Why Online Payments are Important for the HOAs you Manage

Why Online Payments are Important for the HOAs you Manage

In a world defined by technology, we thrive to seek faster ways to communicate and easier ways to simplify our lives. Simply said — the more simple it is to do something, the more likely we’ll want to do it. One of which is online payments. In fact, “more than four in five Americans used some form of digital payment in 2021, continuing a long-standing trend. In addition,“82 percent of Americans using digital payments — defined to include browser-based or in-app online purchases or in-store checkout using a mobile phone and/or QR code.” 

If your HOA is growing, so should you. According to “Statista Global Survey, 2020, 55% of US consumers used a credit card for online payments in the past year.” In addition, Statista Market Outlook, “2021 found that from 2020 through 2025, transaction value will likely grow 15.2% in the US. With the amount of HOA communities steadily growing year-after-year, there’s a strong chance that your community may need to expand its development by providing a more advanced online payment process. 

Common scenarios

“Our community doesn’t benefit from an online payment system.”

Every HOA is different - if you're a community that seems to think that online payments are strictly unnecessary, let's take a moment to look at some common scenarios.

“My community has an online website, but we manage our own payments because that’s the way it’s always been done.”

Although this process may work for your community now, it may not be the most efficient way to manage things a few years down the road. For example, when collecting HOA dues, record the amount of time it takes to collect your dues and fees - including time spent organizing and recording all necessary information. Did it take your team more than 24 hours? If so, you may want to consider an online payment system.  

“It’s too expensive and a stress overload to integrate with our current HOA system.”

  • Weigh the cost - Although there may be some truth to this scenario, it’s important to look at the overall cost. Does the cost of hiring a team to manage your HOA payments, in addition to productivity, outweigh the cost of integrating an online payment system? 
  • Integration - Having to understand how to integrate a new payment system into your current HOA software can be intimidating for anyone — especially when you have a team that’s unfamiliar with technology. As a way to help with this process, an HOA must be open to asking questions about how the integration process works. This includes asking questions regarding services that may be provided to ensure a successful integration.

“Our HOA management team includes overseeing our community payment process in their overall fee.”

Although it’s comforting to know that your HOA management team handles this process, it may not always be clearly defined. As a board member or manager, start by evaluating your cost and time that is being put into your payment process. Are there additional fees that could be reduced, or perhaps even eliminated by utilizing an online payment system. 

5 Benefits to Online Payments 

  1. Increases performance and financial accuracy - A large benefit to utilizing online payments is with decrease in responsibilities that is put on your HOA management. Managers are able to be more efficient and quick to accomplish multiple tasks. In addition, managing online payments helps reduce manual errors, which then leads to an increase in financial accuracy.
  2. Saves time - No HOA manager enjoys spending hours collecting delinquent payments or manually calculating late fees. An online payment system is able to cut time in half by calculating delinquent payments and fees with just a few clicks of a button. Not to mention, the ability to utilize electronic records, which reduces the likelihood of lost checks and open invoices.
  3. Decreased expenses - Before online payments, HOAs would spend over $500 a month on just supplies alone! Due to advancement in software, these costs are cut by almost 100% — simply because online payments do not require any hard copy documentation or supplies. Homeowners and managers are able to send statements and records by email or through their community online payment portal.
  4. Automatic recurring payments - This benefit provides homeowners with the ability to utilize automatic payments. As a result, homeowners are less likely to make late payments. Automatic payments also have the capability to offer multiple payment methods such as: credit card, debit, or electronic check. 
  5. Competition and value - Another perk to utilizing online payments comes with the value that it brings to the community. Having this tool can work as a great selling point for new homeowners. It also helps the HOA stay competitive with other communities within their market. 

What to look for when choosing an online payment system

  1. Bank - When selecting an online payment system, an HOA should consider their bank process. For example, is the bank able to accept electronic payments and bank transfers from a third-party online payment system. This includes: recurring payments, electronic withdrawals and any other bank requirements.   
  2. Payment service provider - With the number of payment service providers on the market, it’s important to select a service provider that works best for your community's needs. Consider the following when searching for a service provider: 
  • Payments methods - Can the service provider accept multiple forms of payments such as: debit cards, credit cards, and electronic checks. 
  • Integration - Is the service provider compatible with your current HOA system and software? What steps are necessary in order to have a successful integration.
  • Support - Does the service provider offer support options such as a 24/7 customer support service line?
  1. Fees  - When shopping be aware that some providers may come at a lesser cost, but be filled with hidden fees and less options to include customized features. 
  • Will the bank require an additional fee for using a service provider? This includes payments and withdrawals. 
  • Does the service provider collect fees per transaction, along with transfer fees?
  • No fees? When accessing your service provider, ask if any hidden fees are being included in the overall cost.  
  1. Adaptability - Consider your demographics and your community's level of adaptability. Will your community be able to adapt and understand how an online payment system works?
  • What percentage of your community has access to wifi, a computer or mobile phone? 
  • Does your common area or community center offer computer access with free wifi?
  • Is your HOA board able to provide additional guidance for those that may be less familiar with technology.    

Introducing TownSq payments powered by ATG

TownSq now offers financial management to managers and management companies through their financial management solution powered by ATG.

  • Track accounts receivable, accounts payable, and more accurately budget
  • Run fill financial reports
  • Process delinquencies
  • Maintain checking, savings, money market and other account  reconciliations
  • Manage electronic funds via secure transfer
  • Monitor investment funds and rollover dates

For more information, or to set-up a demo, contact TownSq.