If you pay your rent each month with a paper check you’ve probably wondered: isn’t there an easier way?
The short answer is yes. With electronic debit, you pay your rent online directly from your bank account. This has a number of advantages for both renters and landlords, and many companies offer online rent payment platforms to make this easier on all parties involved. Millennials are already used to this—they pay 61% of their bills online and just 15% by mail.
Whether your property management company is already on board with allowing tenants to pay debit online or have yet to make the move, here’s what you need to know about electronic rent payments.
Electronic debit is faster than paper checks
Snail mail is aptly named. It takes at least a day or two—potentially longer—from the time you mail your rent check for it to arrive in your landlord’s mailbox. From there, it will likely take an additional few days for your landlord to collect and deposit your check and another few for it to clear your account. Even if you drop your check off locally, it won’t get deposited and deducted from your account the same day. With this system, you can’t count on your rent being paid on a consistent day each month, which makes it difficult to manage your cash flow.
Although electronic debit isn’t immediate either—it goes through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system, an electronic payment network—it can be set to pay on the same day each month and is more likely to clear your account in just a day or two. This is better for your budget and meets your landlord’s desire to collect rent payments more quickly.
Electronic debit is automated and transparent
Just like online credit payments, you can set your rent to deduct automatically on the same day each month. This means you don’t have to remember deadlines or risk incurring late fees. Electronic debit also reduces human error: it allows you to clearly see your payment date, when it deducts from your account, and that it was received on the other end. In this way, you know that your money was delivered to the right place at the right time. No more landlord-tenant disagreements over late, lost, or misplaced checks.
Electronic debit is more secure
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, electronic payments help protect you against financial crimes like fraud and identity theft. Paper checks are easily lost, stolen, or endorsed by someone other than the intended recipient—plus, your bank routing and account numbers are printed on all checks you send. Online payments are carried out over secure networks, your account is password protected, and there’s no paper trail for potential thieves.
Electronic debit is just easier
There are many steps to paying paper bills. You have to ensure you have enough checks, an envelope, and a stamp. You have to remember to write the check and drop your payment in the mail before a certain time to ensure it is postmarked by your deadline. You have to count on a smooth delivery to the correct mailbox. With electronic payments, all you have to do is know that you have enough money to cover the transaction—and if you set up automatic debit, you don’t even have to click a button each month to make your payment.