Late Rent Check Payment? Fix It!

late rent check payment
Late rent is annoying! Eliminate it.

As a landlord, there are things as stressful as a late rent check. Sometimes, the cause is tenants being forgetful. Other times, the delay can be with the postal system. Rather than just waiting, a successful landlord gets rid of late rent check payment altogether.

Tenants Are Forgetful

Tenants are human. And, unfortunately, humans are forgetful. Even the best intentioned tenant can forget what day it is. If you are depending on the tenant to write and mail a check, or even initiate a payment through Venmo, you are at the mercy of their memory.

Mail is Slow. And Getting Slower.

Unfortunately, the US postal service is getting slower. The headline screams: “Mail delivery slowdown: USPS to slow delivery“. First class mail will now take up to five days to arrive, rather than three days previously. As landlords know, late rent check payment is a big problem if they need those funds to pay a mortgage or other property expenses.

Eliminate Late Rent Check Payment

The best solution to late rent check payment is to not receive checks in the mail, or any type of payment that requires the tenant to remember to pay rent. Collect rent electronically and on auto-pilot. Fortunately, there are many services that are easy to setup. One of the the most experienced (in business since 2000) and most trusted (BBB A+ rating) service is ClearNow (sign up at With ClearNow, rent payments are automatically withdrawn through the bank system from a tenant’s bank account and are always deposited to you three business days later by direct deposit. The price of ClearNow is reasonable ($14.95/mo for the first tenant; just $2/mo for each additional tenant) compared to the price of missing rent payment.

ClearNow vs Zelle for Rent Payment

ClearNow vs. Zelle for rent payment
ClearNow and Zelle are online rent payment choices for landlords to consider.

Landlords have a lot of choices today when it comes to collecting rent online. Choices include focused online rent payment services to basic money transfer apps to full service property management software. They are not all created equal, so landlords should consider things like fees and initiating party before committing to a payment method. In this blog post, we will compare ClearNow vs Zelle for rent payment.

ClearNow for Online Rent Payment

ClearNow is a focused online rent payment service where payments are initiated by the landlord. Serving landlords and tenants since 2000, ClearNow directly deposits funds three banking days after the tenant’s debit day. For a monthly debit, ClearNow starts at $14.95/month. This fee includes the debit of one tenant. Additional tenants are $2/month.

Unique among all online rent payment services, ClearNow has an owner proceeds feature where property management companies can directly deposit tenant funds to the property owner’s bank account for just an additional $2/tenant.

Beyond online rent payment, ClearNow provides landlords with various reports including a Schedule E Helper report for tax time. With ClearNow, landlords can record income and expenses, screen tenants, and esign leases. In 2011, ClearNow was the first online rent payment service to allow tenants to report payments to Experian. So tenants can build a credit history with their ClearNow rent payments. Unlike other services, ClearNow provides telephone and email support, so you can talk with a person if you wish.

Zelle for Online Rent Payment

Zelle is a money transfer app that enables tenants to transfer rent payment directly to the landlord’s bank account. It requires both landlord and tenant to have a bank account that is part of the Zelle network. Generally speaking, money transfers occur within minutes, and generally Zelle does not charge sender or receiver (some Zelle banks do charge small businesses).

While fast and free, some landlords may not prefer Zelle as a method of rent payment. Tenants initiate the payment and may not pay rent in full thus making it difficult to recoup the full amount due or even evict if necessary. Some states prevent eviction if partial payments are made.

Additionally, depending on your bank, Zelle may limit transfers to $1,000/day or $5,000/mo.

Summary of ClearNow vs Zelle for Rent Payment

ServicePros and Cons
ClearNow+ Focused online rent payment service
+ In business since 2000 with an “A+” BBB rating
+ $14.95/mo for one tenant. $2/mo each additional tenant. Rent payments received in 3 business days.
+ Email and phone customer support
+ Tenants can build credit history for paying rent
+Automatic income & expense tracking for landlords
+ Enroll at
Zelle+ General money transfer service
+ Same day transfer times
+ Tenant and landlord have to have bank accounts on the Zelle network.
+ Tenants initiate rent payment and can make partial payments.
+ Pricing is free for users with Zelle accounts. Zelle may limit total amounts that can be transferred.
+ Enroll through a bank that is part of the Zelle network.

How to Report Your Rent to a Credit Bureau for Free

Report Rent to Credit Bureau For Free
You can report your rent payments to the Experian credit bureau for free if you and your landlord use ClearNow for online rent payment.

Did you know that you can get credit for the rent you pay if your landlord uses a certain online rent payment service? Better yet, the use of the service to pay your landlord and to report your rent to a credit bureau will be free to you as a tenant (your landlord pays a small service fee for automatic rent collection)! If your landlord does not already use ClearNow ( have them sign up for the service and use it to debit your rent each month automatically.

Credit Scores Are Important

As you are probably aware, a good credit score nowadays has countless benefits. Whether it is a credit card or an auto loan, a higher credit score means lower interest rate on a loan. Additionally, nowadays everyone from landlords to employers may run a credit check on you when you applying for a new apartment or a new job.

