Rent Payment, Tenant Management

The Best Online Rent Payment Service for Small Landlords

man making online rent payment

Property management software can be a useful tool for small and independent landlords to effectively run their businesses. We have written overviews of several top software products that offer solutions for a variety of standard property management tasks from advertising and applications to tenant screening, lease signing and rent collection. Here we compare how each of them handle online rent payment from a landlord’s perspective. We compare them across a variety of factors and then determine the best online rent payment service for small landlords.

Also Read: Online Rent Collection: The Definitive Landlord Guide

The Best Online Rent Payment Services

These are our winners for the best online rent payment services. Read below for complete criteria and scores:

CategoryWinner
Best Online Rent Payment Service Overall (Tie)Avail
Rentec Direct
Lowest Cost Online Rent Payment ServicePayRent
Best Online Rent Payment Service for Large PortfoliosBuildium

Best Online Rent Payment Service Overall (tie):

While we generally favor online rent payment products that do not require a subscription to use, Rentec Direct made up for the upfront monthly required subscription by scoring highest in 2 other categories. By offering the most (along with Buildium) payment options (including cash) for tenants along with the fastest deposit times for receiving rent payments, Rentec Direct is one of our winners for the best online rent payment service overall.

Rentec Direct
Designed to address the needs of DIY landlords as well as property management companies, Rentec Direct includes all the tools necessary to manage and rent your properties. Strength: Complete Solution

Avail also is one of our winners for the best online rent payment service overall. With next day FastPay ACH transfers included for Unlimited Plus subscribers and 2-day deposit times for all others, Avail offers a fast and convenient rent payment service. Additionally, landlords do not need to be a paid subscriber to access Avail’s online rent payment service. At $2.50 per transfer that your tenant can pay, a landlord has the opportunity to collect rent at no additional cost.

Avail
Advertise your property, find and screen tenants, sign leases, collect rent, and e-sign custom local leases, with tools built specifically for DIY landlords. Strength: Complete Solution

Avail is a winner for Residential Lease Agreements: Best Software for Small Landlords

Lowest Cost Online Rent Payment System for Landlords:

If reducing your out-of-pocket expenses is the most important aspect, PayRent is an excellent option, depending on your portfolio size. PayRent is a service that focuses exclusively on rent payments. As a result, they offer a unique product that makes it easy and safe for landlords to collect rent online. No subscription plan and a simple pricing structure means no ongoing monthly payments. Choose to pass-through transaction fees to your tenants, and your rent payment fees are $0 forever. And unlike some other software’s free plans, you can use PayRent for unlimited properties.

PayRent
With no subscription plan and a simple pricing structure, PayRent helps property owners and managers collect rent online safely, reliably and automatically. Strength: Rent Collection

PayRent is a winner in our Best Free Property Management Software for Small Landlords

Best Online Rent Payment System for Large Portfolios:

If you manage a large building or several properties where online rent collection is a priority, Buildium is your best option. While both the Core and Pro plans are the most expensive subscriptions presented here, landlords can spread the cost out over dozens or even hundreds of units if they roll out this software product to every resident. Buildium offers multiple payment options for your tenants and provides the flexibility for landlords to offer a choice of recurring payment dates. As a result, this makes it easier for tenants to pay rent on time. The reporting is robust and offers a multitude of features that larger property managers and owners can use. Therefore, Buildium earns the top spot in our rankings of online rent payment services for landlords with large portfolios.

Buildium
Whether you manage five doors or five thousand, Buildium provides a simple but sophisticated property management platform to help you grow and improve your business. Strength: Complete Solution

Our Contenders

We considered the following rental property management software products for the best online rent payment service:

Avail
Advertise your property, find and screen tenants, sign leases, collect rent, and e-sign custom local leases, with tools built specifically for DIY landlords. Strength: Complete Solution
Buildium
Whether you manage five doors or five thousand, Buildium provides a simple but sophisticated property management platform to help you grow and improve your business. Strength: Complete Solution
ClearNow
ClearNow is a leader in online rent payment, serving landlords and property managers of all sizes since 2000. Strength: Rent Collection
Landlord Studio
Accounting and property management tools to save time and money while managing your rentals. Track income and expenses, screen tenants, collect rent, and more. Strength: Accounting and Financial Tracking
PayRent
With no subscription plan and a simple pricing structure, PayRent helps property owners and managers collect rent online safely, reliably and automatically. Strength: Rent Collection
Rentec Direct
Designed to address the needs of DIY landlords as well as property management companies, Rentec Direct includes all the tools necessary to manage and rent your properties. Strength: Complete Solution
RentRedi
RentRedi is an all-inclusive landlord-tenant app. Manage vacancies, screening, and rent collection from wherever you are, on any device. Strength: Complete Solution
TenantCloud
End-to-end property management solution. Receive payments online, advertise properties and screen potential tenants. Robust accounting and maintenance features. Strength: Complete Solution

