Ryan Abell is a former landlord who vividly remembers taking time to collect paper checks, money orders and cash each month for rent payments. The waiting, along with frequent monthly trips to the bank to deposit funds, do not make for happy memories.
In an increasingly digital world, Abell was convinced there was a more efficient way for landlords and property managers to collect rent.
To eliminate the need for paper checks, cash or money orders, he founded PayRent in 2017 to help tenants and property managers electronically pay, collect and manage rent payments. With PayRent, landlords electronically collect rent and track the payments. For renters, the platform can even break down payments to allow roommates to split their rent.
Abell says his research prior to launching the company found that 75% of the renter market is comprised of landlords owning between one and ten rental units. Additionally, more than 50% of the renter market is still paying rent with cash or check.
Landlords with fewer units don’t need a complex array of property management tools, but a simple, lightweight solution for getting paid efficiently anytime, anywhere. Person to person apps like Venmo or Paypal are options but aren’t industry specific to meet the needs of landlords and property managers. With landlord-friendly features like rent reminders and fee-free collection, PayRent fills that gap and meets the industry needs.
“Our vision is simple, to eliminate the paper check,” Abell says. “I strongly believe that within the next decade rent checks have the ability to be extinct with PayRent and Dwolla is a huge part of that.”
A Better Way to Pay
PayRent gives renters options for how they want to pay their rent online. They can do so with a credit card, which incurs a fee that the renter pays, or they can make an ACH payment, which PayRent uses Dwolla to initiate.
Renters are choosing ACH payments around 85% of the time Abell says.
“We have seen first-hand that landlords are no longer wanting to wait around for the checks to trickle in at the beginning of the month just to make the drive to the bank and deposit them,” Abell says. “Renters have been thrilled to forgo paper checks, postage, envelopes and trips to the mailbox. Landlords can be on the go and receive a notification that their renter has made a payment and the funds are in their account.”
During their search for a payments company, PayRent was looking for three aspects in their ideal payment solution:
- The ability to link to bank accounts or in some cases multiple funding sources
- The capability to onboard landlords and renters easily
- A reliable platform with reasonably predictable uptime
Abell says he did “extensive research” on a dozen different payment solutions to find the ideal fit for not only their short term business needs, but also a long term solution as PayRent scales.
“Dwolla’s pricing, the API, the support—it’s the Cadillac of payment APIs to connect to the ACH Network,” Abell says. “Starting a payments company is immediately an uphill battle but Dwolla’s API makes the process less burdensome as Dwolla offers a superior product.”
Abell calls fraud the “achilles heel” of any fintech startup. He says the education Dwolla provided around best practices to avoid fraud, chargebacks and account takeovers was very valuable during the integration process.
“Dwolla has been a solid partner for us in payments and was able to fast track the entire integration process to help educate and get us started on the right foot,” Abell says.
“Dwolla offers a full tripod of support between access to the ACH Network, the Dwolla API and their customer support,” says Abell. “For two years we’ve been in constant communication with Dwolla, the high quality of Dwolla’s support has been exceptional and allows PayRent to meet the various needs of our users.”
Life After Dwolla (And After Paper Checks)
For companies debating whether to build their own payments solution or to integrate with a third-party payments provider, Abell says the decision is easy.
“Don’t waste your time building it, Dwolla already did it. The quickest way to market with a payments platform—if you are looking for the ACH payments piece—is Dwolla,” Abell says. “If PayRent tried to build its own payment platform, it would have been costly and taken time.”
Abell estimates they saved “hundreds of thousands” of dollars by integrating with Dwolla. After launching with Dwolla, Abell says PayRent grew 30% month-over-month in its first year. Abell says that ability to scale wouldn’t be possible without Dwolla.
“At the end of the day, Dwolla allows PayRent to focus on its core business,” Abell says.
With a payments partner in Dwolla, PayRent is ready to grow even further. Having Dwolla’s help with one of the more complicated parts of the business—ACH payments—frees the company to continue to revolutionize the landlord-tenant relationship.
“PayRent wouldn’t be what it is today without Dwolla,” he says.