Sheryl Nance-Nash in Board Operations on October 1, 2013
Such a system already exists for apartment owners and others. Launched in 2009, and currently operating in 33 states, ClickPay processes ACH payments, recurring payments and debit and credit card payments. It also partners with some small banks to offer these services.
In May, Matthew Adam Properties started using ClickPay. "Our clients can go online, enter their account number, and pay their rent, maintenance, and common charges," says Ira Meister, president of the management firm. "People can see a history of payments. They can pay by credit cards. It's what people want."
He says the electronic payment platform also provides better reporting. Before, the company had what he calls a "basic system." It didn't offer capabilities that clients sought, such as being able to pay by credit card or having a history of payments at their fingertips. While some companies charge shareholders to make such payments, Meister says his does not.
Many managers did not offer the credit card option to avoid paying three to four percent in fees to the credit card companies, says Meghan Sheehan, vice president and director of sales for ClickPay. ClickPay has changed that. The shareholders or unit-holders can pay maintenance or common charges via credit card, but they have to pay a monthly fee for the service. The manager and the co-op/condo are thereby off the hook. The fee for each transaction is currently less than four percent of the bill. It is waived if the payee uses an ACH system (currently about 85 percent of users).
It's not only residents and condo / co-op boards who are happy — so is Matthew Adam Properties, which is already seeing positive results. Contends Sheehan, "Property managers get collections faster because they don't have to wait for mail, then deposit the money and wait for it to clear. There is an advantage for the property manager and the board. The process is automated, so you can post collections without manual entries. ClickPay creates operational efficiencies for property managers. There are electronic reminders to pay rent or dues. People can set up payments. It's good for members and allows flexibility for owners."
But ClickPay's real estate-specific platform offers more than standard banking. "Banks usually have a basic system for all industries. It's not user-friendly and cannot be customized as needed for each property manager," says Sheehan. ClickPay easily integrates with most real estate accounting programs and other portals such as BuildingLink. It also offers e-billing.
Although there were a couple of minor start-up glitches in the initial use of this electronic payment system, Meister says they were quickly resolved. He likes that shareholders who have questions or problems can contact ClickPay directly. "Mostly, though, the feedback from clients has been very positive."
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