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Online Rent Collection: Mobile App vs. Website—Which is Best?

Online Rent Collection: Mobile App vs. Website—Which is Best?

4 min read
Remen Okoruwa

Remen Okoruwa is the co-founder of RentDrop, a payment app making rent payments more convenient and rewarding for lan...

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The idea of being able to control all your rent collection online seems like an ideal solution. But for the non-tech-savvy, it might also be a daunting thought. There are undoubtedly many reasons why collecting rent online is better than paper checks. But have you thought about the benefits of using a dedicated mobile app to collect rent? What are the differences between a web-based property management solution and a rent collection app?

This article explores the pros and cons of a mobile app versus website rent collection.

What Is the Difference Between a Mobile App and a Website?

Before we go into the specifics of online rent collection, let’s look at the differences between mobile apps and websites.

As you are probably aware, you access a website through your browser—most frequently from your laptop or desktop. Of course, most modern websites are designed for mobile use. And there are plenty of online rent collection solutions that are optimized for mobile devices. Some mobile websites are also designed to work like an app.

A mobile app is different. It’s a piece of software that is installed on mobile devices. It may look remarkably similar to the website, but they are built very differently. Mobile apps tend to be faster, and they have greater functionality. Other advantages of mobile apps are that they are more secure, and you can use them when offline.

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Which Is Best for Online Rent Collection: Mobile Apps or Websites?

Generally, mobile apps have an advantage over websites for collecting rent. More and more people use mobiles instead of desktops. Stats show that 51.3% of web traffic was from a mobile device in the second quarter of 2020. This means that many companies are focusing more on mobile app development. There is now a massive range of rent collection apps to suit the needs of almost any landlord.

Another advantage of mobile rent collection apps is that you have constant access to your business at the touch of your fingers. You can deal with inquiries, regardless of where you are. You don’t need an internet connection to use the app. So, for convenience, mobile apps for rent collection are definitely beneficial.

Mobile apps are superior for manipulating data and building reports in real-time. Many of the apps used by landlords have a whole host of other features aside from online payments. For example, you can access real-time financial transactions, giving you a better idea of your business situation.

There is also security to consider. When dealing with financial transactions, the rent collection app must be secure. After all, you’re dealing with sensitive business data and client information. Mobile apps have better security features as the app store must approve them before making them available to the public.

The potential downside is that you need to update your application, but the benefits outweigh this small detail.

Related: Hands Down, These Are the 5 Hardest Aspects of Being a Landlord

What Features Should You Look for in an Online Rent Collection Mobile App?

1. Payment Method Flexibility & Fee Collection

You will want a mobile app with a wide range of payment options—at least ACH, debit cards, and credit cards. Most free apps allow for ACH payments at no cost. However, many mobile rent collection apps add on fees if tenants pay by debit or credit card.

It’s also a good idea to choose an app with automatic late payment calculations and collection, as this can reduce late payments. Some apps will also let you collect security deposits.

2. Tenant Applications and Screening

Tenant screening is a time-saving feature for both you and the tenant. You can create customized application forms, receive applications, and carry out credit and background checks. Screening tenants is essential to reduce the chances of problems in the future—such as costly evictions. Remember that there are often fees associated with arranging background checks.

Related: Tenant Screening: The Ultimate Guide

3. Adaptability

Because of the recent health pandemic, businesses need to find new ways to support their business. For landlords, this includes things like electronically signing lease documents to streamline the process. Flexi-payments or bi-monthly payments are also great things to be able to offer in these financially challenging times.

4. Built-in Chat

To keep everything in one app, you should look for tools that include built-in communication—SMS, email, or the app’s messaging service. Some apps will also allow you and tenants to send documents to one another. Communication is secure, and you should have the option to send bulk messages and send payment reminders.

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5. Maintenance Management

Maintaining your properties is crucial if you want to maintain full occupancy and with the right tenants. A good mobile app will allow tenants to report maintenance issues and even attach photos or videos. Some will also allow you to assign work to contractors and pay them once the job is done.

Related: The No. 1 Way to Keep Tenants Happy

6. Credit Reporting

On the one hand, reporting late payments to credit bureaus is another way of reducing late payments. However, there is also an excellent reason for reporting those who pay on-time. Knowing that paying their rent on-time helps improve their credit rating—which is a real motivator for tenants.

7. Rental Property Advertising & Listing

Another way to save yourself time and reduce the length of vacancies is to use an app with syndication. The best mobile apps automatically list vacant properties on sites like Facebook, Zillow, and Realtor.com. You can find this as a free feature with some mobile apps.

8. Accountancy Features

A great mobile app for online rent collection will allow you to link multiple accounts, track income and expenses, monitor upcoming bills, and create budgets. You will receive notifications when payments are made, which helps you keep track of payments in real-time. Accounting can take up massive amounts of time, only to be repeated the next month, so this is a must-have feature to keep you organized.

Rent Collection Mobile Apps vs. Rent Collection Websites

Both mobile apps and websites offer fantastic opportunities to collect rent easily. Some well-known property management tools, such as Cozy and Avail, only have web-based solutions. Other rent collection apps such as RentDrop and AppFolio are dedicated mobile apps that include websites for tenants and landlords.

In the end, online rent collection is the easiest and safest way for landlords to collect rent. Before choosing which app to use, check out all of their features to make sure they meet your requirements.

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How do you collect rent from your tenants?

Let’s discuss in the comment section below.