Cash Payers, how to handle them

I am setting up for online payments but there are a hand full of tenants in each park who will not be able to do so and are cash payers. Some of these people don’t have bank accounts let alone smart phones.

How do you guys handle this problem? Is there a good system where they can pay at Walmart or something? I don’t want my managers having to handle the money with something like a drop box.

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Rent manager and Buildium (I’m sure among others) have this option. We use Buildium and have a few tenants who go to the local CVS and pay there— similar to a money order except it’s deposited right into our account

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Money orders, Cashier’s Checks are solid options as well as prepaid debit cards.

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Rent Manager (using Paylease) has a cash payment option for tenants to pay at Walmart and Kroger

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If you use Rent Manager and Zego/Paylease, use the CashPay option at Walmart. I have 95% of my tenants at one park who pay this way. It costs them $4 to pay, they complain, forget/lose their cash pay number, blame Walmart when they pay late, but if you stay firm, don’t buckle to the excuses (after say 2 months of transition), they figure it out and it works great.


Just got off the phone with Buildium. It looks pretty good. But to show you guys what a tight fisted landlord I am here is how I process it; I have 200 units and Buildium will charge me $250 per month or
$3,000 per year. A $3,000 annual drop in NOI at, say, a 7% cap rate = a $43,000 (rounded) drop in net worth.


Innago is a free to me, rent collection service and their software looks pretty slick. I am only interested in the rent collection feature since I already have a great way of keeping my books. But Innago does not have a way to collect cash, checks or money orders. Crap.

I am going to see if I can set up my own CashPay system for those hand full of tenants can not/will not use an online payment system. I doubt I will be successful at it but I need to look into it. From an accounting perspective half my job is keeping expenses down.

BTW, what I have been doing for a long time is having everyone deposit their rents in my accounts at local banks. It works but is not great. There is a ongoing hassle of having log into the banks and tabulating who has paid and who has not, and moving everything over to a spread sheet at the end of each month. The good thing is the managers never touch the money and if a manager hits the road in the middle of the night it does not stop the flow of rental income and I don’t have to fly across the country it see if someone dropped off a check in a drop box.

Demand they pay using an alternative method and they will. Use the CashPay options provided as suggested by others.

I do not agree that you should forgoes property management software to save a few dollars. Yes, your NOI income drops minimally, but the benefits and efficiently far outweigh the costs. No sophisticated buyer already in the industry is going to penalize you with a lower price for your property based on the cost of the software because they already have the software and will simply absorb your property into their operation upon acquisition. In other words, if you say at a 7% cap a $3,000 software expense will cause a drop in price, you are incorrect. A sophisticated buyer will put a $3,000 addback to your books when valuating the property because they already have the software in house. That is why a strategic buyer can pay a lower cap rate than a new investor for the same property and do just as well financially.

This, in my opinion, would be a penny-wise, pound foolish decision. When we switched from Excel to Buildium, life was much improved. When we switched from Buildium to Rent Manager, life became even better.

What was the improvement of Rent Manager over Buildium?

I have a separate thread on this forum somewhere that compares them, but in general Rent Manager has more features. Just a few comparisons are: 1) Buildium does not allow you to limit bank account visibility, 2) Rent Manager allows you to automate utility calculations, and 3) Buildium does not allow for creation of customized processes (e.g. the 12 steps needed for an abandoned home title). Buildium was good when we were small and the knowledge resided in a few key people, but with a larger staff and more diversified responsibility, it is easy to lose control with Buildium.

I use Schedule My Rent. Back in 2020 I looked at several programs, including Zego and a few others. SMR was both less expensive and enabled pay by Money Order (which we all know is huge for our tenant base!). They also allow credit, debit, and direct ACH pay options.

Schedule My Rent (SMR) has been great. They charge both myself and the tenant a small fee for each transaction. They do offer a Quickpay feature, where money can be sent expedited if tenant chooses. I am sure tenant is charged extra for this.

SMR continues to increase the abilities of its platform, most recently adding the ability to manage maintenance requests. I dont use this feature. Further, I have 2 LLCs and the software can accommodate this quite well. I like how they structure their lease calendar, and is quite flexible in application of things like late fees, other fees, and even allows a feature for direct pay in person (essentially the software allows you to reflect payment made for rents paid in person - great for accounting purposes). The late fee structure also allows for per diem late fees, a feature that about 75% of other programs didnt offer back when I researched. I could go on, but I will stop here.

I’ve not looked at Buildium so I cant comment.

Rentec Direct uses PayNearMe, which allows cash paying tenants to go to 7/11, CVS and other places. The cash payment is immediately credited automatically to that tenant’s account on your Rentec Direct account.

We are just starting with Rentec Direct. I spent 2 years (way too long) researching. This summer I hired a sharp biomedical engineering major. He continued my research. We looked at 28 companies, including Rent Manager, Buildium, Yardi, Appfolio, TurboTenant and many others. We had specific needs, including to be able to take cash payments, and to be able to easily input 150 monthly water bill amounts using a minimum of clicks. Our other top choice was Rent Manager. We went with Rentec instead of RM/Buildium/Yardi/Appfolio in part because it’s built on a modern platform, more nimble and intuitive. RM looked like a much longer learning curve requiring specific training, rather than being intuitive where you can just figure it out because it works like most modern apps. RM/Buildium/Yardi/Appfolio seemed to have been built back during the DOS days and then have evolved over time and so they’re more clunky. But we found a lot of fairly happy users for each and looked at them seriously. I’m not trying to downtalk them. I’m just trying to help people in my shoes who are researching.

But, important, we’re just starting with Rentec. What I’ve written above is based on our very extensive research, not actual use. Check with me in 6-12 months.

ScheduleMyRent (SMR) - Uses moneygram

RentecDirect - Not a big fan of them requiring you to enter awater bill amounts then divide, etc… so sticking with SMR and we add water bills as a fee (just starting to do this now).

All other solutions are a lot more expensive unless you have lots of lots.

Rentec said we’ll upload an Excel s/s. Does SMR have an easier way? We have to add 150 each month, so we want the easiest way.

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They only referred me to their docs:

Manual Utility Billing - Rentec Direct Knowledge Base

which doesnt mention Excel, but if that’s true, then RTD sounds better. IDK.

just found this:

Utility Billing Import and Export - Rentec Direct Knowledge Base

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Wondering how your experience has been with Rentec? I have a spreadsheet with all the software options to research and there are a lot!

We don’t accept cash, money orders or checks anywhere. All payments are made through Paylease/Zego … Walmart, WebPay of ACH. We are in low income areas with many people without bank accounts. they go to Walmart. We use Rentmanager… not very expensive and has more features and integrations that we’l ever need.


RentecDirect has been a mixed experience so far. The jury is still out regarding our experience. Check with me in another year.

We use Rent Manager with PayLease integration which allows us to generate a CashPay number linked directly to the lot. The tenant can then use this to pay directly at Walmart and other CashPay locations. This has really helped us with our collection rate, mitigating any potential hurdles resulting from cash payers.

Good luck and I hope you find something that works for you!

Andrew Keel

What did you eventually go with?