Why you should offer tenants multiple rent payment options

Thomas Backal
Thomas Backal | 4 min. read

Published on June 13, 2013

As a busy property manager, one of the trickiest and yet most crucial parts of your job is getting tenants to pay their rent on time, and in full. In an effort to avoid slow payers and delinquencies, you probably send out friendly reminders when rent is coming due or even incentivize early payments. But perhaps the key to getting people to promptly pay their bills, a study finds, is providing them with multiple (technologically advanced) payment options.

A recent survey conducted by The Marketing Workshop provided some valuable insight into how Americans prefer to pay their bills. What the study found was that people not only like having a bevy of payment methods available to them, but are also growing more and more fond of online and mobile payment channels. Some of the key findings from the study are listed below:

In 2012:

  • 20% of Americans changed how they paid their bills from month to month
  • 75% of Americans:
    • Used at least two bill payment methods each month
    • Said having multiple billing and payment options was “important/very important” to them
    • Who received electronic bills said it helps them manage their finances
  • 8 million online consumers (people who used the Internet at least once a week) paid a bill on a mobile phone—an increase of 41% from 2011
  • 73% of Americans who access the internet at least once a week paid at least one bill online each month

What Your Tenants Think About Rent Payment Options

The study revealed a growing shift in how people are choosing to pay their bills and a transformation to a more digital bill payment world. It is important as a property manager to stay ahead of these changes because, according to the study, those who pay bills online fall behind less often and incur fewer late fees than those who pay offline or by mail. Not only should you be offering digital payment methods to your tenants, you should be encouraging the use of them as well. Here’s why:

  • 25% of infrequent and non-internet users said they had at least one issue paying a bill because they had trouble keeping track of it
  • Infrequent and non-internet users were three times more likely to incur late fees because of bill tracking difficulties, and were also three times as likely to report that they lost a bill that came in the mail (19% versus 6% of online payers)
  • Only 7% of online bill payers said that trouble keeping track of a bill caused a late payment

Why People Prefer Paying Bills Online or On a Mobile Device

Of people who paid bills on a mobile phone or tablet, 50% of them said they did so to save time, 44% said they did so because it offers anytime access, and 43% said they did so because it was most convenient when on the go. Also 69% of Americans who used electronic billing services said they preferred electronic billing because of the convenience, and 31% said they liked electronic bills because they received an email reminder each time a new bill was due.

So, property managers: Take note! Your tenants most likely want to pay their rent online, and you should want them to as well. Not only can it lead to fewer late payments and costly delinquencies, but also can go a long way in improving your tenant relationships. In fact, according to the survey, 37% of Americans who received electronic bills in 2012 said it improved their relationship with the company from which they received the bill.

Don’t let yourself fall behind on technology. Your tenants will appreciate it—and better yet, so will your bottom line.

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Thomas Backal

Thomas Backal works for Lazarus Financial Group, a debt collection agency based in Dallas, Texas.

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