Using ePay with Buildium allows residents to pay you electronically by ACH, debit and credit card, and allows you to pay your bills electronically. Using ePay fully integrates your payments with your accounting within buildium, meaning every transaction is recorded and accounted for automatically, and eliminating the need to manually process payments creating huge time savings. ePay will cut out 70% of the time you used to spend on processing cash and check payments.
Before you apply for ePay, there are a few things you should know about the process.
In this article you'll learn about:
Offering ePay as a service gives your residents the ability to pay rent online through our portal from any computer, laptop or mobile device. They can set up one time or automatic recurring payments through checking or savings accounts, as well as pay by credit cards, helping them to stay on time and out of late fees.
The benefit of ePay isn’t only to the residents. While it’s really easy to manually record payments into Buildium, it can get time consuming as you have more and more people that you need to record payments for.
When a resident initiates an online payment through ePay, those funds will automatically be transferred from their bank accounts to yours in the real world. Buildium will then record all of the transaction records for you, so you won’t have to manually receive or deposit payments.
The more residents you can get to pay electronically, the less time you’ll spend doing data entry and driving to the bank.
You can also pay rental owners and vendors using ePay.
Receive tenant payments
Tenants can pay their rent, late fees, and other charges online through the resident site. They can make a one time payment or set up a regular, scheduled payment.
Receive association owner payments
Association Owners can pay their association fees, late fees, and other charges online through the resident site. The can make a one time payment or set up a regular, scheduled payment.
Process a rental application fee
Collect a rental application fee from prospective applicants. Applicants enter their bank information through your public site's online rental application.
Pay vendors electronically without printing a single check.
Pay rental owners
Pay rental owners electronically without printing a single check
When you sign up for ePay on a bank account, you’re approved for a merchant account. A merchant account allows EFTs to be deposited to and withdrawn from a bank account. Only one bank account can make online payments for a single property.
If all of your tenants pay their rent into one bank account, that’s the account you’d want to setup for ePay.
If you have tenants paying into multiple bank accounts, you’ll want to set up a merchant account for each one you’d like online payments for.
The cost to sign up for ePay is a one-time, $99 application fee per bank account.
If you have multiple bank accounts that you want to set up with the ability to make and receive online payments, each account will need it’s own merchant account, which comes along with a separate application fee.
If you're on Buildium's Pro subscription plan, your first 5 bank accounts approved for ePay are included for free.
After the initial setup, you are only charged when you use ePay.
- Incoming payments by EFT/eCheck cost $1.00 per transaction, and outgoing payments by EFT/eCheck cost $.50 per transaction. If you are on Buildium's Pro subscription plan, incoming EFT/eCheck transactions will remain free.
- Incoming payments by credit or debit card cost 2.95% of the total transaction cost.
For current transaction costs, please see the ePay settings page of your bank account in Buildium.
All associated fees are charged to your Buildium subscription, which can be found by navigating to Settings > Account and billing.
Note: Some of these fees are waived for customers on Buildium's Pro subscription plan. Please see our website for further pricing details.
You can set up convenience fees to offset the costs of ePay.
When you are first approved for ePay, you will be approved for a certain amount of hold days for deposits and withdrawals. Hold days control how long it takes for the cash for an EFT or credit card transaction to move electronically between bank accounts.
The hold days every merchant account is approved with are as follows:
|EFT/eCheck||1 hold day||1 hold day|
|Credit cards||1 hold day||N/A|
You do have the option to request lower hold days if you need to.
Note: For compliance reasons, Buildium has the right to increase your hold days
Why are there hold days?
Hold days are a security precaution that protects the people involved in the EFT/eCheck transaction. From time to time, something goes wrong and the bank needs to ask for the money back to correct a mistake.
If the cash was sent immediately, it could be spent immediately. Should the EFT/eCheck need to be corrected, taking the money out could cause an overdraft.
By holding the money for a short time, the banks are given time to sort our their possible issues before the money can be spent. Hold days minimize the likelihood that the funds will need to be returned.
In general, banks will only process online payments in an overnight batch process. This means that you'll usually need to add an additional business day to timeline. Here are a few examples below.
|Timeline of an EFT deposit||Timeline of a EFT withdrawal|
|Monday - a resident logs into Buildium and makes a payment*||Monday - you pay a vendor through Buildium*|
|Tuesday - Hold day 1; at close of business the funds are released||Tuesday - Hold day 1; at close of business the funds are released|
|Wednesday - the funds will be deposited into your bank account||Wednesday - the funds will be deposited into your vendor or owner's bank account|
* assumes that the EFT was made before 6pm Central Time and that Monday is a day that the banks are open for business that day. EFTs do not process on weekends or federal holidays.
Buildium shows the "funded" date. This is usually one business day before your bank will acknowledge the funds. For example, if Buildium shows that the transaction funded on Monday the 1st, you'll see the money in your real- world bank account on Tuesday the 2nd.
EFT transactions are processed the same day if they are entered by 6pm Central Time. If an EFT is made after 6pm Central Time, the next business day will be considered the initiation day.
Credit card transactions are processed the same day if they are entered by 11:45pm Central Time.
Every merchant account has limits that control how much money can be moved. Your merchant account has four limits:
- Per deposit transaction limit
- Per withdrawal transaction limit
- Monthly deposit limit
- Monthly withdrawal limit.
Limits can be adjusted as your requirements change over time.
Why are there limits?
A landlord who collects $800/month in rent from a single unit doesn't need to collect $250,000 each month. If that happens, something else might be going on.
The limits on a merchant account minimize the amount of risk that you need to take on should a transaction be recalled.
Limits are a security precaution that protects the people involved in the EFT/eCheck transaction. The rules that govern EFT/eCheck transactions allow banks up to four business days to audit a transaction and many banks take full advantage of that time. If the money is deposited sooner, it could be withdrawn by the time the bank asks for the money back. Should that happen, you'll be responsible for returning the money. The limits help to keep those amounts manageable.
A per transaction limit controls the maximum amount of money that can be moved electronically at one time. For example, let's say you have to pay a vendor $1500. If your merchant account has a per withdrawal transaction limit of $1000, you would have split the payment into two parts - $1000 and $500.
A monthly limit controls the maximum amount of money that can be moved electronically over a calendar month. It should be large enough to assume that all of your residents pay online. The per transaction limit should be 2-3 times your largest resident payment, in case someone pays in advance.
Higher limits usually require more backup documentation for your merchant account. For example, a transaction limit of $5000 per transaction and a monthly limit of $100,000 per month usually require two years of financials.