Let us look into the main benefits of paying the bills online:
Using online bill pay allows you to save on time. Instead of writing out checks, gluing stamps and keeping a file of papers, setting up an online account can get rid of these steps. It will also be much easier and faster to manage your debt.
When you need to go over previous bills, you do not have to waste time looking for them because all of your account details are located in one centralized location.
Online bill payment enables you to save on postage stamp costs. On the average, a household receives 15 bills every month, amounting to $70 in postage costs per year.
Try to avoid late fees that can be incurred when payment is made after the due date. When you miss payments, this could bring about:
- Higher interest rates;
- Over limit fees and late fees;
- When payment is overdue, your account could be placed on collection status.
To manage debt more conveniently and efficiently, go for automatic online bill payment solutions. Creating an account will enable you to set up recurring payments that will regularly be withdrawn from your account. This way, you can minimize the possibility of late or lost payments, saving time during the process.
Even if any of your bills is due the following day, online bill pay makes sure your payment is posted right on schedule.
What consumers should watch out for
There is always some kind of risk involved whenever doing transactions by electronic means. This may only be minimal, but it continues to increase due to the development of more sophisticated hacking techniques.
Over the last few years, a technique called “phishing” has become a major concern. Phishers give out fraudulent messages (via a web page pop-up or email) that are intended to deceive you into sharing your personal account details. Such messages often look legit (with their company logos etc.) so they can easily trick consumers when they are not too careful. According to a recent study, 57 million Americans have been sent phishing emails, and of that number, almost 2 million individuals have been tricked into giving their personal account info to a counterfeit source.
How to Avoid Scams
Consider the following tips to stay away from online scams:
- Review your online banking transactions on a regular basis to make sure there is no suspicious activity going on.
- Change your online passwords every 1 to 2 months. Always choose a password that has upper and lower case letters, plus symbols to reduce the chance to be guessed.
- Watch out for fraudulent emails. Even if an email looks legitimate (with a logo), it may have been sent by a fraudulent source. If the email wants you to verify or update your personal account information immediately, do not respond to the email.
- When you get an email from an unknown source, make sure to delete it. If you mistakenly open the email, do not click on any of the links. You might download a virus to your computer. If the email looks legitimate, type the web address in your browser instead of clicking on the link.
- Keep the anti-spam and anti-virus spam software on your computer. This will help you to block out spam and junk mail.
In the past, people were not comfortable about paying their bills online. Majority of them felt it was not secure to transact on the web and thought that their money was put at risk when using the online bill payment system. Every time you give your checking account information to your utilities provider and insurance company, there is a possibility of getting overbilled or falling victim to identity theft. Writing on checks and stamped envelopes seemed a lot safer. For this reason, there are people who still follow that practice.
However, a lot of things have changed. Many people are paying nearly all their bills online, including credit card payments, loan payments, mortgages, rent, tuition fees and utilities, among others. So, why should you opt to pay your bills online? To start with, you can save a lot of time and postage costs as well as late payment fees. In addition, paying online is a lot safer than by means of snail-mail. Your personal information is more prone to identity theft while on print and being transported through the postal system. If you pay your bills using your credit card, it would be easier to monitor and manage your finances. Moreover, you can earn travel miles plus receive cash-based rewards.
There are 3 easy ways to pay your bill online: through your bank, on the biller’s website or via a third-party. They all come with advantages and disadvantages so it is up to you to decide on the method you prefer. There are several good reasons to move ahead and pay your bills online.
Every time you hear about online bill payment, you might think that it has something to do with arranging automated drafts from your bank account so you can pay your bills. Nevertheless, more people use their credit cards to pay their bills online. Also, more merchants accept credit card payments therefore you can pay your rent, mortgage and other bills with your credit card whenever you want to.
Online bill payment is undoubtedly easier and faster than paying via check and snail-mail. In essence, it eliminates problems that involve procrastination. You no longer have to worry about not paying your bills on time. You can agree to a monthly payment schedule through your bank/billing company so you will not go past the due date. Granting you pay online on a monthly basis instead of doing automatic payments, you still save on time, costs and frustration. Even if you pay online close to the deadline, you still save on time since online transactions are still faster than mailing payments.
