When it comes to convenient tech, online bill payment often takes the cake. The ability to handle your finances all from your computer or smartphone is hard to beat, streamlining a critical part of your life. But even though these technologies aren’t new, many people struggle with one question: where can I pay rent online?
Online rent payments are typically the preferred option for tenants. It allows you to get your rent to your landlord with ease, often with just a few clicks or taps. However, many landlords don’t offer this option upfront. If you are wondering where you need to go to pay rent online, how you make online rent payments, and what you should do if your landlord doesn’t accept online rental payments yet, here’s what you need to know.
Why Paying Rent Online Is So Popular
Given the choice, the vast majority of renters would rather pay rent online than use any other approach. Society is increasingly tech-oriented, and many people – particularly Millennials and Gen Z members – are used to handling nearly all of their other bills online.
The fact that online rent payments aren’t widely available feels like an anomaly, as a result. It makes it seem as if many landlords are behind the times.
The Benefits of Paying Rent Online
First and foremost, paying rent online is convenient. The ability to send off a rent payment with just a few clicks make the entire process streamlined and simple.
Second, tenants don’t have to worry about when their rent will arrive. Think about it; if you need to pay your rent by check through the mail, you have to write it and get it in the post office’s hands at least a few business days before it’s due. Otherwise, it’s possible that the check won’t arrive by the due date.
But if your budget is tight, having your rent check show up too early could be a problem. For example, many people get paid on the first of the month. If you fall in that group, and that’s the date your rent is due, timing your check precisely might be a must. Otherwise, you could end up overdrafted, or the check may bounce, neither of which is good.
Paying rent online means you get precision timing. You can set that payment to go at just the right moment, eliminating the problems above.
As a bonus, some online rent payment apps report your payment history to the major credit bureaus. If you need to build or repair your credit, this could be a boon for anyone who pays their rent on time without issue.
Finally, many online rent payment options are very secure. When you send a check through the mail, you’re potentially taking a bit of a risk. Along with it not arriving on time, it could end up in someone else’s hands. Most checks have your name, address, and bank account information on them, which gives scammers a lot to work with.
Potential Drawbacks of Online Rent Payments
Generally, there aren’t many drawbacks to paying rent online. While it’s true that no system is 100 % safe, as long as the site you use is secure, your risk of exposure is pretty limited.
Additionally, the approach may not work for the unbanked. Typically, you’ll need to provide bank account details to make payments, which makes having a checking or savings account a must. However, if the rent payment app accepts debit cards, you might be able to use a prepaid card, making it possible for the unbanked to pay rent online, too.
Otherwise, the only real risk is a lack of internet service. For example, an unexpected outage may mean that you can’t get online to pay your rent when you want to, potentially making you late. However, if the rent payment system allows you to schedule payments in advance, then your connectivity won’t matter, as it will go through on the date you previously selected.
Where to Pay Rent Online
There is a slew of options when you want to pay rent online. Here is an overview of just some of the most popular places to pay rent online:
- Cozy / Apartments.com
- Rentec Direct
- Rent Payment
- Trulia Rent Payments
- Zillow Rental Manager
Generally, both you and your landlord have to be on the same platform to use it for online payments. Additionally, it’s important to note that not all of the options above are available to all tenants. In some cases, a service is limited to renters who secured a property through a specific platform. For example, only properties listed using Zillow can use Zillow Rental Manager for payments.
How to Pay Rent Online
Precisely how you pay rent online depends on the app you use. Each online rent payment app has its own processes in place, so there could be some differences between each option.
However, most of them will work similarly. You’ll have to set up an account, for starters. Usually, this involves providing your name and contact details
Next, add bank account or debit card information. That way, the app can process your payment requests. Plus, thanks to your contact information, it can provide you with critical information, like receipts, through the mail or via email.
After that, you’ll need to identify your landlord in the app. That is critical for making sure that your rent payment goes to the right person. Exactly how you select your landlord will, again, vary by app.
Beyond that, all you may need to do is decide if you’d like to make payments manually or set up automatic payments. With auto-pay, you never have to worry about forgetting your rent payment. On the day you choose, the app will initiate the transaction all on its own.
The auto pay approach can be great for anyone who tends to lose track of the date or has made a mistake in the past. It ensures you’re always on time, as long as you have enough cash in your account to cover rent.
However, some people may prefer the manual approach. With that, you’ll have to log into the app each month and tell it to pay your rent. You may be able to set up a single payment in advance, choosing your due date for the transaction to go through, or might be limited to immediate payments, depending on the app.
Manual rent payments may be best if your budget tends to be incredibly tight, and you want to avoid accidental overdrafts. It could also be a better approach for anyone who prefers to have full control over every payment and gets peace of mind from actually seeing the transaction initiate.
What to Do If Your Landlord Doesn’t Accept Online Rent Payments
If your landlord doesn’t accept online payments, you do have a few options. First, if you have a good rapport, you can always reach out and talk to them about the various platforms. Sometimes, a conversation is just the easiest way to broach the topic.
At times, one of the apps may even make it easier. For example, Avail has an Invite My Landlord feature With that, you can reach out to your landlord after you sign up on the platform and ask them if they’d like to use the app to accept payments.
If your landlord isn’t too keen on signing up with an online rent payment service, you aren’t completely out of luck. If your bank offers online bill pay, that can provide a similar experience. It may still rely on a check going out in the mail, but your bank will be the one cutting the check and sending it on its way. This approach also lets you set up recurring payments, making it just like auto-pay.
You might also be able to pay your landlord via PayPal or Zelle. This can be convenient, but be aware: these services do not offer payment protection for this kind of transaction.
At a minimum, it’s worth discussing online rent payments with your landlord. Often, it’s more convenient for everyone involved. As a result, if they weren’t aware that rent payment apps were available, they may appreciate you bringing it to their attention.