Should You Use Venmo to Collect Rent?

The Pros and Cons of Accepting P2P Payments

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Both landlords and tenants want tenants to be able to pay their rent quickly and easily. Companies like Venmo and Zelle allow funds to be transferred electronically. While it sounds simple, there are pros and cons to these payment options that every landlord should know about.

Key Takeaways

  • Rent payment laws vary from state to state
  • Apps like Venmo and Zelle allow tenants to pay quickly and easily
  • Tenants may not be able to get a refund if they pay the wrong person through a P2P app
  • Landlords cannot decline payments on Venmo and Zelle

Rent Payment Methods Landlords Need to Accept

Landlords may not always have the right to determine what forms of rent payment they will accept, depending on the state laws and the terms of the lease. For example, in Texas, if there is no specific method of payment listed in the lease, the landlord cannot refuse to accept cash payments and must provide a written receipt. You should check the laws in your state and see which forms of rent payment you are legally obligated to accept, if any.

Collecting Rent Online

There are many sites and apps that allow tenants to transfer funds to a landlord. These include sites like Venmo, Paypal and Zelle, all of which require both parties to create an account or to download an app.

Funds will then be transferred electronically between the accounts. Transfer times vary from instantly, when using Zelle, to 30 minutes to 1 business day, when using Paypal. Zelle does not currently charge any transfer fees, but you will incur a fee when using Venmo or Paypal for business transactions.

Pros and Cons of Collecting Rent Online

  • Funds Transfer Quickly

  • Payment is Easy

  • There's a Record

  • Paying the Wrong Person

  • Transaction Fees

  • Partial Payments Automatically Go Through

Pros of Using P2P Apps

There are some great advantages if you allow your tenants to pay rent using payment options like Venmo or Zelle.

Funds Transfer Quickly

These payment apps allow the funds to be deposited directly into your account. The tenant will enter your contact information and the amount they owe and the funds will transfer directly to you. Zelle will transfer the funds instantly if both users have an account, Venmo can take 30 minutes to process and Paypal can take 30 minutes to 1 business day to process the transaction.

Payment is Easy

It's very simple for tenants to pay via PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle. Neither party has to head to the bank to withdraw or deposit funds. Neither party has to drive to another location to pay or collect rent. With the click of a button, money is quickly transferred from one party to the other.

There's a Record

Some P2P services will show you a record of payments from an account holder. Although you should keep your own records, it can be helpful to have a digital trail of payments in case either you or your tenant needs to clarify a misunderstanding.

Cons of Using P2P Apps

There are some potential problems you should be aware of if you decide to accept rent payments through P2P apps.

Paying the Wrong Person

If your tenant doesn't have the correct contact information for you, they might pay the wrong person and might not be able to get their money back. Typically, the tenant would have to contact the person the money was incorrectly sent to in an effort to try and get the money back.


If a tenant sends money to the wrong person via Venmo or Zelle, they can cancel the payment if the recipient doesn't have an account. You can cancel a PayPal payment if the payment is labeled pending or unclaimed.

Transaction Fees

Zelle does not charge any fees, but Venmo and Paypal charge small processing fees for business transactions. People try to get around this fee by not declaring it a business transaction, but you risk having your account closed if the company finds out.

Partial Payments Automatically Go Through

Partial payments will automatically go through on Venmo and Zelle. On PayPal, you can decide to not automatically accept payments. Since you cannot decline a payment, a tenant could send you any amount they want, and the funds are automatically transferred to you. If you are evicting a tenant for nonpayment, the eviction can be cured or stopped if you accept any payment amount from the tenant. Therefore, a tenant could theoretically pay you one dollar through Venmo and stop or delay the eviction process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Venmo a Safe Way To Pay Rent?

There are some risks to having a tenant pay via Venmo. They might send the money to the wrong person. In addition, you cannot decline payments on Venmo, which could impact eviction proceedings.

Can I Use Zelle To Collect Rent?

You can use Zelle to collect rent. Zelle does not charge any transaction fees.

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  1. Texas State Law Library. "Rent."

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