When you are online, you could be prone to hacking, getting computer viruses and spyware (there are less risks with automated payments). However, you are also prone to identity theft when mailing payments. It is best not to mail checks and paper statements that include your personal information. Whenever you make an online bill payment, you have an option in case of a dispute since you have records of payments and their respective dates.
Thus, contrary to what people formerly believed in, online bill payment is safer than snail mail since it includes more protection when you use your credit card to pay your bills.
Landlords continue to search for efficient ways to manage rent payment collections. The traditional way of collecting rent from tenants who pay in the form of a check may still be comfortable for some property owners, but this could also bring about some problems. Checks can get misplaced or lost on their way to you, or tenants may forget to hand over that check on the first day of the month, making you spend more time and effort to monitor their payments.
Fortunately, an online rent payment service can address many of the aforementioned problems and benefit landlords and tenants alike. However, even if a lot of tenants pay most of their bills online these days – like auto payments, cards and utilities – there are still some who hesitate to pay their biggest bill through the Internet. So, how can a landlord encourage tenants to do online rent payments?
Online Rental Payment Advantages
As earlier mentioned, receiving online rent payments takes out the middleman from the process: tenant to landlord to bank. Landlords no longer need to receive a check, file it to deposit later, go to the tenant’s record to mark the payment, sign checks to be deposited, fill out the bank deposit slip and go to the bank to deposit the money. All they have to do is get the payment in one click, then transfer the amount into your bank account with another click. Landlords can set up automatic payments for their tenants, linking their bank accounts to that of their tenants. Rather than wait for them to mail the rent check or drop it off, it will automatically be withdrawn from the bank account of the tenant and deposited into that of the landlord.
Online banking can also save a lot of time and money for tenants. They no longer need to fill out a check, mail it or drop it off. They just need to fill out some spaces online and permit payment, which only takes a few seconds and saves on stamp costs. When a landlord allows credit card payments, tenants can get major rewards from their credit card payments.
How to Encourage Online Rental Payment
A landlord can do a number of things to encourage tenants to pay their rent online.
First of all, see to it that the transaction is free of charge. This is very important. No matter how small an online fee would cost, people would not like to pay it. Make sure to stress that online bill pay is trouble-free and that includes fees, regardless of their amount. So, remove them totally.
Accept credit card payments. You might think that tenants that pay via credit card are spending more than they can afford, but as mentioned earlier, most people pay their bills with credit cards to earn reward points. Allow your tenants to pay rent with their credit card since they know they can have a free vacation by doing it. You will have a smooth sailing income while they get good credit evaluation.
Give incentives for online bill pay. You can give a discount on the monthly rent or a gift card. When you offer rewards and prizes, tenants will be willing to join. This way, tenants will have the habit of paying rent online and will never go back to the traditional way of paying rent.
Implement your policy on collecting rent
To make sure tenants pay regularly and on time, the best practice is to make your rent collection policies firm and consistent. However, there are some exceptions.
In your contract of lease, you should include all payment related issues such as the following:
- Exact due amount per month
- Where rent is paid
- Accepted payment methods
- Rent payment due date and grace periods
- Consequences of bounced checks or non-payment
There are times when you may feel sorry for your tenant who is going through difficult times, or being too quick in charging a late payment. When you are convinced that a tenant is having a “one time” experience, you can be a little more considerate.
On the other hand, to prevent them from taking advantage of your kindness at some point, make your policy firm after that, and stop being too lenient. Make them understand that whenever paying bills, rent should be a top priority, and that they will be responsible for the costs caused by delinquency.
In case you lack time and cannot collect rent payment or late charges, you can always hire a reputable property manager to do the job.
If they cannot pay on time, know the reasons
If you come across tenants who were not able to pay rent for the month, ask them some questions to figure out the issues they may have.
- When will you be able to pay rent?
- Where will you give your payment?
- How much will you be paying?
