Are you still using paper rental applications that your prospective tenants fill out when showing your properties? What if your tenants could securely submit their rental application information and pay the application fee online? In the age of the internet, you no longer have to worry about managing all those paper forms and maintaining a mess of records in your filing cabinet. New tools are available to help organize your rental applications and even accept the rental application fee online, virtually eliminating trips to the bank and saving you time, money, and hassle. Just how easy is it to accept rental applications online? Continue reading to find out more.

Rental Application Form

The online rental application starts with a secure rental application form on your website. Then tenant will go to a rental application though a link and fill out the form with all information you normally use for background and credit checks. Since sensitive information is collected from tenants, it’s important that this information be encrypted to protect against identity theft. Also, the online form should be customized for your business and should contain rental application questions that are required by law for your state. A typical tenant would fill out the online rental application form with all of their information, pay any rental application fees electronically, and it would then be routed directly to you for review and background and credit checks.

Manage applications online

What good are accepting online rental application forms if there is no easy way to view and manage them?  After online rental applications are submitted by tenants, being able store and later view the information online in an easy to use way is essential to replace the traditional filing cabinet. With E-Rental Tools, we offer an easy to use solution that lets you review applications and manage the complete workflow as you process them through our rental application forms dashboard. The dashboard allows the property manager is to view and search all online rental application forms right from their website and efficiently process credit and background checks much quicker and easier than with paper forms.

It's a no-brainer, allowing your prospective tenants to submit their rental applications online and allowing you to view and work new online rental application forms and process them as you run credit and background checks helps to save time, eliminate paper and document storage, and keep your business organized.

You may have wondered about the payment methods you would like to accept such as credit card or checking and what costs are involved.  Good news!  E-Rental Tools will allow you to accept both credit card and checking account payments right through your website at a cost that wont break the bank.  In this post, we’ll discuss the two types of payment methods your business can use and the benefits and drawbacks of each. 


ACH Payments

Typically, rents are collected using checking account deductions also known as ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments.  Why?  Because paying by check is cheap.  In fact, we recommend that our customers only use ACH for online rent payments because the processing costs are much lower for tenants.  These costs are typically only a few dollars per online rent payment and are added on as a processing fee at the time when rent is paid.  Add up the cost of a stamp, envelope, checks, and the time spent finding a mailbox, and this becomes a great convenience for your tenants.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are a great convenience and are always ready in a pinch when there isn’t an ATM nearby.  But, what you may not have known is that credit card processing is expensive!  Because of the high processing fees involved, we don’t recommend them for larger purchases such as online rent payments.  These fees are typically in the range of 2.25%-4% of total payment and can vary by which company issues the card and type of purchase made.  On a $1,000 rent, a 3% fee, for example, would end up costing an extra $30 in additional processing costs which is more than most tenants are comfortable paying.

So what do we recommend? We suggest that all of our customers use checking account processing for online rent payments, and credit cards for smaller payments such as online rental applications.   This offers the most flexibility and cost effectiveness for both you and your tenants.

Thursday, 10 May 2012 22:40

3 Easy Steps to Collect Rent Online

Just what’s involved with collecting your tenant’s rent online using E-Rental Tools?  How does it work and how hard is it to set up?  When will my rents arrive?  Is it secure?  In this post we’ll answer those questions and more, and you’ll learn just how easy it is to get online rent collection set up for your business and put the hassle of rent collection behind you.  If you’re an E-Rental Tools customer, we have made it simple to set up online rent collection services and can get your business up and running in just a few days.

Step 1:  Set Up the Payment Gateway

To get started with online rent collection, your business will need to be set up with what’s called a payment gateway.  Simply, a payment gateway is a 3rd party processing company that handles moving a rent payment transaction from a tenant’s bank account into yours.  E-Rental Tools has streamlined the process of setting up a payment gateway and can get the paperwork completed and approved in just a few days.  The process is similar to the forms you would fill out to open a new bank account, but without having to actually visit the bank!  We take care of filling out all of the application forms with your information, and all that’s needed from you is an electronic signature, which takes only a few minutes to complete and can be done online.  Depending on your volume of rent payments and time in business, you may be required to submit additional supporting document such as a cancelled check, business formation documents, or 2 months of bank statements.  The entire online rent collection setup can be done from the comfort of your home or office with little hassle to you.

Step 2:  Link Your Properties to Your Checking Account

After your account has been approved for the payment gateway, you’ll be ready to start accepting rent payments on your E-Rental Tools website.  We’ll take care of linking your checking account using your new payment gateway to your properties so that when a tenant makes an online rent payment it ends up in the right place.   This is a fast setup process and can be completed the same day your business is approved. 

Step 3: Begin Collecting Rent Through Your Website

Now that online rent collection is set up, you’ll want to inform your tenants that they can now pay their rent online through your E-Rental Tools website.   To access payments they will log in, click on the “Pay Online” link, enter their payment amount along with their checking account and routing number, then submit the payment.  That’s it!  The payment process takes under a minute, and if your tenant chooses, can select recurring payments to automatically have their rent paid on a chosen date each month.  This is convenient for the tenant and great for you, because you know the rent will be paid on time each month.  The tenant’s rent payment will be automatically deposited into your checking account and you won’t have to worry about checks getting lost in the mail, opening envelopes, and trips to the bank.   To handle security, we use bank-level 256 bit SSL encryption that encrypts all payment data entered into the E-Rental Tools system.

That’s it, 3 steps to easy online rent collection using E-Rental Tools.  If you aren’t already collecting your rent online, why not get started today?