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Want more digital rent payments? There’s an app for that

Finding a hidden benefit in something you use is always gratifying. Especially when that something is already loaded with advantages that make your life easier. 

Multifamily operators are experiencing the same delight with mobile community apps. Not only do they facilitate better communication between on-site staff and residents, they improve day-to-day operations, and deliver a better living experience for renters. Common uses of community apps include remotely controlling locks and thermostats within a unit, filing and tracking maintenance requests, registering guests, package management, and paying rent. 

On top of all those conveniences, community managers are getting an unexpected bonus from their app. As it turns out, their community app is also driving more residents to make digital rent payments instead of paper-based ones. And as we all know, when residents pay digitally, community managers spend less time processing payments, funding time is faster, and security and visibility into payment data is greatly improved.

S2 Capital can vouch that their app drove digital payment adoption. After implementing Zego Engage, they saw digital rent payments at their communities jump 27%. An executive at Lincoln Properties (one of the top 50 multifamily companies in the US) said during NAA’s 2019 Apartmentalize that their 70% adoption of digital payments is largely due to their mobile app. 

Since the average multifamily property only receives about 30% of its rent payments digitally, most community managers are thrilled to see that number increase. Here’s how a mobile app will bring your communities an uptick in digital rent payments. 

You’re meeting residents where they already are  

Captain Obvious here, but our society has become addicted to our smartphones. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Mobile Survey, smartphones are now the preferred device for conducting most online activities. Not only that, but a growing population (28% of Americans) are ditching the clunkiness of laptops and desktops and solely relying on their smartphone for online access. 

Apps are a wise way for communities to meet residents where they constantly are. When you’re continually looking at your smartphone (which, by the way, Deloitte says the average American does about 52 times a day) it’s far more convenient to quickly open an app to make a payment rather than boot up a laptop. 

Plus, the best community apps ensure that residents can control every aspect of their living experience. Within one app, residents can reserve amenities, control their smart home devices, read community announcements, submit maintenance requests, and you guessed it – pay rent. Consolidating all the important tasks related to apartment living into one app not only translates to higher usage, it helps drive digital rent payments. For instance, S2 Capital found that residents used their community app approximately 5.3 times a day. And as we mentioned previously, they had a 27% jump in digital payments. If your residents have reason to be in their app several times per day, it just makes it that much more convenient to pay their rent from there, too. 

There’s less friction in the payment process 

You might be wondering why an app would be more conducive to increasing digital payments rather than your website. What it comes down to is the superior user experience that apps provide for residents. 

If you don’t have an app, and a resident wishes to make a payment from their mobile device, then they use the phone’s browser to visit your payment portal. Hopefully, your company is up with the times enough to have it mobile optimized, but that’s still a less-than-ideal user experience. 

A well-designed mobile app works faster than a mobile-optimized website and is easier to navigate. There’s less content to scroll through and that leads to a faster loading time.

Plus, apps remove one of the friction points that is typically associated with making an online rent payment – the login process. With a mobile app, the user is continuously logged in, allowing them to pick up their phone and instantly initiate a payment. They can also securely store their payment data, saving them the added step of opening up their wallet. These conveniences speed up the entire transaction and the can be completed with just a few taps.  

Apps continually communicate when and how to pay digitally 

Without an app, it’s up to your community managers to inform residents about their digital payment options and articulate instructions for paying in that manner. For less tech-savvy residents, community managers may even need to walk them through the digital payment process with the hopes they’ll continue to pay that way in the future. Community managers already have so much on their plate that sometimes reminding residents about digital payments falls through the cracks.

If your communities have an app, communication about paying digitally becomes automated. Thanks to push notifications, residents have continuous reminders and instructions about paying their rent digitally. When residents open the notification, it will take them to the exact place they can make a payment, removing the extra effort they have to put in if they’re not sure where to go. 

Residents want to use an app

Lastly, the simplest explanation for why communities see more digital rent payments after launching an app is that residents want to pay that way. They already understand that mobile apps offer conveniences that aren’t found in a traditional online environment. And they’ll jump at any process that eases the friction of paying rent.

Research backs this up. A third-party study conducted on behalf of Zego found that 20% of renters currently pay rent with their community’s mobile app. But almost half of renters would pay their rent using an app if it were offered at their community.

As you can see, a bump in digital rent payments after launching a community app isn’t just a fluke. Offering a community app improves many aspects of the resident experience, and that includes paying rent.

Interested in learning more on how communities are using apps to streamline operations and build resident engagement? Get the play-by-play in our ebook, Connected Communities: Drive Resident Engagement and Empower On-site Staff

 

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