The Best Way to Collect Rent Payments From Your Tenants

Cash and checks are slow, insecure, and outdated ways to collect rent. In this article, we explore the best ways to collect rent from your tenants.

Knowing the best way to collect rent and having the right tools to do so effectively will help you minimize the risk of missed and late rent payments. 

Traditional methods of rent collection like cash and checks are slow and insecure and make everyone’s lives harder. They increase the likelihood of late and missed payments for landlords and the risk of late fees and evictions for tenants.

And while some tenants are resistant to new technology, in today's modern age, there really are no good reasons for someone not to make their life (and yours) easier by using an online payment solution. 

This means it's time to embrace online rent collection! Treat your rental like a business to make rent collection easier for everyone involved.

Different Ways To Collect Rent

There are several ways that landlords can collect rent from tenants. However, not every method is created equal. Below we outline the three main methods used by landlords for rent collection.

1. By Mail: Receiving rent by mail involves physical checks. This is a simple and easy approach, however, it risks late payments or misplaced checks, causing potential cash flow issues or incorrect late fees.

2. In-Person Collection: This is an option if you live nearby, however, it's not always convenient for remote investors, and tenants may not always be available during collection times.

3. Online payments: This includes, ACH transfers, credit card payments and online payment platforms. This is often the fastest and most secure rent collection strategy with deposits made directly into your bank account.

What Is The Best Way To Collect Rent?

So, what is the best way to collect rent? The most secure and most convenient way for your tenants to pay their rent is electronically. Payments can be made using a mobile device and will be delivered directly into your account.

In places like the UK, Europe, Australia, or New Zealand, the answer is simple. Bank to bank transfers. Preferably have your tenants set up a direct deposit using their online banking. This is free in the countries mentioned above.

In the US though, this can be expensive with a bank transfer costing up to $30 each time and a direct deposit costing upwards of $50 to set up, often with ongoing monthly fees.

How do you collect rent from tenants online? Ideally, you will use a purpose built software with low fees. You should look for a software that allows you to block partial payments, automate late fees, and integrates with accounting tools so you can easily track your income in real-time.

To help you start you search for the prefect online rent collection software, we have outlined 8 of the best ways to collect rent online below.

Below Are Our Top 8 Methods For Collecting Rent Online

1. Landlord Studio

Use Landlord Studio to Collect Rent Online for free!

Landlord Studio is a powerful property management and accounting software with an award winning Online Rent Collection feature designed specifically for landlords. It allows you to automate the entire rent collection process and manage all your rental property income and expenses in one place.

Landlord Studio has advanced fraud detection that prevent illegal transactions.

Tenants can quickly and securely transfer the rent straight into their landlord’s bank account. It’s fast, secure, and easy, and paired with other Landlord Studio features makes late rent payments a thing of the past.

Landlord studio dashboard

🔒 Landlord Studio compiles with the USA Patriot Act and has strict security and identity verification process designed to prevent fraud and protect our users when using Online Rent Collection.


  • Tenant’s can easily set recurring rent payments.
  • Payments received are automatically reconciled and tracked in Landlord Studio.
  • Payments go straight into your bank account.
  • Landlords can live track all processing payments.
  • Connect and receive money into multiple bank accounts.
  • Automate receipts and invoices.
  • Automate rent reminder emails.
  • Automate late fees.
  • Block partial payments.
  • Easy in-app setup.
  • Includes access to additional property management features, providing an end-to-end solution.
  • Free plan available.


  • Transactions take 3-5 days.
  • Small transaction fee which can be charged to the tenant.

2. Zelle Pay

With Zelle Pay, you can send and collect rent payments instantly through your banking app, or the Zelle app if your bank doesn’t support Zelle Pay yet. The transfers are free and only require you to know a US mobile number or email address (as long as the other person already has Zelle).

You can use Zelle with multiple accounts at multiple banks, but, and this is a big but, you must have a different email address or U.S. mobile number linked to each account to connect it with Zelle. If you try to use the same email address or mobile phone number to enrol with Zelle at multiple banks, you will receive an error message. If using Zelle for rent collection on multiple properties this can make it hard to track who has and hasn’t paid.


