The easiest way to pay rent for free, including internationally, is not using any of the traditional slow and expensive banking technologies we have relied on in the past. We want fast, instant, and fully under our control.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard of Coinbase and the recent IPO that sent its valuation up close to $100 Billion dollars, and $60 Billion today. Most people think of Coinbase as a place to buy and sell cryptocurrency. But it’s actually much more than that.

Coinbase has actually developed a payment transfer technology behind the scenes that anyone can use for free to move money around. It’s called USDC, and you can use it to transfer money to pay rent, in the US or internationally!


Using USDC

USDC is a stable coin developed by Coinbase and Cirlce. This means it can always be exchanged 1-1 for a US dollar, for free, on the Coinbase platform and other platforms that support USDC, like Binance. You can feel confident transferring back and forth between US dollars and USDC, knowing that the 1-1 exchange rate will hold up.


Send money with Coinbase

The Coinbase interface and dashboards make the experience very friendly and intuitive. How does it work? The landlord and any tenants who want to send their rent payment will need to set up a coinbase account. Once we have a Coinbase account, we will deposit and withdraw US dollars into and out of Coinbase using the old ACH payments system. We’ll move the money between landlord and tenant using USDC.

This can all happen in a few minutes and a few clicks. Certainly easier than writing and depositing a check or wire into a back. And once you get the hang of things, it’s just as easy as a digital platform like Venmo, which doesn’t actually allow for payments like rent in its terms of service.


Step by step - show me how it’s done!

Here I’ll walk you through the steps to make this transfer using Coinbase. To learn, I suggest following along and sending a dollar to a friend to see this process in action. By the end, you’ll feel completely comfortable making a rent payment over this network.

1. Sign up for Coinbase and validate your account

Head over to coinbase.com and sign up for an account. You will need to make sure to verify your personal details to deposit and withdraw US dollars.

2. Transfer money into Coinbase

The first step is to transfer your money into Coinbase. Once you’ve created your coinbase account and validated your details, you should be on the Coinbase dashboard. Click the Buy/Sell button in the top right header to deposit US dollars. We will buy USDC (Coinbase USD Coins) directly, as we’ll be using them as our transaction medium anyways.

Buy USDC into your Coinbase Account


Confirm the 1-1 exchange, with no fees, to buy USDC and Buy Now.


Preview Buy USDC


3. Enable Instant Sends for USDC on Coinbase

Turn on Instant Sends for free transfers, otherwise a transfer will cost anywhere from $2 to $20 dollars in fees! This process is entirely free so if you see a fee somewhere, something is wrong!

To enable Instant Sends, simply:

  • Go to coinbase.com on a desktop computer.
  • Go to your Privacy Settings.
  • Toggle the switch to enable Instant Sends


Enable Instant Sends for USDC on Coinbase



4. Get the landlord’s USDC address

Grab the USDC Address for the landlord. The tenant will send USDC to this USDC Address.

Click the Send/Receive button in the top right, then click the Receive tab.

Copy the Address and save it for the next step. This is the landlord’s USDC Address.

View Address to Receive USDC on Coinbase



5. Send USDC to the landlord’s USDC address

Again, click the Send/Receive button in the top right, this time use the Send tab.

In the To field, enter the USDC Address of the landlord. Enter any note that will help describe the transaction, such as that this is a transfer of payment for rent, with the month for which rent is covering.


Send USDC to Address on Coinbase


Onto the confirmation screen. This is an example of someone who has not turned on instant transfers. You can see, Coinbase tells us there will be a $7.18 network fee! This is an ethereum gas fee, which mean we will need to turn on Instant Sends. Do that and try again.


Confirm Send USDC to Address on Coinbase with fee


This is how things should look, with no Coinbase or network fees. Free rent payments!


Confirm Send USDC to Address on Coinbase without fee


Do your final validation and the money should be available right away in the landlords account.


Confirm Send USDC to Address on Coinbase final validation


The landlord can now do the reverse of what we did originally, and Withdraw the USDC into a US dollars bank account using an ACH transfer for free.


What is this? I see a fee!

Keep an eye on the Coinbase fees, network fees, and total. The fees should be zero dollars! This will be the case if you enabled instant transfers for all parties involved. If someone hasn’t enabled instant transfers, the transaction will take place on the Etherem blockchain, and you will be forced to pay gas fees. But this is free for all parties all around! No fees for us! Make sure everyone has enabled Instant Transfers, as we did above.


Successful Rent Payment with Cryptocurrency

Congratulations, you just executed a free rent payment using cryptocurrency! Crypto payments are becoming more and more common. There are plenty of other ways to pay using cryptocurrency as well, with other exchanges and other cryptocurrencies.

We will explore other ways to use cryptocurrency in the future. If this technology is useful to you, consider using Allen to manage your properties and organize your communication, and except us to start adding integrations to do this exchange automatically for you!