TenantCloud is a winner in our Best Ways to Advertise Property for Rent

The Best Online Rent Payment Service Criteria & Scores

We graded each of the software providers on 5 key rent collection features on a 10 point scale, plus a bonus feature. Read on for more details. Here’s how they stack up:

SoftwareAvail
Buildium
Clear
Now
Landlord
Studio
Pay
Rent
Rentec
Direct
Rent
Redi
Tenant
Cloud
Payment Options8.510778.51099.5
Recurring81098108.588.5
Speed1097.577.51096.5
Cost9.5677.510799
Reporting7.5910107.5999.5
Bonus+1+1
TOTAL44.54441.539.543.544.54443

Payment Options:

We looked at the availability and variety of different rent payment options each software provider offers. These include both online and offline options. More options mean flexibility for tenants to pay rent through a variety of methods. As a result, this helps get their rent paid and to the landlord on time.

Avail – score 8.5/10:

Tenants can pay however they want, from bank accounts or credit cards. They can also pay from any device that has access to the internet. Getting started is simple. Enter the rent amount and lease dates, your tenant’s name and email, and Avail will handle the rest.

Buildium – score 10/10:

Residents authorize their bank accounts or credit cards to make online rent payments. Together with PayNearMe, Buildium also lets residents make cash payments at over 20,000 locations nationwide.

ClearNow – score 7/10:

Tenants can pay from their checking or savings accounts only. However, tenants do not need a computer or Internet access to use ClearNow. They simply complete their Tenant Enrollment Agreement (online or printed form) and send in their bank documentation to begin.

Landlord Studio – score 7/10:

Tenants can pay rent from a connected bank account. Once you set up online rent collection, your tenant will receive an email with a link to follow to create an account and connect their bank account. Their rent owed will show up on their dashboard where they can setup payments.

PayRent – score 8.5/10:

Your tenants will have a choice of either e-check or credit card payment methods. Add your tenants to the platform and PayRent will send out an email invitation for them to join the service then help them through the process of adding a payment method.

Rentec Direct – score 10/10:

Rentec Direct makes it easy for tenants to pay rent using their credit card, debit card, or bank account. Tenants can also make cash rental payments at one of over 20,000 locations that are part of the PayNearMe cash network.

RentRedi – score 9/10:

Tenants can pay with a choice of ACH, debit, or credit card. Landlords can also choose which method of payment they are willing to accept.

TenantCloud – score 9.5/10:

With the TenantCloud free plan, your tenants can pay using Stripe or PayPal. With one of the paid plans, you can accept ACH using TC Payments powered by Dwolla, PayPal, or any other debit and credit card payments.


Automated/Recurring Rent Payment:

We looked at whether the service offers tenants the ability to schedule recurring rent payments each month and how flexible the payment dates are. For example, does the payment occur only on the 1st of each month, or can landlords and tenants schedule different dates. And can the tenant schedule multiple payments each month? This helps ensure payment of rent before spending their paychecks on anything else.

Avail – score 8/10:

Tenants can turn on Autopay to schedule recurring online rent payments. They simply choose a date to withdraw the funds, and Avail will deposit the funds directly to your account.

Buildium – score 10/10:

Residents can set up a recurring online rent payment schedule and can choose from a multitude of frequency options including one-time, every month, every two weeks, daily, and more. Rent will never be late, because it’s deposited into your bank account automatically.

ClearNow – score 9/10:

Tenants can pay biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly. Each ClearNow account debits on a specific day and credits to a specific bank account. ClearNow is unique in that landlords can specify their own debit day: 1st of the month; 5th; 15th; 25th; Biweekly (every other Tuesday); or Semimonthly (3rd and 17th).

