New Site Offers Cash Back for Paying Rent Online
While other existing Web sites help renters pay their rent on time through automatic credit card payments, the newly-launched Williampaid.com is tacking on some eye-popping incentives, such as allowing roommates to split their payment online and cash-back opportunities to either shop online or pay back school loans.
"In the end, it's a win-win for everyone," said WilliamPaid CEO Evan Silverman in a press release. "Landlords get paid ontime and roommates avoid needless drama."
Akin to accruing airline miles or credit card points, those who pay rent online as a member of the service can get cash-back on merchandise purchased from hundreds of stores partnering with the site like Target, Home Depot, The Container Store, iTunes and the Gap.
But let's say the fiscal situation in your three-bedroom apartment is under control, but you're angered about reimbursment for the cable bill (which is in your name) or the untouched grocery list on the kitchen counter or your roommate's overnight guest that has practically moved-in.
Well, the site is trying to solve those domestic imbroglios, too.
Under a tab called "roommate connection," the cohabiting can electronically fill out a legal agreement on how to pay the rent and other bills (or consequences for the failure to do so), how to divvy up the security deposit, and how to live with each other, which is essentially a negotiated code on smoking, chores, parties, overnight guests and any sort of future dilemma you can imagine. (But this part is not free. It costs a one-time fee of roughly $10).
Sharing bills, lists and emergency contacts via mobile phone is another feature you and your roomies can utilize, so you don't have to ask your roommate to anty up for the cable bill every month on a Post-it note.
Other renters might be lured by improving or building credit through the site's bill verfication system, which tracks payments to landlords and traces past rent dues made up to three years ago. However, this record-keeping feature costs a nominal fee of $4.17 each month.
Unfortunately, even this cleverly enhanced rent-paying site can't promise roommate bliss. If at the end of the year you and your roommates are parting ways, perhaps the money you saved at Target can go towards funding a really cool junior one-bedroom.