- What method of payment will you use?
- What source of income will you use in making your payment?
If they avoid answering your questions, give them an eviction notice on the following day. An eviction notice can only be served when tenants break your lease agreement. Verify your state rules to know the legal length of time needed for the notice before filing for eviction, and if your state requires several violations before proceeding with eviction.
You can serve notice (unofficially) in a simple way like sticking a piece of paper on their door that says “pay past-due rent to avoid eviction”. It will only be official when a formal letter is mailed and sent by means of Certified Mail as proof of receipt. More often than not, a notice taped to the door is sufficient to scare them into looking for the money elsewhere (like from dad and mom).
Give incentives to good paying tenants
The most important part of handling a rental property is keeping hold of good tenants. At times, landlords focus too much on avoiding unnecessary situations that they fail to notice the renters who make your work worth doing.
If a tenant always makes a rent payment on time, follows your rules and maintains your property, let them know that you appreciate what they do by giving them a gift card or a basket of fruits.
The best time to show your appreciation to your tenants is after they have paid one year of successive, well-timed rent. Gifting indecisive tenants with a timely gift basket can also motivate them to renew their lease.
Of course, if your tenants would have the possibility of paying the rent online, it much be much easier for both parties involved. It’s easy to implement this step – learn more about our rent payment service.
Perhaps one of the best advantages of online bill payments is eliminating the use of paper. Banks and service providers usually ask their customers whether they would rather receive billing statements and reminders via email. Nowadays, almost all bills that are mailed can also easily (and less costly) be sent electronically. With less mail and envelopes to open and refill, this means less bother for you, as well as less footprint in the landfills. When these firms create fewer bills, more fuel and energy can be saved on printing, processing and transporting them. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that online bill payment is a versatile scheme when it comes to environmental benefits.
Paying your bills online enables you to manage your finances (as well as your counter) at the same time. When you are not an organized or technical person, paying your bills online may seem to be a bit intimidating. You feel that it is less stressful to get a paper billing statement in the mail, prepare a check then send it back. However, in reality, online bill payment is simpler. It may take some time to set up, but the moment it is through, you can be sure that there will be no late payment charges or lost things in the mail (or the huge pile of junk on your counter) ever.
There are a number of services that can let you consolidate bill payment. Thus, when you are tired of hopping from one site to another or getting your checkbook every month at different times when payment is due, you can opt for a third-party online billing service.
They collect (scan them in some cases) and email your bills via email, as well as post them to your account, then they automatically withdraw from the account you choose on the date you designate. You can view bill calendars and get alerts every due date. Other services allow you to pay anyone from your account (at times, with a credit card or check). There is no need to remember user names and passwords when paying every bill. There is nothing easier than that.
Certainly, most of these services come with a price (just a few dollars monthly and a minimal fee for every transaction), but to a lot of people, this is so small a price to pay for all the convenience you get.
It is difficult to stay organized and stay focused on your finances when paying your bills the traditional way. When you paid the monthly fee for your cable service, the bill often gets shredded, lost in a pile of paper or filed. If there are changes in the amount or unnecessary charges to your account, this may take months before you realize it. On the other hand, if you pay online, you will be able to view your records and know right away if something is wrong. When you pay through a third party bill payment service, you can instantly view everything in one location. This is similar to hiring the services of a professional organizer without any cost.
Like other businesses, your revenue may depend on payments from customers that are scheduled on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annually basis. Nowadays, more businesses are offering recurring billing options for their goods and services, which makes it more convenient for both the customers and the business. Most businesses, together with other establishments – such as banks and financial firms – normally require their customers to mail a check, call to give their credit card information or to pay their bills at any of their locations. Going for any of these options can use up most of your customers’ time, as well as bring about problems with regards to late or non-payments.
Are you thinking of including online payments in your line of services? Consider the following benefits that an online payment solution could provide for your business and customers:
A lot of customers are happy paying online since they can do it from any location, any time of the day. This sees to it that there will be no late payments due to a slow delivery of mail or processing. Also, customers do not have to waste their time on the phone or falling in line. Customers can pay their bills online and instantly receive an email that confirms the receipt of payment, approval and a reference number for their record.
