use RadPad.

As always, your financial decisions are completely your own.  It’s totally up to you whether or not the 3% higher rent is worth some more miles or points.  If you’ve ever used RadPad or a similar system, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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