Rent Payments Can Build Credit History

Since 2011, Experian, one of the “Big 3 Credit Bureaus”, has allowed tenants to build credit by reporting rent payments. ClearNow was the first service to partner with Experian to offer this service to renters who use a small landlord. To this day, ClearNow (unlike other services!) does not charge the tenant for this benefit.

Ask Your Landlord To Use ClearNow

It is a no brainer for you as a tenant to have your rent reported to a credit bureau for free! Will your landlord be willing to sign up for ClearNow so that this can happen? If you ask, most landlords are willing to pay the small service fee ClearNow charges when they realize that rent will be automatically debited from your bank account and sent to their bank account, reducing the work for both of you. So text them a link to and ask if they can debit you for rent automatically!

The Benefits of Standalone Online Rent Collection

Standalone Online Rent Collection
Changing one thing at a time often makes more sense than changing everything!

Online rent collection is almost a no-brainer for landlords and property managers. It allows you to collect rent faster, with fewer excuses and less procrastination from tenants. On top of that, online rent collection is less work – rent arrives automatically into your bank account. However, landlords often think that to implement online rent collection they need to sign up with a full property manager suite like Appfolio or Buildium. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, there are strong benefits to just signing up for a standalone online rent collection service.

Less Disruptive to Your Process

You do the things you do for a reason. It works for you. While change is good, it usually doesn’t make sense to throw away your whole process to attain one benefit.

Yet, many providers of online rent collection want you to undertake their entire “ecosystem” of property management software just to do online rent collection. Why replace how you do your accounting just to do online rent collection? Fortunately, standalone online rent collection is available through services like ClearNow ( You can just setup online rent collection without changing the rental processes that you are comfortable with.

Potentially Way Less Costly

Moreover, one of the big benefits of using a standalone online rent collection service is that it is often cheaper. Appfolio charges at least $280/mo. Buildium charges at least $50/mo with additional fees for online rent collection. Holy Moly! Once again, fortunately, standalone services exist and they can be less expensive. ClearNow ( starts off at just $14.95/mo for one tenant and each additional tenant is just $2/mo extra.

Don’t despair if you are looking to try out online rent collection for your rental business and feel like it will be a complex process. Enjoy the benefits of easy-to-implement and inexpensive standalone online rent collection services like ClearNow.

How to Generate Automatic Rent Reminders

the power of automatic rent reminders
Automatic rent reminders work better than you think! Get started today.

We all need a little hand in life. One of the tricks that most of us develop is to create a “reminder system”. Whether it is a datebook, a calendar, or increasingly an online to-do list, reminders help us keep on track with the things we need to do. As a landlord, reminders are also a great way keep your tenants on track to pay the rent to you. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to automatically email your tenants each month a rent reminder? Fortunately, it is possible to generate automatic rent reminders with a service like ClearNow (

The Power of Reminders

Do reminders really work? Maybe it is common sense, but it turns out that psychological studies show that reminders really do work. Interestingly, studies show that while reminders are very effective (causing 30% more activity sometimes than without the reminder!), people consistently underestimate how effective reminders actually are. What does this mean in practice for landlording? It means that rent reminders are effective, but we probably undervalue how effective they truly are.

Automatic Rent Reminders Built In to Online Rent Payment

What’s an easy way to implement automatic rent reminders? It turns out that many online rent payment services, like ClearNow (, send out an email rent reminder ahead of time. With ClearNow, an email rent reminder is sent eight days prior outlining the rent to be pulled and the debit day. The reminder encourages the renter to have the proper funds in their bank account.

Online rent payment is already a great process. It allows landlords and tenants to pay rent on time without doing any work (and thus without any procrastination). It can build tenants’ credit history. Automatic rent reminders are just another reason to consider using an online rent payment service for those services that, like ClearNow online rent collection, automatically build it in to the process.

Tenants Benefit from Online Rent Payment

Tenant Benefit
With online rent payment, tenants pay rent on time and can build credit history.

There is a lot of discussion about how online rent payment benefits landlords. In fact, online rent payments are a win win for both landlords and tenants. We all lead busy lives, including tenants. Anything that helps simplify and save time are welcomed. Similar to landlords, tenants benefit from online rent payment.

Never Forget to Pay Rent

The convenience of online rent payment is difficult to dispute. As long as tenants have funds in their bank account, rent will always be paid, and it will be paid on time. Most online rent payment services, like ClearNow, are automatic. This means once a tenant is enrolled, their payment is made on their designated debit day every month. Tenants do not need to schedule anything online. They just need to have sufficient funds in their bank accounts. Life is easy and simple when chores, like paying rent, are on autopilot.

Build Credit History

In the early 2000s, the largest US credit bureaus started adding rent payment information to an individual’s credit history. Initially, they offered credit reporting only to tenants who rented from the largest apartment companies. So there was still a large number of tenants missing out on this opportunity to build credit history because they were renting from smaller landlords. In 2012, Experian made a revolutionary step by allowing tenants using ClearNow’s online rent payment service to report their rent payments. For many tenants, rent is their largest expense. So when paying rent on time, tenants benefit from online rent payment. ClearNow along with other services enable tenants to build a credit history with online rent payment.