An online payments solution uses many security measures to protect you and your customers. Most online payment platforms use different types of encryption to protect confidential information from being accessed by an unauthorized party. As an example, since Visa cards are the credit cards that are most widely used worldwide and accepted in more than 150 countries, they have their own security measures – such as the 3-digit security codes found at the back of every card. Customers are usually asked to input this number to avoid fraudulent transactions from pushing through. Aside from the protective measures provided by Visa, Mastercard and Amex, online payment solutions let your business post payments without having any access to confidential credit card information. The moment a customer inputs his/her credit card details online, this is stored safely in their account information.
It can be very frustrating for customers to find out that their payments were not received on time. Most businesses charge late fees, so it is natural for customers to get mad when they have nothing to do with the delayed payment. Fortunately, you can have recurring billing options, so your customers can make their payments immediately via an automated system. This not only eliminates a task from your customers, but also allows the payments to be made on time.
When you offer your customers the option to make their bill payments online in a secure and well-timed manner, you make it more convenient for them. When you present them with options to meet their needs, they tend to have a more favorable view of a business. To keep the customers satisfied, provide them with convenient yet secure solutions to fit the modern-day consumer’s lifestyle.
Landlords need to remember that just because they own the property does not mean that they can do what they want, when they want. This is because under the law tenants have certain rights which must be respected. It is not uncommon for a landlord to find themselves on the wrong side of a judgment because they overstepped their bounds in trying to force a tenant to break their lease and leave the property.
It is certainly understandable that the discovery of a “bad” tenant who may cause trouble or other issues will entice a landlord to do what they can in encouraging them to leave. However, a landlord must resist the urge to take actions where they might find themselves losing a judgment in court and developing a bad reputation that drives the good tenants away as well.
What follows are a few tips to follow to avoid demonstrating harassment tactics and helping you to maintain your reputation and properly get rid of “bad” tenants.
Do Not Try to Intimidate the Tenant
The worst thing a landlord can do is try physical or verbal intimidation tactics on a tenant. These are strictly against the law and will be used against a landlord in any situation that leads to a court appearance. This is especially true of any tactic that can be documented and presented in court. The result is not only losing money, but developing a bad reputation that can drive away potentially good tenants.
Do Not Withhold Obligations
First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure that you fulfill all of your obligations as a landlord in terms of taking proper care of the property. This means making sure the garbage is picked up, repairs are made and the landscaping is completed. Remember that how you treat one tenant may be viewed by all tenants, so don’t single anyone out.
Do Not Hassle Through Verbal or Written Complaints
Verbal or written complaints should be few and far between if the tenant’s behavior is borderline in terms of breaking any established rules or regulations. However, if the tenant does violate a policy, then they should be given some type of notice and warning.
Do Not Enter the Tenant’s Rented Space Without Due Cause
This is one of the most common forms of landlords overstepping their boundaries. Under the law, landlords can only enter the property for scheduled inspections or emergency situations. Otherwise, entering the property without due cause can be used by the tenant in court with the landlord winding up on the wrong side of the judgment.
Know the Law
The landlord must know the law, rules and regulations that apply to any activities they may or may not do towards a particular tenant. While getting rid of bad tenants in certainly desirable, it has to be done legally and ethically. This means following the lease agreement and evicting them at the first legal opportunity and not trying to create one through intimidation tactics.
Remember to follow and respect the law by not engaging in any tactics that could put you on the wrong side of a court decision.
For those who may be going out on their own for the first time, renting an apartment or home is certainly a big first step. Renting offers many advantages for those who are just starting out as they have a well maintained place to live. However, renting is considered an interim step towards eventually getting your own home.
For those who are new to renting a property, understanding the principles will help you navigate all the responsibilities that you will face.
What is Rent?
