You invest in your property’s common areas, you update the pool, the gym, the exterior paint color, so why are you still accepting checks? Why are you upgrading everything except for the way you process payments? If you want to be competitive in the industry today, you need to modernize your payment processing. Don’t get stuck in the past! The fastest growing companies are pushing aside traditional methods, they are figuring out what customers want and serving it up on a silver platter. With technology evolving so quickly, your tenants are picking up the pace, and expect efficiency and accessibility in all aspects of life (including how they pay their rent).
In case you need further convincing, the recently published PayPal and FreshBooks eBook, 9 Essential Reasons To Move Your Payments Online, makes the decision to accept online payments a no-brainer.
1.) Future Proof Your Company
Millennials are joining the workforce, renting apartments, buying homes, and not only want, but expect the ability to make payments electronically. Paper-based transactions will someday become obsolete, and you need to be ahead of the game. Your long-term business success relies on the ability to anticipate the future and prepare for it, before you get left behind. If you are afraid of innovation, beware! Heed clear signs of change, or become a Blockbuster or Borders.
2.) Get Paid Faster
Number two is actually a two-part answer; you should have the ability to get paid quickly and have access to your funds faster. This is especially beneficial for small companies, which need to ensure they have a steady cash flow to support their operations. Allowing your tenants to make a payment online means that you don’t have to wait for them to write a paper check, mail it, then for the bank to cash it. It means you don’t have to wait for the tenant to make a trip to the bank to get a money order, which you then have to go deposit. It also means that the funds show up in your accounting software faster, so that you can pay out your owners and vendors sooner.
3.) Avoid Hidden Costs of Checks and Cash
Maybe you’ve been dealing with cash and checks for so long that you’ve become comfortable enough to overlook the fact that these payment methods may actually be costing your business money. According to Aberdeen Group Inc., it costs businesses $7.15 on average to process each paper check. Also, if your business only accepts cash or checks, you are essentially preventing those who don’t have cash on hand, or simply prefer to pay with credit cards from doing business with you. In fact, a recent study by Economists Incorporated suggests that businesses can expect a “significant increase” in sales when they start accepting payment cards, rather than cash only.
4.) Let Residents Pay on the Go
Research by Fiserv found that almost one in five visits to a biller’s website was done on a mobile device. Of those visits, bill pay is the top consumer activity. Going mobile makes it even more convenient for your tenants to pay you, which allows you to receive funds faster. Even if your company isn’t ready to go mobile now, in the near future you may not have the choice as more business systems transition to the cloud.
5.) Make Your Residents Happy
A recent comScore study found that 56% of online shoppers expect a variety of payment options at checkout like credit cards and PayPal. That means your tenants will welcome and appreciate flexible, hassle-free ways to pay their rent online, or through mobile channels. If you provide payment options that your residents want, it can increase their satisfaction, build greater loyalty, and ultimately help you to earn more business. In fact, you may find that accepting electronic payments opens the door to an entirely new group of renters who may have been hesitant to lease with you before because they didn’t want the hassle of writing checks every month.
6.) Provide a More Secure Solution
With data breaches, identity theft, and cyber crimes becoming increasingly more common, it is completely understandable how some folks might be hesitant to enter their credit card and banking information online. However, handling paper checks is even riskier. They can be easily lost or stolen while in transit with the postal service, or at your business location waiting to be processed. Leading online payment solution providers make security a top priority, and security measures are only improving. Be sure to pick a provider like PayLease who stores customers’ encrypted financial information on secure servers that are guarded both electronically and physically. Also, be sure your provider is a PCI (Payment Card Industry) Level 1 compliant business, so they are held accountable by the highest level of security standards.
7.) Reduce Fraud
As previously mentioned, paper checks are targeted more than other payment methods by those seeking to commit fraud. There is risk of fraud with online payments, of course. However, online payment processors like PayLease or PayPal will monitor for fraud and have comprehensive fraud protection programs in place. An in-house Fraud Investigation Team will identify and help prevent fraudulent transactions before they occur, and work with law enforcement around the world to help stop online criminals. It is better to have an online payment provider in your corner, than attempting to monitor fraud on your own, while you’re busy running your business.
8.) Improve Accounting and Auditing Processes
An obvious reason you need to move your payments online is that everything becomes so much easier to track than traditional accounting processes with paper checks. You’ll have visibility into the status of payments, how and when payments are made, and if any are returned (including failed credit card transactions). Not only that, but by going paperless with online payments, fewer people need to be involved in data entry, so there is less risk of human error. Tax filing is easier and more streamlined, too. This gives your accounting and finance teams more time to invest in analytics and reporting (things that move your business forward). Hopefully it’s never needed, but just in case, there is a clear audit trail that is more accurate and precise than paper-based recordkeeping. Auditors can easily access the history of each invoice and payment, which will save you the trouble of digging through manually entered records for missing information.
9.) Become a Data Driven Business
When you have better insight into how your business makes and receives payments, you can optimize payment processing, and find ways to become more profitable. Leading electronic payment processors like PayLease and PayPal offer tools that enable you to access data for analyzing sales and payments in real time, generating transaction reports, identifying trends, and making more informed business decisions. The time you would have spent handling paper checks, you can now use to focus on other ideas to grow and improve your business.
If you make the switch, you may not be the first to embrace electronic payments, but modernizing now means you won’t be the last. That decision could make all the difference in your future success, so get online or risk putting your business on the line.