An Insider on Why Online Payments Are Critical for Property Managers

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are worried about rising housing costs – something that AppFolio’s Adam Feinstein says puts pressure on property managers to enable instant digital payments for both rent collection and payouts.

PYMNTS speaks with Adam Feinstein, vice president of product for payments at AppFolio, about how the company is helping property managers offer a fully digital payments process and how this can help drive better outcomes for employees and tenants alike.

There is a growing interest in and need for digital payments technology in most industries — and property management is no exception. Feinstein explained that the proper facilitation of and visibility into payments is critical for operating a property management business. This means that incorporating digital payments technology into business operations can yield tremendous benefits.

“Online payments processes can help create new efficiencies and uncover cost savings opportunities, increase security to lower fraud incidents and create a more convenient, modern experience for everyone involved,” he said.

Given the growing need for online payments capabilities and the benefits they bring, AppFolio is focused on developing these solutions for property managers. Feinstein said that enabling property managers to deliver an exceptional experience for owners, vendors and residents is crucial because renters are increasingly seeking out consumer-like experiences when it comes to paying rent and interacting with landlords.

AppFolio is also focused on providing a seamless, purpose-built connection on its platform, equipping users with a single source and system of record. In designing and providing this platform, AppFolio aimed to prioritize safety and reliability.

“That gives all parties piece of mind,” said Feinstein.

Speed and ease with signing up for the platform are also important, he noted, with the process able to be completed in as little as a few days.

The most effective platform is one that can handle all types of payments a property manager will deal with. Making sure that renters can make online payments is only part of the ideal approach to improving the payments experience. Property managers also make payments to employees, vendors and other third-party companies.

“We focus on … facilitating rent payments for residents and dues payments for homeowners, … security deposit return to residents, distributing payments to property owners and supporting service vendor payments,” Feinstein explained.

Supporting a variety of payment types also contributes to an improved payments experience. For its part, the company offers ACH, credit and debit cards, electronic cash payments and Apple Pay as well as invoice processing for greater control. Another important aspect is being able to scale accordingly, ensuring that new users can get the most out of the platform.

“As we designed our platform, it was critical to us to find the right partners and technology that would scale with us and with our customers, and provide a secure, reliable and modern experience that met the expectations of property managers, residents and owners,” he said.

Feinstein emphasized that leveraging payment platforms can provide a number of benefits to property managers beyond enhanced reporting capabilities, improved data hygiene and security. A modern online payments platform also streamlines time-consuming accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) processes; facilitates faster payments processes for owners, residents and vendors; and delivers an overall better customer experience.