I'm a new landlord and have been looking for a rental application and most if not all of the apps I found online ask for bank account numbers and credit card numbers. Is it me or is this really a little too much information to share with other people? I would run, not walk, if I was looking for an apartment and had to fill that out. I understand how balances and minimum payments may affect the ability to pay rent but what does providing account numbers do for the landlord? I simply crossed that entire section out for my prospective tenants but wanted to check with you if there is any merit in asking for it. With social security numbers, addresses, names, and all of the other info supplied (I also don't ask for dates of birth), we are just asking for identity theft. Thoughts?
My company provides online applications for independent landlords and we do require credit card information for the sole purpose of the tenant paying an application fee. When they fill out the application, they pay for the screening report to be run on themselves. That way the landlords can quickly have all of the information they need to make a decision on that particular applicant. Their personal information (credit card and social security number) is not shared with the landlord. This protects both sides through the application process. I'm sure that may be what you are seeing.
This is precisely why I believe online applications are a much safer alternative to paper applications. If you were to require a paper application, all of this sensitive information is in your hands where it can get lost of stolen. We've seen lots of tenants fear this and move towards preferring online applications. As long as your online application is coming from a safe and reputable company, you have nothing to fear.
Does this answer your question? Please reach out if there is anything I can do!
The reason you would want to collect the banking information is to make it easier for you or a collection agency to find the source of their money if things go bad on the backside and there is a judgement or other monies owed trying to be recovered. To play devils advocate, I would be concerned about an applicant who doesn't want me to know where they bank.
Thank you both for your reply.
It makes sense for online applications to ask for credit card numbers if there is an application fee. I downloaded several free applications for potential tenants to fill out and turn in directly to me which asked for credit card numbers, bank account numbers, loan account numbers and all of the related information. I only rented twice when I was younger and did not/would not provide this information to a landlord nor was I asked for it.
You bring up a good point about collections, I haven't thought about. Would it be enough to ask where the bank accounts are held instead of asking for account numbers?
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