Pay Rent Online?

25 Replies

The last renter I had paid by cash or money order. Now that I will be renting out two units in the next month I am wondering if I should go with an online option to pay rent. How do you collect your rent? Do you use a third party if so what third party do you use?

I used to use a service that would automatically debit their checking account and the deposit into mine. Can't remember the name. Now, I mostly use a professional property manager. But I do have two that make deposits directly into my checking account. They have the account number and just go through the drive through and fill out a blank/counter deposit slip.

ACH payments can be set up between accounts to transfer money. I have one tenant that does that and I think his bank charges him $3 for this transaction.

Chase can do automatic transfers, which I have found to be great b/c I'm not dependent on the postal service.

hope this helps!

I use Intuit Payment Network. It only costs .50 per transaction. I have a link on my website where the tenants just click on it and pay. I also use it for application fees and security deposits. I highly recommend it.

Do it!

You tenants will appreciate it and so will you. Yes there are some small fees but they more than make up for the reduced hassle of going to the bank, etc.

I use an online service (the BP police may not allow mention of the name--message me if you'd like it). I believe the fee is $5 per payment. You can pay the fee, have the tenant pay the fee or split it if you'd like. The tenant makes an ACH payment to the online company. After a brief holding period (3-5 days) the online company makes an ACH payment to my checking account. They provide options for payment reminders, options for late fees and several types of reports. I plan on transitioning more tenants to this service.

The easiest way I have found to keep track of multiple deposits (some of my tenants deposit into a bank account) is simply to set the rent for each property at a different amount. I have rents of $1025, $1035, $1075, $1080, $1225, $1240, etc. Most tenants inform me when they have made a deposit but if they should fail to it is generally fairly easy to identify who is delinquent if a payment is missing.

Michelle Na I tried using the service you mentioned and did not have the same great experience as you.

First, they failed to give me a notice that because I'm in MD, I had to apply to be able to receive payments. So I had to scramble to apply on rent due day when my renter was trying to pay me.

Then, their "change password" feature did not work and I had to call in to get that fixed.

Then when I finally could accept payments, it THEN tells me that it charges 3.25% or whatever if the person pays with a credit card. They kinda hide that bit of info.

The last straw was that my renter still could not pay with her card because of some unknown validation problem. Usually, a system will tell you where the problem is. We gave up and I got cash from her. Now I'm looking for another system.

I use payyourrent.com. Its not perfect. But I love the online payments.

No checks to deposit and great for maintaining payment history - both for the tenant and me.

I also have one tenant that kept bringing cash to my house and leaving it under the mat. I showed them the lease and told them several times that I do not accept any payments in person.

Finally, I gave in and just let them deposit it directly in a business account I had and never use. But I had the bank lock that account so no ACH transactions could be hit against it and no money could be withdrawn other than going to the bank in person.

I would be very afraid of giving out my main account info out as that would make it too easy for someone to enter my account info for some online payment. My main account has over 50k in it at times and I would hate to ever have that account drained by someone even if I could get it returned through fraud. There's still that gap in time where it would be unavailable.

Again, though, I highly recommend the online payment service for collecting rents. I pay the $2 charge so its free for them. And the on time number for payment of rent is always far better from the people that use it compared to the ones that still send in checks.

I'm getting very close to requiring payments via the online payment service. I obviously would have to do that up front though on new tenants only. But I'm wondering if that might not serve as a screening value as well. i.e. anybody that is unwilling to pay online may not be the best payers?

The downside is that may restrict the tenant pool some too.Would be an interesting test though so I'm debating it.

We also use WillimaPaid.com and it is free for us and tenants as long as it is direct debit - if they pay by CC they do get charged

I have a tenant that does not have access to traditional checking account due to past issues managing money. I am getting set up for online payments with the online property manager Buildium and expect that to resolve most issues. But these tenants, as well as others have also paid rent directly into an account at my bank. How do you mitigate the risk of them acting illegally and trying to access funds in the account or overdrawing the account with online activity even though you have the account zeroed out periodically? Is this much of a risk? Am I just being paranoid? I work at a bank and see my share of things that happen, although most of it is either friends, family members, employees etc that did in fact have access to the account or random online hackers that just got certain account info and were able to leverage it. Just curious IF and HOW you mitigate risk when giving tenants your account number to pay rent at the bank.

Thanks

This is timely because I had a few tenants deposit money directly to my bank account as well. Apparently they were depositing cash because a couple of weeks ago my bank (Chase) said they changed their policy so now no one is allowed to deposit cash into an account unless they are an account holder. I experienced this as well a couple of days ago when I had to show ID to deposit cash into my own account!

