Housing is by far the biggest expense for the average American household, and more people than ever are renting their homes. Many struggle to make rent, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, and others are forced to cut other necessities to afford rent at the start of each month.
A vast majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, which often makes the 1st of the month a scary deadline. If a check comes late, you missed work for any reason, or lost your job, the rigid rent due date can leave you helpless after one incident. If rent payments were a bit more flexible, it could make life easier for millions of renters.
What is Flex?
Flex is an app (available on iOS and Android) dedicated to making rent more accommodating. It functions a bit like a credit card for rent, but without sky-high fees. If you sign up for Flex, they’ll pay your landlord at the start of the month, and you pay them back based on your schedule by the end of the month.
The goal is to allow renters to pay on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on what works best for them. The app analyzes your finances and suggests the best payment plan, but you can tweak it however you like.
As long as you make your payments to Flex on time, your rent payment will be automatically covered monthly. If you miss a payment your plan will be paused, but Flex doesn’t charge any late fees.
Flex can only work with landlords who accept e-checks or payments through ACH. You’ll need to link your payment portal with Flex when signing up, and they’ll take over your payments.
How Does Flex Make Money?
Flex runs on a monthly membership model, charging $14.99 per month for its services. There are no fees on flex though, so you’ll only ever pay that flat rate. As mentioned above, missing payments will halt your account, but you won’t get hit with any extra expenses.
Is Flex Worth It?
In principle, Flex may make a lot of sense for plenty of renters who need a bit more wiggle room on payments. The cost isn’t crazy, but $130 per year isn’t a negligible expense. Flex ideally works great for renters who live paycheck-to-paycheck, as long as the cost of the service isn’t hurting them too.
While it depends entirely on your own financial situation, Flex should be able to help plenty of people take more control over their rental.
The Bottom Line
The platform isn’t compatible with every landlord or payment system, nor is it perfect for every renter. It does, however, provide a potentially valuable service for the millions of Americans that struggle to make rent on the first of the month. Since payments still need to be made within the month, it can’t cure long term financial woes, but it can help make a difference for people facing hiccups in their life or work schedule.