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How I Paid Rent While Eternally Waiting for Financial Aid

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How I Paid Rent While Eternally Waiting for Financial Aid

Picture Courtesy of Sodanie Chea

How I Paid Rent While Eternally Waiting for Financial Aid

If you’ve ever needed financial aid to make it through California’s university system, then you’re quite familiar with how long that money actually takes to arrive…

If you’ve ever needed financial aid to make it through California’s university system, then you’re quite familiar with how long that money actually takes to arrive.

For students without sports scholarships or trust funds, this complicates life in myriad ways. First, your semester tuition is almost always due before your aid arrives (funny how that works), so that goes straight to my credit card with a 0% intro APR. Second, if you’re like me, working part-time while going to school full-time, you’re likely relying on a portion of your aid to help with rent, transportation and all those late night frozen pizzas and sodium-soaked soups called “Top” Ramen.

Such is my situation. Classes started in late August and I’m still waiting on this supposed financial aid check. It’s like this every semester—fear and uncertainty over its arrival time, whether it got lost in the mail, whether it will arrive at all, etc.

Well, last week, with only a few hundred dollars in my checking account, I was really starting to get worried that I wouldn’t be able to pay the rent on time. Lucky for me, I came across a Business Insider article on a rental app called RadPad and the company’s newest offering: Pay with RadPad, the ability to make online rent payments with a credit or debit card.

This, of course, piqued my interest. Without sufficient funds in my checking account to cover my portion of our October rent, I opted to put my share of the rent (happens to be $550) on my credit card. RadPad charges 3.25% of the month’s rent to process a credit card transaction, so I ended up paying an additional $17.86 so I could use my credit card. However, because I used my Capital One Quicksilver card, which gives me 1.5% cash back on all purchases, I got $7.50 cash back—so it really only cost me less than $10 to pay my rent on time!

Essentially, RadPad saved me from the embarrassment of having to ask my brand new roommate if he could spot me a couple hundred bucks, or worse, having to pay my rent late (my landlord charges me $25 if the rent is more than three days late). I’d say I made the best decision considering my situation.

Lo and behold, RadPad paid my rent on time without any complications. I saved face and actually enjoyed (no I really did!) using RadPad to pay my rent. The experience of setting up my payment was so easy, taking only a couple minutes.

Though part of me had initial reservations about how this service would work, Pay with RadPad quelled my concerns by sending email updates on the status of my payment—from charge confirmation, to check dispatch, to a reminder on the due date, and lastly, that my landlord received and cashed my check.

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the process was and will likely use Pay with RadPad next month as well, opting to use my debit card next month (flat fee of $4.95) provided my financial aid arrives by then. If not, it’s good to know I have options.

Michael Hernandez

Michael Hernandez is a senior at California State University, Long Beach, studying business and journalism. A central valley native, he moved to southern California to finish his education last summer and isn’t leaving anytime soon. When he’s not writing, studying or reading Bukowski, he’s likely exploring Long Beach’s diverse nightlife. Michael graduates in May 2015 with plans to either become a struggling writer or run for president (TBD).

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