ClearNow does not collect partial rent payments. If a tenant does not have 100% of the rent amount in his/her bank account, then nothing is collected. This is important in some jurisdictions where partial rent payment might prevent a landlord from starting the eviction process.

Landlord Studio – score 8/10:

Once your tenant has created their account they can turn on auto-pay and set the payment to be made the same time each month. This will schedule all ongoing payments to be deducted from the their account until the lease end date. Tenants can turn off auto-pay using the Automatic Rent Payment Toggle at any time.

PayRent – score 10/10:

Working late or going on vacation shouldn’t stop your tenants from making their online rent payment on time. Let them set up a one-time future payment, or weekly, semi-monthly or monthly recurring payments so you know your rent will be paid no matter where they are or how busy they may be.

Rentec Direct – score 8.5/10:

You or your tenant will login to Rentec Direct and specify the frequency the rent payment should occur, either monthly or weekly, and on what day to process the transaction. Rentec EasyPay also supports one-time transactions. On the specified date, Rentec deducts the rent from the tenant’s checking or savings account and after it clears a few days later forwards it to the property manager’s account.

RentRedi – score 8/10:

Tenants can choose to enable auto-pay and schedule recurring rent payments for the same date each month.

TenantCloud – score 8.5/10:

Tenants that have set up TCPayments can also enable Auto Pay to make rent payments automatically on before the due date.


Speed:

We compared the time it takes for the landlord to receive their online rent payment. We also ask if there is an option to expedite payments. All providers claim that most rent payments clear and deposit into your bank accounts within 3 days or so, but there are some differences.

Avail – score 10/10:

Payments typically deposit directly to your bank in just 2 business days, faster than a check and without the hassle of a trip to the bank. With Avail’s Unlimited Plus premium plan, next day payments are available to landlords at no additional cost.

Buildium – score 9/10:

Online rent payments using EFT/eCheck or credit card will be deposited into your back account 2 business days after the resident makes a payment through Buildium. Landlords can request faster EFT deposits for a small fee between $1.00-1.45 per transaction.

Money from completed PayNearMe transactions will be deposited into your bank account within 5 business days without any risk of reversal.

ClearNow – score 7.5/10:

Three banking days after the debit day, your bank account is credited the rent amount, less any ClearNow fees. However, there are no options to expedite payment.

Landlord Studio – score 7/10:

It currently takes between 3-5 days for payments to be processed and funds to be received into your account. However, Landlord Studio is looking into options for instant transfers.

PayRent – score 7.5/10:

PayRent can deposit your rent payments to any bank with branches in the United States, usually within 3 days from when rent payments are made. There is no option for expedited payments.

Rentec Direct – score 10/10:

Rentec Direct transmits credit card payments to your bank account the day following the transaction.

ACH funds are transmitted the day following the transaction. You can also get same day funding of ACH transactions for a fee of $0.50 per transaction. Depending on your bank, the funds might be available the same day they are transmitted or any day following. Larger national banks typically show the funds the same day as they are transmitted as “pending”, and fully cleared the following day. Smaller banks do not have the same connections to the federal reserve and therefore can take anywhere from 1-3 days to post the transaction to your account.

RentRedi – score 9/10:

While it initially takes 7-10 days to activate a new payment account, once that is complete, payments are received in 1-3 business days. There is no option for expedited payments though.

TenantCloud – score 6.5/10:

An ACH transaction usually takes 3–4 business days to complete. Transfers to your bank account takes another 1-2 business days, longer if they are over a weekend or holiday.


Fees/Cost:

We examined the fees each online rent payment service charges under their free or most basic plans. Our graders did not attempt to factor prices of subscription plans into a cost per transaction since the number of units and transactions differ for everyone. However, we did lower scores where a monthly subscription is required to collect rent online, ie, no free options. We also looked at the costs a “typical” small landlord with 5 units would be facing for rent collection and required subscription payments.

Avail – score 9.5/10:

Using Avail’s free Unlimited plan, ACH transfers cost $2.50 per transaction. With the premium Unlimited Plus plan, landlords receive free ACH transfers. With either plan, credit or debit card transactions are charged a 3.5% transaction fee. To compare pricing across the different online rent payment services, let’s take look at a landlord with 5 units. With the free plan, the cost would be $12.50 per month, which can be paid by either the landlord or tenants. With the paid plan, the monthly subscription fees would cost $25/month but rent collection costs would be $0.