  • Instant.
  • Free.
  • Easy in-app or online with certain banks.
  • Just need their phone number or email address.
  • Payments go straight into your bank account.
  • Set recurring payments through your online banking.


  • You can only set recurring payments using Zelle if it’s supported by your online banking.
  • Both parties need a Zelle account.
  • You need a different email address or phone number for each bank account connected to Zelle.
  • If your bank or credit union doesn’t yet support Zelle there is a daily spending limit of $500. Going over this limits could mean having your account blocked without warning.

Most issues when collecting rent with Zelle arise when Zelle isn’t supported by both parties banks. If both parties banks aren’t supported we suggest using alternative service.

3. Venmo

You can use Venmo can be used to collect rent. It allows you to send and receive money quickly and easily through their app to people on your contact list. You can quickly connect to people through social media, or, like Zelle, you can use their email or phone number if they already have a Venmo account. Although Venmo isn’t designed for collecting rent you certainly could use it that way.


  • Quick.
  • Easy in-app process.
  • Free to send money “to friends”.


  • Both parties need a Venmo account.
  • Can’t set up automated payments.
  • Money goes to your Venmo account instead of straight to your bank.
  • Records may not be accepted in court.
  • Business purchase support entails is a 3% fee.
  • Payments of over $600 for personal accounts may be flagged and accounts frozen.

4. Paypal

Paypal has been around for a while now. They revolutionized online payments, and it’s taken a while for other companies to catch up. Many people have a Paypal account already. Paypal allows you to quickly, easily, and securely send money to someone else’s Paypal account through their app or online. If using Paypal to collect rent you will likely need a business account to avoid coming into conflict with their terms and conditions.


  • Fast.
  • Easy to send money online or via the app.
  • Free.
  • Just need an email address.


  • Both parties need a Paypal account.
  • Paid into the Paypal account not direct to your bank.
  • Can’t set up automated payments.
  • Paypal more often than not side with the customer (in this case Tenant) if issues arise.
  • There are applicable account limitations, non-compliance could result in account funds being frozen.

5. Apple Pay

Apple is making some interesting moves in the payment sphere and now allows US customers to pay each other inside iMessage. You simply connect up your debit card and then you can pay your contact inside the Message app.

They have also released Apple Card – a credit card with zero fees which is well worth knowing about.


  • Easy, just need their phone number.
  • A lot of people already use Apple Messages.
  • No fees.
  • Connected to your bank account.
  • Instant.


  • You both need to have Apple products and be using iMessage.
  • You can’t set up automated payments.

6. PayYourRent

Property managers and landlords can use PayYourRent to collect online rent payments, as well as use it for some of their basic property management requirements such as screen prospective tenants, and process and manage maintenance requests.


  • Convenient and easy to use for tenants.
  • Additional basic property management features.
  • Fast payment processing - they offer same day processing.


  • High cost. Plans start from $9.95 per month for up to five units. There is an additional transaction costs of $2.50 per transaction on top of the base subscription.
  • There is no free plan.
  • No accounting or reporting tools
  • Clunky to set up and use.

Other Methods to Collect Rent Online

The following methods have associated fees, but are also worth considering.

Related: How Facebook’s “Project Libra” is Going to Revolutionize the Rental Industry

6. ACH – Direct Debit

Direct Debit payments are the most reliable and secure way to collect rent from your tenants, but it can be tricky to set-up a Direct Debit yourself. Any Direct Debit payment will require a mandate signed or approved by the tenant before it can be activated, and organising this yourself will be difficult.


  • Automated – one time set-up – save time.
  • Less chance of them missing a rent payment.
  • Landlord is in control.
  • Reliable.


  • Fees – see your banks terms and conditions.
  • Have to work with your tenant to get it set up, requiring a signed mandate.

7. Standing Order

A Standing Order, otherwise known as ‘The Standing Order Mandate’, is a set of instructions given to a bank or building a society that tells them to make payments for a fixed amount regularly to a specific bank account.

