In the sea of options for rental payment methods, it seems that the ease and convenience of online payment has traditionally been reserved for the biggest fish. Large apartment complexes and real estate conglomerates have long enjoyed the luxury status of being the only ones to offer a digital option. But that distinction is quickly fading.
With improvements in technology and more and more companies vying for the attention of property managers, it’s become easier and more affordable than ever for small to mid-size landlords to set up a payment option online. The digital wave isn’t coming, it’s here. Read on to get your feet wet and dive in to a whole new world of possibilities.
One Fish, Two Fish
There are plenty of options within the digital payment realm. If you’ve done even the slightest bit of research on the topic, you’ve surely come across the term ACH. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. It’s a system of authorized channels managed and regulated by the Federal Reserved that automatically processes financial transactions. You’ve likely interacted with the ACH already in your daily life. Think eCheck or direct deposit. This is all work of the ACH network. Users appreciate the speed and affordability of this method.
Another digital option for landlords to offer their tenants is a “pay by card” approach. Because credit is a method of payment that most renters are well familiar with, it has a very low barrier to entry and adoption. The security and speed of paying by card is something that naturally comes with the territory. And while some may argue that the increased processing fees make credit card payments a less appealing option, platforms like Innago have a way of handling them that will easily put those concerns to rest.
Hang Ten for Your Tenants
According to a recent study by Entrata, a leading online payment provider, 79% of renters prefer to pay rent online. That is by far the vast majority. Just because you haven’t heard the rumblings of dissatisfaction from your tenants regarding the lack of payment options, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t there.
And while you may still think that doing business by paper check is the most secure way, you might want to consider the facts. A recent Consumer Report on Identity Fraud by Javelin Strategy & Research had one big takeaway when it comes to protecting your payments. It urged consumers to enroll in direct deposit and use online bill pay wherever possible. The reason? Taking your transactions online reduces risk, increases the trackability, and makes identity theft easy to spot and prevent.
Ready to Take the Plunge?
It can be scary to make the ultimate jump to digital. But your tenants aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the change. Quite possibly the biggest advantage of using an online payment platform can be summed up in one word: automation.
On the tenant side, they can quickly and easily set-up auto-pay, which is a huge win for all parties. Not only do they have the peace of mind knowing that their bills are being paid fully and consistently on time, but you also have the considerable business advantage of knowing the same.
When it comes to other automation perks, consider the deposit process. That’s right, from your perspective, there is none! There’s no “receive funds” button or trip to the bank. Once they are sent by the tenant (or by the system if they’ve automated) you’ll have access in 24 hours.
And forget about your bulging binder of receipts. All recordkeeping and payment tracking is, you guessed it, completely automated. You will have full visibility of all activity without taking a single note, mental or otherwise, yourself.
Whether it’s the convenience for the benefit of your tenants or the ease and usability for your own competitive advantage, there are so many reasons to dip a toe in the online rent payment waters. And if you do your research and find the right property management software that fits your business needs, you’ll never feel like you’re going to go overboard. So what are you waiting for? Cowabunga!