CHICAGO, IL - A recent survey conducted by WilliamPaid.com, an online rent payment and credit building resource, showed 71 percent of renters still write a paper check each month. With checks and other paper instruments reflecting only 37 percent of all consumer payments, according to the 2008 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (CPC), rent appears to be the last holdout for the paper check.
According to Evan Silverman, CEO of WilliamPaid.com, most rent payments are still made by paper check for two reasons. "In a market where 70 percent of landlords own ten units or fewer, most landlords aren't equipped to receive electronic or credit card payments," said Silverman. "Also, tenants are skeptical of providing landlords with direct access to their bank information."
Chicago-based landlord Henry Walton owns multiple rental units and agrees. "While I would love to receive electronic payments and even accept credit cards for rent, I wouldn't know where to start, and I certainly don't want to have to absorb that expense."
Despite the continued use of paper checks for rent, the study also found that nearly two-thirds of renters would use or consider an online rent payment alternative, if available.
"This is something that's becoming more and more commonplace. It's not unusual for tenants to ask about the possibility of paying rent online during the application process," explained Dave Fitzpatrick, co-founder of RentLizard.com, a national online real estate rental search service. "It's so much easier for tenants, many of whom are already paying their other bills online, as well as for landlords."
Tenants seem to agree. "Until I started using an online rent payment service a couple of months ago, rent was literally the only check I wrote each month," said Lindsey Neiling, a Chicago renter. "Now, I pay my rent like my other bills – online. It's much simpler."
WilliamPaid is an online resource for renters and roommates, providing flexible rent payment options, including paying rent with a credit or debit card, credit building services such as having rent payments and past rent and utility payments reported to a credit bureau, shared bill management, allocation and tracking and other roommate tools that help renters and roommates communicate.