The Facts About Online Payments
Industry professionals share data and experiences with the adoption of online payment options to create a more convenient, efficient rent-collection process for resident and onsite staff alike.
Many consumers today only have a checkbook to be able to pay rent. With the prevalence for e-commerce, online payment for rent would seem like a straightforward process. But apartment communities have been slower to adopt online payments than expected. Why?
Apartment communities claim residents’ reluctance to embrace online payment process as a reason for not offering it as a payment option. Kate Hampton, VP of ResidentPay of Entrata, recommended in a recent webinar finding out why residents are concerned about going paperless, and helping them through the transition. If residents are still hard-pressed to adopt online payment mechanisms, be sure to consult legal counsel to make sure you follow appropriate regulations for communicating about, and accepting and processing checks.
However, Hampton notes a recent National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) study in which 79 percent of residents noted they prefer to pay online. Another NMHC study noted that two-thirds of adults living in apartment communities are less than 45 years old, so it’s highly likely that residents are connected and tech-savvy enough to handle the online payment process. The key to marketing the process is to highlight the convenience factor.
The Automated Clearing House (ACH) is another factor deterring apartment communities from implementing online payments, namely because of the fees the community will have to absorb the fees or charge residents more. Andrew Rowley, director of operations at Fairfield Residential, shared his company’s experience with the absorption process — in short that the heavy adoption of the online payment process by residents at Fairfield properties freed up considerable office time to dedicate to other activities, which saved in manpower what was being paid in fees.
Online payments also assist with decreasing liability and delinquency, because of the potential for automation and taking the human error component out of payment processing. The added convenience can increase resident satisfaction as well.