TRENDING: Giving Rent Payments A Platform-Powered Overhaul

From giving sports and music fans a new way to buy tickets to the big game or sold out concert, to helping nonprofits raise more funds for their good cause, payment-powered online platforms have changed how payments are made today. When it comes to paying utility bills though, the use of paper checks endures, despite the frictions that plague the legacy payment model.

Take the rental payments space, for example. More than three quarters of rent payments are still made via paper checks. But now, a growing number of players are stepping up to give rent payments a platform-powered upgrade.

In the latest Payments Powering Platforms Tracker, PYMNTS explores how platform payments are shaping a wide range of use cases, including — and especially in — the rental space.

Around The Platforms World

In the U.S., the dominance of paper checks in the realm of rental payments may not last much longer, as several prominent players in the real estate world have looked to add online rent payment capabilities to their offerings.

Online real estate platform Zillow recently said it would begin enabling renters to apply for multiple rentals through one application — including background checks and credit reports — and also pay rent. The features intend to help time-strapped renters get a competitive edge in the rental process, and help landlords avoid the time and hassle involved in screening potential tenants.

Meanwhile, other major players are also looking to add payments to their platforms.

Facebook, for one, recently announced its plans to expand the site’s payment capabilities with a new patent. The California-based social media giant recently filed a patent describing a messenger bot that enables users to pay for items, and can understand and reply to users’ requests, according to reports. It comes roughly one year after Facebook added enhanced language-processing capabilities to its chat service with the launch of Messenger Platform 2.1.

To read more on these stories and other headlines from around the space, check out the Tracker’s News and Trends section.

Rethinking Rent Payments

Zillow’s new features for the online rental market are set to change the game for other online platforms offering similar services, and perhaps bring increased attention  and revenue  to the space.

That seems to be the hope of Zillow’s new competition. In the latest Payments Powering Platforms Tracker feature story, PYMNTS caught up with Ryan Coon, co-founder and CEO of Avail, and Gino Zahnd, founder and CEO of Cozy, to find out what is slowing payments innovation and what the entrance of Zillow means for players in the space.

The pair expects Zillow’s entrance in the space to help support other players offering similar services, and agreed that the emergence of big-name competition would force existing platform providers to differentiate themselves via more comprehensive features and offerings.

“We’re excited to see Zillow enter our market,” Zahnd said. “The U.S. rental market alone is massive, and we’ve seen a number of billion-dollar companies operate in real estate listings. There’s room in the market for multiple successes.”

To read the full feature story, along with the latest Payments Powering Platforms headlines and trends, and rankings of more than 100 industry providers, download the tracker.

About The Tracker

The Payments Powering Platforms Tracker™, powered by WePay, serves as a monthly framework for the space, providing coverage of the most recent news and trends, along with a provider directory highlighting the key players contributing across the payment-integrated platform ecosystem.