Why online payments versus the checkbook? In a world where you can buy almost everything online, rent or maintenance fees are one of the few monthly costs that still require a paper check.  But what are the benefits to the residents, owners and managers of these properties to offer electronic payments?

 

The Benefit to Residents

Electronic rent payments can present a laundry list of benefits to tenants.  Aside from removing the hassle of writing checks every month, tenants can save both time and money by making their rent payments online.  Setting up automatic recurring payments has made it easy to make on-time payments each month and avoid any pesky late fees.

The multiple payment options offered to tenants allow them to choose the option that works best for them.  E-check (ACH) provides tenants with an easy way to connect their checking or savings account to their rent payments.  For a fee, credit card usage has huge benefits, including reward points, building a better credit history, and even buying more time if you don’t have enough money in your bank account.

The convenience of paying rent online has proven to be the number one reason tenants choose to use this type of service, but with additional features such as rent reminders, payment confirmation emails and a viewable history of payments, tenants can feel secure about making their payment online.

 

Property Owners & Managers

In a growing and competitive landscape with social media and other outlets for residents to communicate with one another, offering online payments has slowly become an expected “amenity”.  As checks become outdated for other monthly utilities, residents expect the same of their monthly rent or dues check.  Owners and managers that want to stay ahead of competition and keep renters and shareholders happy are working towards electronic payment options including being able to pay by credit card.

Although there is time, effort, and a cost associated with onboarding this type of service, the benefits far outweigh the costs.  No posting errors, no trips to the bank, no waiting for the checks to clear, no residents calling to complain their check was not received or account not updated.  Residents feel like they are in control of their payments, and managers get funds faster and more secure.

 

What are the risks? Is it really safe?

Always “know your vendor”.  There are many companies that offer online payment solutions and if you don’t do your “due diligence” you may be signing up with the wrong company.  Offering online payments is a great way to stay competitive, increase cash flow, and become more efficient in your collection process, but it’s important to team up with the right company that will protect your information along with your residents.  Call references, discuss the security they have in place, and do your homework.

Some electronic payment companies offer other competitive services such as E-Billing and Lockbox Services.  As companies try to differentiate themselves and stay in touch with their communities, this can act as another “going green” effort that saves you time and money.

Thinking about adding electronic payments to your property or properties? A good vendor with a good track record is ClickPay at 1.800.533.7901. ClickPay offers a hands-on solution to online payments exclusively for the real estate industry where check writing used to be the only solution.

 

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