How To Run a Fast Tenant Credit Check

How to Run a Fast Tenant Credit Check
Running a Tenant Credit Check Is Fast with Today’s Online Services

Twenty years of observing landlords while operating the ClearNow online rent payment service has taught us one powerful lesson. Good landlords screen their tenants. Even better, while in the past tenant screening was a slow and paper-based process, today’s online services make it easy to run a fast tenant credit check.

Tenant Credit Checks Protect the Landlord

As the adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While tenant screening is not foolproof, a credit report is an indicator of the past financial habits of an individual. For many landlords, their biggest mistake was renting to a tenant that was not qualified and having to deal with an eviction.

Online Tenant Screening is Fast

In the past, running a fast credit check on a tenant was not possible. Now however, the process is lightning quick. With a service like ClearNow SmartMove, the process is as fast as email:

  1. You sign up for a free online account (at
  2. Through your account, you email the tenant to do a background check. You can specify that the tenant pays the fee.
  3. As soon as the tenant does their part, you will receive an email that a report with a credit check and criminal and eviction report is ready for you to view.

Unlike ages ago, tenant screening does not need to take days to process. Get started at today!

The Dirty Secret of Bank Bill Pay for Rent Payment

Dirty Secret of Bank Bill Pay for Rent Payment
Bank bill pay for rent is not as high tech as you think.

Having your tenants pay rent via their bank bill payment system seems high tech. Unfortunately, the dirty secret of bank bill pay for rent payment is that it is the opposite of the high tech wonder it seems. Unless you are a large corporation, bank bill payment typically just creates a paper check that is mailed to you. As a result, landlords who collect rent via bank bill pay encounter some distinctly low tech issues.

The Check is Still in The Mail

When your tenants wrote checks to you, did it ever get ‘lost in the mail’? Mail delays and undelivered mail can still exist if your tenants use their bank’s bill payment service. For anyone except large corporations, the bill payment service simply prints out and mails checks at a central facility based on your tenant’s online bill payment instructions.

Given this process, you still need to be around to collect, sign, and deposit your check. Further, if checks are mailed to you, you can not deposit the check if you are on vacation or out of town and the check is sitting in your mailbox.

Recordkeeping and Credit Reporting are Missing

When a tenant sends you a rent payment via their bank bill pay, you have to record the payment. Additionally, the tenant does not have the ability to build their credit history by paying rent via bank bill pay.

In contrast, there is another popular method for rent collection – “online rent payment”. Unlike bank bill pay, online rent payment does not involve paper checks – just real electronic transfers. There are no paper checks to get lost in the mail or sit in a mailbox waiting to be deposited. Further, with a popular online rent payment service like ClearNow (sign up at, you have great recordkeeping and reporting and your tenants can build credit history when they pay you rent on time.

Build Credit History with Online Rent Payment

Build Credit History
You can build credit history with online rent payment.

Your credit history has never been more important. In today’s world, a good credit score can lead to lower cost loans, which can be a car loan, credit card interest rate, or home loan. Additionally, many employers are now checking credit scores as part of background checks on potential employees. While most people know that a good credit history is important, less well known is that you can build credit history with online rent payment.

Start Now with ClearNow

In the early 2000s, the big 3 US credit bureaus started adding rent payment information to an individual’s credit history. Initially, they offered this only to tenants who rented from the largest apartment companies. So there were still a large number of tenants missing out on this opportunity to build credit history because they were renting from smaller landlords.

In 2012, Experian made a revolutionary step by allowing tenants using ClearNow’s online rent payment service to report their rent payments. In the years that followed, Experian has allowed other online rent payment services to report rent payments.

How Can I Get Rent Payment on My Credit History?

There are a number of services that help tenants build credit history with online rent payment information. Unfortunately, some of them can be a little expensive. RentReporters charges a $94.95 sign-up fee and then $9.95/mo. Rental Kharma similarly charges a $50 setup fee and then $8.95/mo per tenant.

If you can get your landlord to use ClearNow’s online rent payment service (sign up at, there is no fee for you as a tenant to have your payments reported to Experian. Your landlord will be charged $14.95/mo for the first tenant and just $2/mo for each additional tenant.

Cozy is Going Away. What is a Good Cozy replacement?

Cozy is going away. What is a good online rent payment service replacement?

Cozy is a popular online rent payment service. As of July 2021, their homepage indicates that they are going away. It states “Cozy will be saying goodbye July 28, 2021”. So for current Cozy customers, what is a good replacement service? Is Not Quite the Same as a Cozy Replacement

The Cozy homepage pitches transitioning to However, it turns out that the transition means a reduction in features.

Other Online Rent Payment Services Are Good Replacements

Fortunately, there are other online rent payment services that are superior to Cozy. For example, ClearNow ( has been around for more than twenty years. ClearNow allows online rent payment for commercial tenants. And tenants using ClearNow can report their rent payments to Experian. Instead of the bait-and-switch pricing of some services, ClearNow customers pay a flat fee of $14.95/mo for their first tenant and $2/mo for each additional tenant.