December 03, 2015
No More Cheques! How to Get Your Tenants Paying Online
The Government of Canada is phasing out paper cheques. By April 1, 2016, Canadian individuals and businesses will no longer receive cheques in the mail. Instead, Canadians receiving any kind of refund or benefit payment from the government must enroll to receive direct deposit.
What’s the motivation behind the move? Money. The government expects to save millions every year – and that stems from reduced costs from the actual creation of a paper cheque. In the property management industry it is estimated that it costs up to $15-$35 to process a cheque, which covers the entire supply chain including entering the information into the accounting system to going to the bank.
The feds aren’t the only ones making use of digital transactions. In today’s modern world, most people pay their bills, and do the vast majority of their banking, online. In fact, 79% of residents want to pay rent online today, a trend that is continually growing year over year.
Yet when it comes to paying rent, you’d never know it’s 2015. Most renters are still stuck in the 1980s, pulling out their chequebooks every time the calendar flips to a new month.
The fact that even the Canadian government is phasing out paper cheques is a true sign of the times. Property management companies need to help shift the scales and get more people paying online.
Digital Payment: Your Move
If you haven’t already implemented an online payment system, Property Vista can arrange a simple, secure process that offers a range of options for your residents.
Once you’ve got the system in place, you’ll need to think about how to get your renters making the move away from paper payment. Here are five key ways:
Sign them up from the get-go – When new renters fill out your leasing agreement, use it as an opportunity to get them enrolled in the online payment tenant portal.
Outline the advantages – Don’t leave residents guessing as to what online payment can do for them. Get the word out through your newsletter or portal communications. The Number 1 benefit is convenience: Renters can choose the payment option that works best for them, including credit card transactions or automatic monthly account debits. With online payment, residents don’t run the risk of missing rent deadlines and facing late payment fees. Plus, they can pay anytime, from anywhere; no more pesky trips to the accounts office to drop off cheques. As an added bonus, residents can access their rent payment history through the payment portal.
Hold a contest – Give renters extra incentive. Let them know that if they sign up for the portal and online payment, they’ll automatically be entered in a monthly contest to win a gift card for a local business or restaurant.
Prompt the procrastinators – For renters who don’t opt for auto-payment, it’s easy to send reminders to keep them on track. Target those who are usually late; fire off SMS messages or automated phone messages reminding them to pay through the portal.
Make it mandatory – Just like the government, set a date for the elimination of paper cheques. If you choose to keep accepting cheques after the cut-off date, consider adding a processing fee to cover your costs and act as an incentive to switch over to online payments.
The Way of the Future
For residents, electronic payment means they can pay rent the way they already pay most bills: with speed, security and convenience. For property management companies, it means less work and lower costs.
With everything to be gained and nothing to lose, what are you waiting for?
To learn more about how online rent payment can simplify processes and reduce late payments, sign up for your free account today or give us a call.