Buildium – score 6/10:

You must have a subscription to one of Buildium’s paid plans, starting from $47/month for the Core plan and $156/month for the Pro plan.

Online rent payment costs for the Core plan are:

  • $1.00 per incoming EFT transaction
  • $0.50 per outgoing EFT transaction
  • 2.95% per credit card transaction
  • $99 setup fee per business bank account

For the Pro plan, they come down to:

  • Free incoming EFT payments
  • $0.50 per outgoing payment
  • 2.95% per credit card transaction
  • Free setup for first five business bank accounts

With Buildium, our landlord would pay $47/month for the Buildium Pro plan. For 5 units, she would then pay $5 for ETF transactions each month, but those could be passed on to her tenants. As a result, the total combined cost would be $52/month, not including the $99 bank setup fee.

ClearNow – score 7/10:

There are no set-up fees and no long-term contracts. Fees are charged to the landlord when ClearNow attempts to debit a tenant. With no option for tenants to pay, ClearNow then deducts fees directly from the transaction.

  • Monthly debit: $14.95/month for one debit. Each additional debit is $2/month.
  • Biweekly or semimonthly debit: $4/debit.
  • Additional account for monthly debit on a different day: $7.95/month for one debit. Each additional debit is $2/month.

To compare pricing across the different online rent payment services, let’s take look at a landlord with 5 units. Using ClearNow, her monthly cost would be $14.95 for the first unit, plus $2 for each additional unit for a total of $22.95.

Landlord Studio – score 7.5/10:

Landlord Studio charges $2.50 per transfer. For a landlord collecting rent from 5 tenants, this would come to $12.50 per month, plus a $14 monthly subscription for their lowest priced “Start” plan, for a total of $26.50.

PayRent – score 10/10:

There is no monthly subscription cost to use PayRent’s online rent payment service. They simply charge 0.25% per transfer, which the tenant can pay directly. With our sample 5-unit landlord at an average unit rent of $1500 per month, the rent collection costs would come to $18.75. This would change if your rent was higher or lower.

Rentec Direct – score 7/10:

Free ACH (eCheck) transactions are included with a Rentec Pro or PM subscription. No setup costs or other monthly costs. Expedited same day ACH funding costs $0.50 per transaction. The Rentec Basic option does not include the ability to collect online rent payment though.

Credit card payments are billed at 2.75% of the transaction cost. This can be paid by either the tenant or landlord.

Cash payments through the PayNearMe cash payment network have a $200 setup cost, and tenants pay $3.99 per transaction. There is no monthly cost, but a minimum of 10 payments per month is required.

Subscription fees for Rentec Pro start at $35/month, and $40/month for Rentec PM. In this case, our small landlord with 5 units would just pay $35 each month if she were to sign up for the cheaper Rentec Pro plan.

RentRedi – score 9/10:

Rent payments are charged $1 per transfer using ACH payments. A landlord with 5 units would pay $5 plus a subscription fee of $9/month (if paying for an annual plan). Credit and debit card transactions are charged a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee.

TenantCloud – score 9/10:

With the TenantCloud free plan, landlords can only accept rent using Stripe or PayPal. Both services charge 2.9% of the transfer amount, plus $0.30 per transaction. These fees are paid by the tenant. With one of the paid plans, ACH transactions are free. TenantCloud’s standard plan costs $9 per month for up to 150 units under management.


Tracking/Reminders/Reporting:

While all of the property management software solutions offer at least some integration of rent payments into their accounting and reporting tools, some have more robust functionality than others. Which of these more advanced features are included the software? Do they have the ability to track payments and integrate receipts into accounting or reporting? Do tenants receive reminders for upcoming rent payments, and are landlords notified if rent is late or missing? The answers to these questions influence our scores.

Avail – score 7.5/10:

Avail offers automatic reminder emails and built-in payment receipts. Late fees can be automatically assessed as well. Landlords have access to payment tracking and reporting, though integration with your accounting or bookkeeping software may be limited.

Buildium – score 9/10:

When a resident has a one-time or recurring payment scheduled, they will receive an email seven days in advance notifying them of this upcoming payment.

Completed transactions will automatically post to your Buildium account within minutes — no manual entry required. As a result, landlords spend less collecting, depositing, and logging cash payments.

ClearNow – score 10/10:

Eight days before the debit day – Tenants receive payment reminders (for those with e-mail). On the credit day, a payment report is sent to the landlord via email. These are also stored in your ClearNow account.

