One of the biggest pains in being a Landlord is collecting the rent. Whether “The check is in the mail” or consistently late tenants, what makes owning rental property so rewarding (the money), can often be the most difficult part of ongoing property management. That’s probably why it’s one of the most important parts of the job.
Over the past few years, more and more companies have entered the online rental payment space, targeting different markets and users. They use different technologies and different options, but the desired end result is the same: fast, effortless rent collection.
We’ve collected some of the most popular rent payment solutions available online, and organized them so you can find the ones that best meet your needs. Before we get started, let’s take an overview of the various methods of payment, as we will encounter these terms often as we go through the list:
ACH: Stands for Automated Clearing House. How banks in the USA transfer money between accounts. Typically takes 3-5 days for a payment to “clear”, meaning have rental funds available for use.It is often the cheapest method of receiving rent payment after checks.
Credit Card Rate/Fees: The amount a business (in this case, you, the landlord), pays to accept credit card payments. Usually varies between 1.9%-4% of the total amount charged.
Demand Draft: A someone antiquated, but still in use method. Allows you, with pre-existing authorization, to print customer checks and then deposit them yourself. Not technically online but still important to know about.
Pay at Kiosk or Store: More popular in the Affordable Housing segment of renting, this lets tenants deposit the rent directly at neighborhood 7-11. Great for tenants without checking accounts, aka the “underbanked”.
Rent Payment companies seem to come and go all the time. Before you sign up with any of them, make sure you know how they process your money and how long they’ve been in business. Do they have escrow for your funds? Are they insured? What happens if they go out of business? How much money have they processed this month? As with anything involving money, do your due diligence!
Accepting Rental Payment via ACH
These solutions are specifically oriented for Landlords and Smaller Property Managers to accept direct deposit rent payments:
RentMerchant.com: Minimum of $10-$30, depending on the plan you use. The stock photo image and website did not instill confidence.
Rentific: Offers free non expedited ACH payments, or a more complicated fee structure for under 48 hour payments. We found the site difficult to navigate and the pricing hard to understand.
eRentPayment: Pricing was hard to understand, but signup is free! They also allow reporting to credit bureaus, but it is complex and difficult in terms of late payments.
ClearNow: One of the more expensive options, costs a minimum of $14.95 a month. Has a somewhat cumbersome online signup process.
RentaLutions: Jack of All Trades Solution, pricing ranges from 0-$99/month. Specifically built for smaller landlords and property managers (they only seem to cover up to 30 units).
SimplifyEm: Like Rentalutions, part of a broader set of tools for smaller property managers.
Cozy – a silicon valley startup, they don’t charge anything for rent payments (yet!). Make most of their money with an experian credit report.
RentShare – geared more towards tenants then landlords, claims to offer free payments for the Landlord receiving the rent.
RentecDirect – This smaller property management software solution charges landlords $2 per transaction.
ACH Payment Solutions for MultiFamily and Larger Property Managers:
How do we know these solutions are meant for the larger property management companies out there? Easy – there’s no pricing on these sites. If you need to talk to a sales rep, then you’re not looking for smaller landlords as customers. Many of these solutions also offer advanced features, such as check scanning, accounting, and more.
PayYourRent – beyond a slick website, we’re not sure what they do.
PayClix – one of the original online rental solutions, since 2000.
ClickPay – also offers check scanning and lockbox services.
PayLease – after its merger with Ocius, offers a complete suite of resident billing, online payments, utility invoices and submetering.
Klik – an old school solution for larger corporations, using their KliknPlay technology.
RentMoola – a newer “startupy” company, their website doesn’t really make it clear what they do.
PaymentServiceNetwork – another enterprise and utility oriented company, primarily active in the multifamily space.
JetPay – a NASDAQ listed payment company with integrations in many property management software/services.
PayRentChex – Offers complete rental payment and credit reporting.
ClickPayRent: The broken website images definitely do not inspire
Property Management Software that Includes Online Payment
Most modern day property management software will include several different payment methods and options. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the more widespread solutions and how they let you accept resident payments online.
AppFolio – the 500 lbs gorilla of the property management software space. Starts at $200/month with extra fees for rent payments.
Entrata – built more for multifamily then property management, also includes a rent payment module. You’ll need a sales call for pricing.
TrueRent – a newer player in the space, the first 50 units are free.
RentManager – integrates with both JetPay and PayLease. Also includes an online check scanning module.
RentPost – complex pricing structure and underwriting required.
PropertyManagerCloud – No indication of how ACH is processed or what it costs, the unlimited plan is $95.
Buildium – Accepting online payments within the platform costs an additional $99 set up fee, and then 50 cents a transaction.
Non Landlord Specific Ways of Accepting Payments Online
While there are plenty of solutions specifically targeting the rental market, the payment industry is growing exponentially. Many landlords use companies not specifically aligned with renting and property management to accept payments online. There are many of these companies, we’ve listed the ones with a track record and history that we feel comfortable with.
PayPal – ye old standby. Rates will vary on how your tenant chooses to pay. Beware the dreaded account freeze.
Dwolla – Requires users to signup, but has some of the cheapest payment rates, especially for the little guy – only 25 cents!
Venmo – Popluar among millenials, allows users to split payments.
Square – allows you to accept credit card payments with an iPad or other smartphone.
Stripe – simple credit card payment system built for the web. Instant onboarding. ACH coming soon!
Alternative Methods of Collecting the Rent
RentPad – focused on tenants, allowing them to pay by credit card, and sends the landlord a check.
PayNearMe – let’s the underbanked pay in cash at places like 7-11.
Demand Draft Software – google this keyword to find a long list of companies that let you print out a tenant’s check without their signature and deposit it.
Bank Bill Pay/Online Deposit – many banks will allow your tenants to initiate an ACH payment or pay you with Bill Pay. It’s the most simplest, and often cheapest, option!
How do you accept rental payments? What have you found the best way to accept rental payments, both online and off? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!