In the case of rent payments, a Standing Order will be set-up by the tenant to send the rent amount to the landlord’s bank account on the due date each month. Once a Standing Order is set-up, it can run indefinitely until it is canceled.


  • One time setup.
  • Automated.
  • Reliable.


  • Potential Fees dependent on the bank.
  • Tenant is in control.
  • No notifications if the payment doesn’t go through. So, you have to manually check.

8. Credit Card

This is more of a last resort but for those times when your tenant is having a “tough month”, allowing credit card payments can help everyone stay on top of the rent payments. Using a credit card will incur processing fees (which will need to be charged to the tenant) as well as involve the tenant risking their credit score if they are unable to pay off that credit card debt for the next month.

You will need to use a 3rd party to enable this such as Plastiq which has a 2.5% fee, or Venmo which has a 3% fee.

There is another downside to allowing them to use a credit card to pay rent which is the time taken for the money to go through to your account which could be days, weeks, or even months.

Policies to Collect Rent Payments Online

Collecting rent online is the fastest and most efficient way in which to collect your rent payments. However, in the US it’s not been made simple by the glacially slow adoption of banks to enable efficient bank transfers which means you have to use a workaround.

Deciding on the best way to collect rent online for you and your tenants can be challenging. Once you have decided you need to make sure this rent collection policy is clearly outlined in the lease and in the welcome letter when the tenant moves in. If you’re uncertain, discuss your rent collection policy with your tenants in person.

On top of this, make sure you detail how you expect the rent to be paid with detailed instructions of how to get set up so that the tenant has no excuse to pay late.

Expectations in Your Lease

The terms of your lease should include:

  • Rent: How much a tenant is paying and when payments are due.
  • Payment methods: What forms of payment are accepted, where and how tenants can pay online.
  • Late payment consequences: What late fees will be charged and whether you will report late payments to credit agencies.

Recognize Ability of Tenants to Make Online Rent Payments

Make sure you recognize those individuals with certain disabilities that might hinder their ability to pay online. Elderly renters, for example, may need more assistance to be able to complete online rent payments.

Your policies should be firm, but be sure to make it easy for everyone to be able to pay – offering assistance if needed.

Some Suggestions for Helping These Individuals Set up Their Online Rent Payments Include:

  • Create step-by-step instructions: This only needs to be created once and then given out to tenants when they each move in. It should be a clear and concise step by step guide to paying rent the way that you expect them to pay rent. Leave no room for error on their part.
  • Available assistance: Make sure your tenant has the companies customer assistance details handy. For example, if you want them to use Zelle, include their customer helpline phone number and website address so that they can ask questions.
  • An introductory email: Email them the companies set-up guide, with videos if possible. Each of these companies has extensive resources to help their customers use their products.
  • Accommodate protected tenants: If you have a tenant that is disabled or elderly, see that they have a family member responsible for the payments. Be sure to contact them to help them set up their payment system and establish your expectations clearly.

Find out more about Online Rent Collection with Landlord Studio →

Related Articles

Best Way To Collect Rent FAQs

What is the safest method to collect rent?

The safest way for a tenant to make rent payments is through an online payment provider or using a certified payment method. This is because it gives them a record of the transaction, proof of payment, that can be used should a dispute arise. This record of payment is useful for landlords as well for analyzing their income and reporting for tax time.

Can I use Zelle to collect rent?

Yes. Whilts, Zelle's main focus is on effortless money transfer among trusted circles like friends and family, it can also be used for rent collection. There are however, downsides to using Zelle see the section of Zelle above.

What is the most secure way to pay rent?

Using rent collection apps is the most secure method to transmit rent payments. As with direct deposit, tenants can arrange automatic payments, ensuring a consistent withdrawal of funds at a set time every month, transfers are easily traceable, and deposited directly into thelandlords bank account (no chance of them getting lost or stolen en route).

Can I collect rent via Venmo?

Venmo is easy to use for receiving rent as long as a tenant and landlord are using the Venmo mobile app. However, as it's not designed for this puropse, like Zelle, it does come with some downsides as a rent collection tool. See the section above.