This is the money that you pay so you can fulfill the obligations of your lease. Rent is paid monthly, bi-weekly or weekly depending on the agreement that is made. The rent is paid either directly to the landlord, the owner or the managing company of the property. There are a number of ways that rent might be paid which includes direct deposit or debit, credit card, check or in person. If a direct debit method is to be used, the landlord must explain this before any rental agreement is signed.
Responsibilities in Paying the Rent
You are obligated to pay the rent under the terms of your lease agreement even when facing the following situations;
- You have given notice about leaving the property.
- You are in the last month of your rental agreement.
- The landlord will not repair or maintain the property.
- You have been given an eviction notice.
You are still obligated to pay the rent you owe under these circumstances. However, if the landlord does violate the terms of the lease agreement, then you have the grounds by which not to pay. Consult with an attorney however before you decide not to pay the rent. Otherwise, you could open yourself up to having your credit score reduced.
How Rent Payment in Advance Works
The rent you pay is really paying for the month ahead of your stay. Basically, if you are paying rent on a monthly basis, then when you pay at the first of the month it covers the rest of the month. However, if you are paying rent on a weekly basis, the landlord cannot ask for more than 14 days rent at the beginning of the lease agreement.
There are also rules about how much rent you pay and when it is to be paid that is covered by your local and state laws. Tenants do have certain rights while under a lease agreement which have to be respected. For example, if the rent is below a certain amount each week, the landlord cannot ask for more than one month in advance, otherwise they might be fined by the courts.
Overall, it pays to know your rights under the law as a tenant in terms of what laws, rules and regulations you have to follow under a lease agreement. You will want to discuss any lease agreement with parties that understand how renting properties work so that you are fully protected under the law. This does not mean you have to consult with an attorney, but you will want to check out the landlord and the property to understand its reputation and past behavior towards tenants.
Whether you are a landlord with a few homes to rent, or a property manager for hundreds of units, online rent collection solutions are available to you now. The process is convenient, easy to set up, and affordable. Eliminate manual rent collection and bookkeeping with customized websites and seamless integration to your landlord/property management software.
More than ever, people are turning to the convenience of online shopping, banking, and bill payment. Now your tenants can add paying their rent to the list. And, it isn’t only tenants that reap the benefits of online rent payments. Landlords and property managers will no longer have to spend their time on manual data entry or managing late rent payments.
Collecting rent payments, providing receipts, manually entering payment information, updating tenant files, preparing checks for deposit, and the trip to the bank takes, on average, two days each and every month. As landlords and property managers, your time could be better spent. With online rent payment collection, all these tasks are handled automatically and the number of late payments can be significantly reduced. It’s easy to get started. With online rent collection solutions and customized options:
- Rent payments are deposited automatically.
- Tenants receive email receipts.
- Tenant payment information is updated immediately and available for review.
- Landlords and property managers can monitor rent collection through real-time status reports.
- Landlords and property managers can set up email notification to tenants regarding updates to rent payments, upcoming policy changes, rent and late fee schedules, and late payment status notification.
- Vacancy lists and property information is readily available.
- Application fees and security deposits can be collected electronically.
More and more, people prefer to shop, bank, and pay bills online. It’s a fast, easy, and time-saving method for managing their finances. Your tenants will appreciate the added convenience of online rent payment. The process is easy, secure, and private. Tenants can:
- Eliminate monthly check writing.
- Pay by debit card, credit card, or e-check.
- Make one-time monthly payments or set up automatic payments.
- Review their payment history.
- Receive email receipts and other notifications from their landlord or property management company.
- Update personal information such as name changes and phone number changes.
- Send maintenance requests via email.
Getting started is easy. With the seamless integration of information to your landlord/property management software, you have instant access to tenant information and payment history. With the answers to a few simple questions, your website can be customized for online rent payment collection. Your merchant account allows you to accept electronic rent payments and have the funds deposited directly into the bank account of your choice. For landlords and property managers with separate accounts for each property, you have the option to select multiple accounts for deposit. Security and privacy are of the highest priority and strict measures are in place to provide peace of mind that all information stored or transmitted is protected at all times. Online rent payment solutions are affordable and available now.