Jack Richer, CEO
Fifty million. That is the estimated number of paper checks used each month for rent in the U.S. In the era of Airbnb and Uber and general digitization, landlords across the country still scramble to ensure timely, secure payments. This is where PlacePay, an i3 Verticals company, enters the picture. As the property management division of a publicly-traded payment processing corporation, PlacePay offers payment solutions to help the real estate sector catch up with so many other industries. Its flexible real estate payment platform makes the payment process quick, secure, and reliable. Plus, it’s designed to assist every participant in the real estate equation. “Through our platform, PlacePay supports not just the landlords, owner-operators, and property managers, but also the tenants,” says Jack Richer, CEO of PlacePay.
PlacePay wanted a platform that’s valuable and accessible by the full spectrum of user needs. Even by those possessing limited experience with financial tools or tech in general: say, someone who owns a building with rental units but has a full-time job outside the field of property management. What would be useful to that individual? What about the digital concierge app that residents use to manage packages, guests, and party rooms? Why should the software developers at a PropTech shop need to learn the regulated FinTech industry just to give residents a single app for all their building interactions? What does a tech-savvy – we can build anything in-house – software company needs in a behind-the-scenes rent payment partner?
Richer believes that, “A great rent payment solution needs to solve a number of all too common high-friction points. The system needs to satisfy all the regulatory concerns involved in the financial transactions, in addition to having proactive risk management intelligence baked in. It should easily scale up: if team members are added, the operator can allow them visibility to everything necessary for their roles while keeping them out of unrelated reporting or admin permissions. Plus, the entire platform needs to be secure, so people can make and receive payments with confidence. And all of these need to be under the same roof for one-stop shopping with simple implementation.” Real-time visibility into funds received and funds processing, and rent still outstanding are table stakes at this point. Yet, few real estate firms actually have that today. Not to mention, PlacePay’s easy access to digital tools to contact tenants, whether through emails, texts, or push notifications—a quick and simple way to send reminders as payments approach, become due, and then overdue.
Recognizing a moment when PropTech and FinTech are each rapidly evolving, PlacePay sits at the intersection of both, using cloud-based solutions and products to provide turnkey access to complex payment networks for both residential and commercial real estate operators. The results equally benefit multiple real estate operator segments. The businessperson pursuing real estate on the side is enabled to do his regular day job without hiring a bookkeeper or running to a mailbox for rent checks. In addition, well-established enterprise companies are enabled to move AR operations to the cloud, saving both money and headaches, not to mention effectively offloading the related data security costs. A mobile app PropTech solution that serves any size real estate operator can partner with PlacePay’s to leverage their digital wallet architecture and natively add rent payments as an additional module offering – thus centralizing all the tenant’s building interactions to a single user interface. The end result: happier tenants and, ultimately, happier owners too. As Richer remarks, “Keeping someone happy throughout their tenancy will extend that tenant’s lifecycle, which is ideal for that real estate business. Tenant turnover is very expensive.”
While Richer is proud of the company’s progress to date, what he’s focused on these days are the opportunities of what the future holds for PropTech firms like PlacePay. He notes the company remains committed to engaging on the technology and real estate stakeholder fronts to ensure they not just simply address current friction points but drive innovation and collaboration within the industry. He anticipated great potential for PlacePay and the digitization of real estate payments in general: ‘This is still an emerging market.’