I asked Chase if I could change the account (i.e., some other type of business account) to accept cash deposits from non-account holders and they said no.

This won't be a problem for most of my tenants, but at least one said that it will be more inconvenient to have to go buy a money order and then go deposit to the bank.

I'll deal with that tenant, but has anyone else experienced this? I can't even transfer money from my account to a family member's account anymore unless I write a check for it. Which is ok but I had to order checks! :-). I get that they want a paper trail, but the transition is going to be a hassle

william paid. if you think about it, it's actually "bill paid", right? :)

love it. it takes a few days to get your money, but you should depend on that money anyway. if you do, you are doing it wrong!

This is definitely a topic I have been watching as well, so thanks for asking the question.  For a few rental properties - I have had good luck with a Wells Fargo business account set up solely to accept rent.  I get a text alert when a deposit is made and then I can transfer the funds to a separate operating account via text or app, so the account remains essentially cash free. So far I have had no problem with tenants depositing cash, check or money order at any Wells Fargo branch.

I give my tenants erentpayment as an option and they seem to like it.  One kept sending rent by mail until the mail didn't reach me once and I had to charge a late fee. So now they all use it.  I've been eating the full $3 per transaction fee since I was testing it and wanted to encourage them to use it.  I may change that to a split when the tenants turn over.  But even at $3 each, I know when the rent is paid, and it's usually in my bank account 4 business days later. No checking the mailbox, snapping pictures of checks or going to the bank for me. I love it.

I've been using Venmo for a few months now. I've found it very easy to set up, and most of my tenants haven't had a problem using it. It's free for the party being paid (you) and only charges a fee to the payer if they use a credit card (no fee if via ACH or debit). Pretty great.

They also have an API for integrating with your website, etc; I'm investigating this now.

I have used WilliamPaid.com in the past, but the one feature that I have yet to find is the ability to reject/not accept partial payments. For instance, if your tenant sends you $750 when it should have been $775. 

So does anyone know of an online payment service that allows you to select a threshold or amount of rent that is acceptable and to reject any deposit less than that? I think WilliamPaid also had the ability to tack on late fees (like many other services), though it was a fairly simple one-time late fee (not a fee for every day late).

@Jeff Blanchard that's a great idea. My friends and I currently use Venmo to pay each other for cab rides and stuff, but I've never thought about setting it up to bill my tenants. It also appears that many people use williampaid. I think I'll look into that as well.

We do a lot of ACH's, we've thought about adding Paypal or a merchant account, but those usually come with fees that make it not worth it, at least in our opinion. 

I use sparkrent for a tenant of mine it is super easy to set up. They onto charge $1 per transaction, and send automatic reminders to the tenants about rent being due. At first it took about 4 or 5 business day, but it's been about 7-8 months now and It is deposited in my account in 1 business day usually.

I also set up a second account for the same tenant to pay me for the utilities. It works well, but I should just have the tenant put them in their name that way I don't have to email them copies of the bills every month and hope they pay. No issues yet, but it is a hassle.

I also have another tenant that mails me checks, and I deposit them online by taking a photo of the check. It's through us bank, it's $.50 per deposited item, but it is still less than the cost if gas to drive to the bank for 1 check.

I may highly consider requiring all future tenants to have rent direct deposited into my account on the due date or, use a sparkrent type service, it is just so hassle free. I am a fairly new land lord, I've only had my property for about a year, but the tenant I inherited paid, by check or cash and was always late, and it was a Constant battle every month we did get her rent and we ended up hiring a lawyer to evict her and she moved out, before the eviction, but still over $800 in lawyer fees. Which I feel is excessive.

Just an update on rent-paying options:

I tried PayNearMe. It is meant for tenants who either don't use the internet for transactions or do not have a bank account. I just received my first rent payment via this service and it worked well, although it took more than the 2 banking days mentioned on the site. Many times, it is also difficult to get in touch with someone from the company if you have questions. They do not tend to respond to emails. However- I like this option for my renters.

Some of my other renters prefer to drive downtown to my bank and deposit it with the teller.

It's nice not having to check my mail for rent.

My two cents. I have looked into a few of those, and all have their faults. (Amazon-are you listening? You could take this nationwide and with your interface get 99% of the market!)  Aside from cost issues, the only one I wouldn't recommend is Williampaid. It is deceptively simple, but like quicksand, hides a nasty experience. It's the clumsiest site I've ever used, nothing is intuitive, and it's impossible to do anything simply. It's as if 99% of the money went to the design and almost nothing to usability. One of the examples is email invites. it actually makes you create text file. I haven't done that since 1985! It's free, but not even worth that.