Free payment apps for collecting rent online sound like an awesome idea for anyone in the rental business. Gone are the days of taking cash payments for rent or waiting on paper checks. Online rent payment apps let you accept rent payments by credit card, debit card, or ACH direct debit. You may be able to set up automatic late fees, schedule regular rental payments, or accept partial payments. So, it sounds like using online rent collection options can save you a ton of money.
What you maybe didn’t realize is that many “free” payment apps have hidden costs. Some online rent payment services charge transaction fees for credit or debit card payments. Other rental payment methods have a free trial period but are, in reality, premium plans with steep monthly costs.
A quick online search will show that there are loads of rent payment apps, all with various payment features. How can you find the top online rent payment apps that don’t cost you or your tenants a dime? This article looks at apps with free plans for collecting rent.
How to Choose an Online Rent Payment App
Of course, if you have a large portfolio with hundreds of rental units, it could make sense to invest in a rent payment app with premium plans. These apps do more than accept online rent payments. You may get tenant screening, renters insurance, process rental applications, and accounting services to help manage your rental business. That’s fine if you’re willing to pay hundreds of dollars a month for the property management app.
However, for many landlords with a small to medium-sized rental business, paying for additional features may not be worth the cost. Usually, you need a free payment app to do the following:
- Let tenants pay rent online
- Bill for automatic late fee payments
- Take security deposits
- Give you an overview of your rental units
- Manage leases
- Get payment notifications
Ideally, to help keep tenants happy, you want them to pay their monthly rent without incurring any cost. After all, if a tenant has the choice of mailing a paper check for free or paying a 3% transaction fee on a debit card transaction, they may choose the cheaper option.
Why it Makes Sense to Use Rent Payment Apps
One of the reasons to look for secure rent payment options is because of identity theft and fraud. The old ways of paying monthly rent—cash payments, money orders, and paper rent checks—are not secure payment methods. Checks take days to clear in your bank account, and they contain sensitive personal data.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, attempted check fraud in 2018 made up 60 percent of attempted fraud against deposit accounts. The cost? $15.1 billion. Check fraud is more common than debit card fraud, even though fewer people are now using checks.
Switching to a trusted online rent payment service is better for you and your tenants. You don’t have to share bank account details, be responsible for sensitive information, and you have a secure way of collecting rent online.
The Hidden Costs of Free Payment Apps for Online Rent Collection
What are some of the hidden costs of using certain online rent collection services? Let’s look at a few popular services that charge extra fees, even though they appear free to use.
First of all, some rent payment apps with premium plans offer specific services for free. For example, paid-for property management apps often allow ACH direct deposits for free. However, you still have to pay monthly premiums, transaction fees, and additional costs for extra services. Of course, many apps offering online rental payments have a free plan. However, most users are aware that they have to start paying when the premium plan kicks in.
Here is a list of seemingly free online rent payment services that have hidden costs for some transactions.
TenantCloud is a free rental management app that has some services in its basic account. The rent property management software allows landlords to manage up to 75 rental units for free. This is a great option if you have a small rental business. However, if you need to arrange for online rent collection from many rental properties, you have to pay a premium. Also, there are hidden costs for tenants if they want to pay monthly rent via PayPal.
Another rental payment app that promotes free property management software is MangeCasa. Landlords can manage rental units without cost to themselves or tenants. But what is the catch? The free version of the app is only available if you have to manage up to 3 units. So, it's not practical if you have to accept online rent payments from multiple rental properties.
Another reliable online rent payment service is PayRent. Landlords can use this rent collection method to accept credit cards, debit cards, and e-check rent payments. The free plan includes automated rent reminders, the possibility to receive full or partial rent payments, and payment tracking. What are the hidden costs with the PayRent app? Tenants have to pay fees for bank transfer or credit card rent payments. Also, its payment processing system means that it takes three days to appear in your bank account.
Tellus is a free-to-use payment app that includes many services for managing rental units. The mobile rental payment app includes functions for collecting rent online, maintenance requests, accounting, and listing vacant units. Landlords can use the app for free. Tenants have no hidden costs if they pay directly from their bank account. However, there is a 3% transaction fee for credit cards.
Cozy is a free online rent payment service and property management portal. The app is free for landlords to use. However, all the hidden costs of using the rental payment services are passed on to tenants. For example, through the app, tenants have to pay up to $39.99 for screening reports. Also, credit or debit cards incur a transaction fee of 2.75%. One of the drawbacks of Cozy is that the payment processing takes five business days for rent payments to show up in your bank account. For an extra fee of $2.99 per month, rental payments can arrive in three days.
Zumper offers online rent collection options for landlords to receive rent for free. Tenants can set up automatic rent payments to help make sure they never miss paying rent. The free payment app allows landlords to see tenants’ rent payment history, set up rent schedules, and track pending changes. Although ACH direct deposit payments are free, tenants have to pay hidden costs of 2.95% for every credit or debit card transaction.
Free Rent Payment Apps with No Hidden Fees
It’s clear that offering tenants online rent payments is a wise choice for any successful landlord. Collecting rent online helps to reduce the number of late payments and helps improve landlord-tenant relations. The majority of people—everyone from millennials to older folks—pay their bills online anyway.
But is it possible for landlords to use a free payment app for collecting rent online with no hidden costs? Our top recommendation for a free online rent payment service is RentDrop. What makes RentDrop stand out among its competitors? Are there indeed no hidden costs with RentDrop rent payment app?
Here is an overview of the benefits of RentDrop to landlords and tenants.
RentDrop — Free Payment App with No Hidden Fees
RentDrop is an excellent option if you’re looking for a free payment app because there are no fees—forever. With RentDrop, it doesn't matter how many rental units you manage—the RentDrop services are free for landlords. What’s more, tenants don’t incur any costs at all. This service means that the rental collection process for landlords has never been more straightforward—or cheaper.
What can you expect if you start using RentDrop for free? Here is a brief overview of its features:
- Online rent collection: Accept tenant payments by credit card, debit card, or ACH direct deposit. Receive payments directly into your bank account.
- Automate rental management processes: RentDrop helps you receive rent payments on time, every time. Tenants can set up automated payments. As a landlord, you can set up automatic late fees and timely payment reminders. Use RentDrop to collect security deposits and manage leases.
- RentDrop dashboard: The free payment app gives you a complete overview of all your rental units. You can check the occupancy or your units and the payment status of all your tenants. Notifications ensure you never miss any updates.
There is no risk involved with trying out RentDrop. Unlike other online rent payment apps, all the features of RentDrop are always free to use.