HOAs

What is the Best Method to Collect HOA Fees

June 22, 2023

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The Best Way To Collect When Homeowners Pay HOA Fees

HOA fees are an integral part of every HOA. 

The fees help the board keep the community clean, safe, and livable. 

But what is the best way to collect these fees? 

The rise of technology presents many new, efficient options. 

In this article, we’re going to look at collection methods and what to consider as you look at them. 

Traditional Versus Electronic  

Traditionally, people would pay fees in-person or through the mail. This was less than ideal. Cash and checks are too easy to lose. Tracking requires handwritten receipts.  

Nowadays, electronic payments provide efficiency and automatic tracking. The moment a payment is made a digital receipt is created. Furthermore, electronic payments cannot get lost in transit. There isn’t a physical exchange that leaves room for payment to go missing. 

The benefits of electronic payments don’t end there, though. Electronic payments are also better for the environment. No one needs to use paper, ink, or postage every month. Almost 50% of waste from businesses is in the form of paper, so cutting out the need for it is crucial.  

Digital payments tend to lead to an increase in on-time payments as well. HOA members can set reminders and set up automatic payments. Electronic payments typically allow different flexible payment types, too, so members can use credit cards, debit cards, or ACH transfers to take care of their dues. These conveniences and reminders help everyone in the long run. Members avoid late fees and penalties, and HOAs receive their money on time without needing to hassle anyone or deal with delinquent members. 

Additionally, accounting is simpler with digital payments. Payments move efficiently from one place to another, and record-keeping is automatic. Thus, no one needs to keep track of copious physical receipts or worry about losing cash on the way to the bank.  

Electronic Payment Methods 

Now that we’ve established electronic payment as superior to traditional payment methods, let’s take a closer look at some of these methods: 

  • Credit Cards: Any HOA member with a credit card can pay their dues online if you allow this method. Credit card processors will help you offer this option. Online credit card payments use data encryption to protect HOA members’ financial information.  
  • Debit Cards: Some HOA members want to avoid paying fees off later on a credit card. Debit cards are an alternative. Just like with credit cards, an HOA can use a debit card processor to allow this form of payment. 
  • ACH Payments: ACH uses electronic credits or debit transfers to allow HOA members to pay right from their bank account. Many HOAs prefer this method because it lets members set up automatic recurring payments and increases the likelihood of timely payments. 

Online Payment Platforms 

There are four major alternatives when it comes to the platform supporting HOA online payment options. 

  • Banks: Banks can ensure electronic payments via bank transfers. Most banks have online platforms that HOAs can use. They also typically offer automatic payments and electronic withdrawals.  
  • Payment Service Providers: There are a lot of payment service providers that can handle online collections for HOAs (I.e., Stripe, Cheddar Up, etc.). They’re easy to integrate and simple to use. That said, be sure to look for reliable security measures to ensure members’ information is protected well. 
  • HOA Online Portal: If you have a developer in your HOA, you may want to take this route. It gives you control over the system; however, you will need to build a payment page, set up a secure server, obtain SSL certification, and test the portal on your website. 
  • HOA Management Software: Property management software is a great option because it was built for people in your position. If the software is well-built, it will have all the tools you need to easily collect HOA fees. 

Other Costs 

Always keep an eye out for the costs associated with any platform you consider. Most banks charge fees for establishing accounts and withdrawals.  

The major advantage of ACH and eChecks is that they don’t charge the fees associated with credit and debit cards. Most homeowners want to avoid fees like these whenever possible. Thus, the more flexible you can be with payment options, the happier your residents will be. Don’t look at these fees as a chance to enhance profits or pass on costs to residents. 

Offering credit cards and debit cards as payment options is still a good idea, but it’s important to let homeowners know about the fees. If someone proceeds knowing about the extra cost, then that’s obviously their decision.  

Conclusion 

Paying HOA fees can be a hassle for homeowners, especially if they need to physically mail in their checks or pay through a traditional method. Nowadays, though, you can make the whole process more convenient with the use of online payment methods. Online payment options like HOA management software help you reduce delinquencies and make everyone’s lives easier. 

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