online payments

Embracing Technology: How Online Payments Can Help Grow Your Business

Phil Puccio

Last modified on April 28th, 2021

As a property manager, you’re always looking for ways to streamline processes and provide a great resident experience, all while managing day-to-day tasks. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last year, it’s that society is embracing digital technologies more and more, and it’s important that such capabilities transfer over to your properties.  

In an article published over four years ago from the National Apartment Association, they had already described the future of rental housing as “a paperless office – and an entirely paper-free community.” Since then, online and mobile payments have continued to explode in popularity. Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shows that 43% of consumers prefer to pay their bills online versus traditional methods such as check or cash. According to the 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report, 61% of residents say it is important to be able to pay rent/dues with a mobile device. With such ease and convenience, why not say yes to online payments? 

Read on to hear the stories of a few property management companies who have successfully adopted online payments and to discover the difference it’s made for them. 

Going above and beyond 

Located in Seattle, WA, Northwest Commercial Real Estate Investments, LLC has more than 70 years of real estate market experience. Owning and operating retail, commercial, and mixed-used properties along with more than 1,600 apartment homes, they were ready to make the change from paper-based systems to digital-driven property management solutions. 

Prior to adopting online payments, they were using rent drop boxes at each building. On the third of every month, they had to manually create delinquency reports and physically track down residents who hadn’t paid their rent. For payments they were able to receive from the drop boxes, they had an outdated and time-consuming process of manually scanning checks, reconciling with the bank, and then uploading the paperwork into an audit tracker.  

They found an easy solution with online payments. “With AppFolio Property Manager, we were able to eliminate a major part of the admin work and redirect the focus of our teams. Now that payments go in automatically, it has really streamlined our entire process from start to finish,” says Lisa Kenedy, Managing Director of Northwest Commercial.  

They were able to improve from an initial 50% online payment adoption rate to now 93%, surpassing their goal of at least 85%. Lisa and her team encouraged their residents to use this preferred method by educating and having conversations of the benefits of paying online. “We had to remind renters that our processes moved online and that it was for the best. For some residents, we even offered to help them set up their online portals so that they felt more secure; they recognized that it was legitimate and convenient,” she says. 

Protect and grow your business 

Robb Fleischer of AMSEI Real Estate Services has over 32 years of experience in property management and manages about 1,000 units. Using online payments provides them with an accurate and complete record of their accounts through statements, balance sheets, and rent rolls. With less time worrying about audits, they were able to expand their portfolio dramatically. 

“AppFolio has made expansion very easy for us. Our portfolio used to be strictly a San Francisco market, but has now spread to a larger portion of the bay area, San Diego, and New York,” he says. “They’ve also made expanding our offices just as easy, since all that is needed is an internet connection to access the platform.” 

Surpassing expectations 

Founded in 2007, Register Real Estate manages every type of property you can think of – from single-family homes to multifamily complexes to low-income rentals, and luxury condos. Owner JC Register knew that he wanted to grow the company, but would first need to find an easy-to-use property management solution.  

With his previous software, he found that they were falling short of his expectations and his company’s need for efficiency. “It didn’t provide easy owner access to statements and navigating through the software to find things was too time consuming,” Register says. That’s when he discovered AppFolio Property Manager.  

Standing out from the competition, AppFolio enables Register Real Estate to expedite payments to owners by using direct ACH deposits. “I tell owners that if they come on board, they don’t have to wait for a check. The money is in their account within 12-24 hours,” explained Register. “They really like that.”

Reasons to say yes to online payments 

By bringing both your accounts payable and receivable online, no longer will you have to stress over paper-based processes, giving your team the ability to streamline your accounting operations. Instead you’ll save an abundance of time with automation, and focus on providing higher levels of service to your customers. 

Everyone benefits from the use of online payments — whether it’s receiving or sending payments. By providing flexible and convenient ways for your residents to pay, the more likely it is that they’ll adopt online payments faster, giving you a better chance of receiving payments on-time. But online payments don’t just benefit your residents. 

Run your business with confidence by paying your bills and owners securely and accurately with AppFolio. With all your payments on one platform, you and your team can utilize automated workflows to maintain the right level of controls for your business. Here are a few ways that AppFolio Property Manager makes online payments a great solution for everyone:  

  • Automation all in one place: Put away the filing cabinet and paper receipts. Everything you need to do is all online, giving you easy visibility into your accounts. 
  • Reduction of risk and extra security: Give your customers peace of mind when sending and receiving payments with a platform that’s secure.  
  • A seamless experience for everyone: Everyone’s happier when things go smoothly. With having an online platform, it’s convenient to communicate and transfer money no matter where you are! 

There’s no wonder why property management companies across the country partner with AppFolio to help run their businesses. Once you’re on AppFolio’s platform, setting up online payments is quick and easy. Additionally, we provide you with the tools and resources to educate your staff and residents about the benefits and best practices. 

To learn more about how AppFolio can streamline your operations and provide a better resident experience take a look at this article.

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