A steady flow of on-time rent payments is a vital component of any property management business. Landlords need timely payments to ensure they can pay their own bills and maintain a steady cash flow. While tenant screening is the first step to ensuring on-time payments, it’s also important to offer convenient payment options. Do you accept rent payments online yet? If not, here are a few benefits to consider.
Reasons to accept rent payments online
What should you be thinking about how to collect rent payments online? Here are just a few of the benefits:
The security of not dealing with large sums of cash
Easier for tenants to make real-time payments
Low processing fees depending on the online payment method
You can add late fees automatically
It keeps all your financial details in one place
Exploring traditional vs online payment methods
Of course, whether online rent payments are right for you will depend on the size and nature of your landlord business. You should factor in considerations such as:
Number of rental units
Physical distance from rental units
Desire for personal interaction with tenants
Tech-savviness of you and your tenants
It makes far more sense to collect rent payments online if you manage multiple properties and live at a distance from your tenants. If your tenants rent out a single unit in your home, more traditional methods might apply.
Traditional payment methods include paper checks, cash, and money orders. Yet many landlords or property managers, these are far more inconvenient due to security issues, fees, and longer processing times.
How to accept rent payments online
If you’ve decided that you want to accept rent online, you’ll have several options to choose from.
Property management software: Comprehensive software allows you to screen tenants, collect applications, market your rental units, and accept online payments all from one single platform. You and your tenants can add financial details to the system to enable quick and easy online transfers.
ACH bank transfers: Your tenants simply need to authorize their bank account information and opt in to recurring payments. Their rent will be taken out of their account automatically each month and transferred into your own account, all electronically.
Mobile payments: You probably already use apps like Venmo and PayPal to send money to friends and family. These work equally well for businesses, although there are added fees to consider. Zelle is an app offering free transfers, with instant deposits going straight into your business bank account.
Digital wallets: Mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay offer yet another way to transfer money online, and they can be set up to send and receive recurring payments. Tenants can add a bank account-linked debit card to their virtual wallet and use it to make instant rent payments online.
The best way to accept rent payments online will depend on personal preference as well as the number of tenants you serve. For example, larger businesses could benefit from specialty software, while smaller businesses might prefer to stick to money transfer apps.
Tips for success when you accept rent online
Some customers might be technology-averse and prefer the comfort of writing a check. Others will want the convenience of paying from their smartphone. It’s usually best to offer more than one payment method, and many landlords will choose a blend of traditional and online outlets to serve the highest percentage of customers adequately. Another factor to keep in mind is that no matter which method you choose, you must make your payment terms clear. Establish a fixed due date and penalties for late payments, no matter the payment method.
Ultimately, the best way to accept rent payments online will be dependent on your business structure and location. Yet you can use the tips above to help facilitate smoother, easier transfers for you and your tenants.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.