ClearNow will notify you via e-mail of tenants who failed their debit via ClearNow, in which case they will need to pay their rent directly to you in another form such as a check or money order. ClearNow will not re-attempt the debit for that particular payment, but they may assess a fee to the tenant for the failed debit.

You can download ClearNow payment data as a CSV file and view with spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel. There are also additional reports based on income and expense tracking, such as profit and loss statements. One report in particular, the Schedule E Helper, makes completing the Schedule E of Form 1040 simple at tax time.

Landlord Studio – score 10/10:

This is where Landlord Studio shines. Landlords can integrate their bank accounts and get automatic income reconciliation. Landlord Studio ties into their leases and accounting software, and provides automated rent reminders, late fees, and more.

PayRent – score 7.5/10:

PayRent sends automated rent reminders to your renters which helps avoid last-minute confusion and stress. You will also receive instant email notification when rent is paid as well as full accounting and tracking of rent payments. There do not seem to be other reporting features that some of the other services offer.

Rentec Direct – score 9/10:

All of the packages from Rentec Direct include financial tracking and reporting options. You can also connect your Rentec account with your bank to download and sync your online rent receipts into Quickbooks. Rentec Direct also offers a variety of specialized property and owner reports you can email, print, download or export.

RentRedi – score 9/10:

RentRedi will send automated rent reminders to tenants, set up automatic, recurring late fees, and export transactions directly to spreadsheets, Quickbooks Online, Desktop, or Pro. Landlords can also block or accept partial payments, or even assume processing fees if they choose. For landlords who require flexibility, RentRedi provides multiple options.

TenantCloud – score 9.5/10:

TenantCloud has robust reporting and accounting features to help you keep track of all your income and expenses. Tenants can pay rent and get automatic receipts as well as look up their payment history. There is also automatic invoicing and late fees, as well as financial and rental reports, and simple exporting of your data as needed. With TenantCloud’s $35/month Advanced subscription service, you can even sync your data with Quickbooks.


Bonus Point – Credit Agency Reporting:

Does the online rent payment service report payments (and missed payments) to the credit bureaus such as TransUnion and Experian? This feature can incentivize tenants to make payments on-time while improving their credit scores.

Avail +1:

Avail can report your tenants’ on-time rent payments to Transunion with their CreditBoost service. Your tenants may see up to a 40 point increase in their credit score.

Buildium:

Not Available

ClearNow +1:

Tenants enrolled in ClearNow may report their rent payments made to Experian RentBureau and PRBC:

  • After your tenants enroll in ClearNow, they provide consent to ClearNow to have their rent payment data furnished to credit bureaus.
  • For successful rent payments through ClearNow, nothing needs to be done. For debits that fail or are blocked, you must update your tenant’s payment record.
  • After four (4) payment records, the first submission of data is furnished. Thereafter, data is furnished on a monthly basis. All payments made while the tenant is enrolled in ClearNow will be furnished regardless of when the tenant opts in for credit reporting.
  • There is no additional fee for furnishing data to Experian RentBureau and PRBC.

Landlord Studio:

Not Available

PayRent:

Not Available

Rentec Direct:

Not Available

RentRedi:

Not Available

TenantCloud:

Not Available


Takeaway

We have reviewed several of the top online rent payment services that can meet the needs of independent landlords no matter the number of properties you manage. While some services are part of a property management software product that includes a variety of features, others may only offer rent collection if that is of most importance to you. We encourage you to take a look at our product overviews and decide which is right for you and your needs. You can also take a look at our comparison table below:

Click image to enlarge


Video Extra – Collecting Rent Online:

Read the transcript.


Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and Landlord Gurus may earn a commission. Our mission remains to provide valuable resources and information that helps landlords manage their rental properties efficiently and profitably. We link to these companies and their products because of their quality, not because of the commission.

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About Chris Lee

Chris comes from a family of real estate investors, and remembers well his childhood of helping to prepare apartments between renters. He now manages his own property, apartment complexes, and condos. He has particular insight into the issues around short-term rentals as he manages those for himself and for other owners.
View all posts by Chris Lee →

1 thought on “The Best Online Rent Payment Service for Small Landlords

  1. Cozy is also a good addition in collecting rents online. Also, for the one feature which no one offers but spark rental is Pay check deduction.

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