About Online Rent Payment

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About Online Rent Payment

Oh My Apartment · May 13, 2013

By Anthony Lolli

Homeowners have been able to pay their mortgages electronically for years. Now, thanks to a number of great new services, renters are finally starting to get the same option. Not only is online rent payment convenient, it comes with a slew of other benefits, as well.

Flexible Payment Methods

Remembering to write and mail a check every month is a hassle, and stamps aren’t getting any cheaper. When you pay your rent online, you can use your credit card, debit card, or simply have it deducted directly from your checking account. The payment service delivers the funds directly into your landlord’s account, so it’s easier on your landlord’s end, too.

If your credit card gives you points or other rewards, using your card to pay your rent each month can be a great way to quickly rack up the bonuses.

Automatic Payments

Most online rent payment services let you schedule automatic payments. Or, you can have automatic reminders sent to your email or phone. Either way, you never have to worry about late fees again.

No More Roommate Headaches

If you live with roommates, you already know the drill: someone forgot the rent was due; someone can’t pay their share this month; someone never mailed the check. Getting everyone to pay their share of the rent on time month after month is one of the biggest sources of tension between roommates. And if you’re in a situation where the shares aren’t evenly split, it’s even worse.

Many online rent payment services have features specifically designed for renters living with roommates. For instance, I encourage my tenants to use WilliamPaid (like “bill paid,” get it?) specifically because they allow roommates to pay separately and actually see when the others submitted their payments, so there’s no more, “Oh yeah, I totally sent my share in last week. It must have gotten lost in the mail.”

Build Your Credit History

One major advantage that homeowners historically had over renters was that paying your mortgage on time built your credit rating, but paying your rent on time did not. With online rent payment, that’s no longer the case.

In 2011, the credit bureau Experian began working with online rent payment companies to collect data, enabling renters to start factoring their rent into their credit history. Experian is the only major credit bureau to look at rent, and you can’t submit your rent data to them yourself – if you want your rent to start working for you, you need to go through an online payment service.

Choosing an Online Rent Payment Service

You don’t need to wait for your landlord to suggest it to start paying your rent online. Simply do a little research to find a service you like. Most will work with any landlord, no approval process required. However, not every service is created equal. Be sure to check:

· Security: How are the funds held? What about your personal information? Look for 256-bit encryption or better. If the transactions go through a bank, they should be FDIC insured.

· Timing: How long does it for a landlord to receive your payment?

· Credit: Do they give you the option to report your rent payments to Experian?

· Payment Options: What forms of payment do they accept?

· Fees: There are usually small fees associated with these services that may be dependent on the type of payment you use. These fees should not be more than a few dollars a month.

Now that you know what to look for, don’t waste another stamp. Start paying your rent online and make your rental experience easier than ever.

Anthony Lolli is the CEO of Rapid Realty NYC, New York’s largest apartment rental firm. He also owns and manages more than a dozen multifamily rental properties.

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