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What Payment Methods Should Be Made Available For Homeowners?

“How do I pay my HOA fees?” Homeowners often ask this question, but many HOAs only offer the same traditional method. But, there are a few different payment methods for HOA dues that associations can start adopting.


Convenient Online Payment Methods for HOA Dues

Many homeowners find difficulty with the current payment methods their HOA accepts. Typically, HOAs use traditional payment methods such as sending checks via mail or physically collecting homeowners association payments door-to-door. While such methods have proven effective and reliable, there are more convenient ways for dues payment. One such way is allowing homeowners to pay dues online.

Many payment providers offer online HOA dues collection services. These providers achieve this by connecting to acquiring banks, payment networks, and credit cards. As a result, homeowners can pay their dues conveniently right from their smart devices. But, what payment methods for HOA dues are available?


1. Credit Card

homeowners association payments“Can I pay HOA fees with a credit card?” You have probably been asked this question by a new homeowner in your community.

If you already allow credit card payments, that’s great. But, if you have yet to offer it, now is the time to consider doing so.

Basically, using this payment method, any homeowner with a credit card can pay their dues online. Your HOA can start accepting online credit card payments with the help of credit card processing providers.

Some homeowners pay HOA with a credit card via the phone. This involves receiving calls from homeowners, asking for their credit card information, and manually entering the numbers in your system. Although there are HOAs that do this, it brings up the issue of security. Online credit card payments, on the other hand, use data encryption to protect homeowners’ financial information.


2. Debit Card

Credit cards are great, but they create debt for homeowners in the future. Sometimes, homeowners only want to spend the money they already have. This is where debit cards come into play.

Your HOA can start accepting debit cards as a payment method for HOA dues. Debit cards are essentially cash payments without the use of actual, physical money. Similar to credit card payments, your HOA can work with a debit card processing provider to make this happen.


3. Automated Clearing House (ACH)

ACH involves the use of electronic credits or debit transfers so that homeowners can make HOA payments online straight from their bank accounts. Many HOAs favor this method over the first two because it allows for automatic recurring payments. This works great for subscription-type transactions like monthly HOA dues.

Additionally, ACH eliminates the trouble for homeowners having to remember to make payments online themselves. Since it is automatic, all they need to do is set it up and let it work on its own. This can significantly reduce your HOA’s delinquency rate, too.

The only problem you might encounter with ACH is hesitance from homeowners. People are scared to give their bank information to the HOA, but it actually does not work that way. The bank gets their bank account information. Make sure to explain this clearly to homeowners so that you don’t encounter pushback.


4. eCheck

When it comes to electronic payments for HOA dues, you can also use eChecks. This will also require homeowners to have a bank account, though, and provide you with the details. You also need the check number to make it work.


The Use of HOA Websites and Resident Portals

hoa online payments

If your association decides to accept HOA online payments, you will need a platform from which to accept credit and debit card payments. Again, some HOAs allow such payments by manually entering the card details over the phone, but that is a security risk. The best way to collect HOA dues online is to set up an HOA website.

You can choose to hire someone to create the website for your homeowners association. But, there are also many online providers that offer websites as part of their services. These services usually come with a fee, either recurring or one-time, so it is a good idea to evaluate and adjust your budget accordingly.

Alternatively, many HOA management companies have online portals that residents can log in to. In addition to making online payments, homeowners can use such portals to file requests, submit complaints, and even download important HOA documents. If you already have an HOA management company, ask them if they have a resident portal. But, if you don’t have one yet, consider looking for one that offers it.


Bank Charges and Processing Fees

When it comes to how to pay HOA fees online, credit cards and debit cards certainly offer convenience. But, they also usually come with bank charges for each transaction. This is where ACH and eChecks have the advantage. Whereas credit and debit card payments charge a fee to the holder, ACH and eCheck payments are typically free.

Homeowners associations should also turn to their governing documents for guidance. If your governing documents allow you to charge a fee for accepting dues payments online, then you can certainly do so. But, make sure you inform all homeowners of this fee and how much it will cost. Moreover, your HOA should not use this as an opportunity to earn a profit. You should only use the fee to cover the cost of processing.

In addition to your usual communication channels, it is also worth disclosing the fee on the payment page itself. Let homeowners know that they need to pay the fee if they want to use online payment methods for HOA dues. That way, by proceeding with the transaction, they are agreeing to pay the fee.


How an HOA Management Software Can Help

Plenty of management software providers also offer online HOA payment processing as part of their product’s features. This includes payments made via credit card, debit card, and ACH. With ACH, all you need to do is link homeowners’ bank information to their accounts. From there, homeowners association dues collection can be done with just a few simple clicks, automatically generating a NACHA upload file that your bank can use to process the payments.

Additionally, with HOA software, you can streamline accounting processes and monitor your bank accounts all from one place. Tasks such as bank reconciliation, financial statement preparation, check printing, and general accounting are made easy.


Everyone Can Benefit from Online Payment Methods

For homeowners, dues payment can be a headache, especially if they need to physically mail in their checks or deposit their payments. Luckily, your HOA can make the entire process more convenient with the use of online payment methods for HOA dues. It works out great for your association, too, because collecting dues becomes less complicated. You might even reduce your delinquencies.

While HOA management companies can help with dues collection, not all associations can afford their fees. Investing in HOA management software, though, is a good move and will pay for itself in the long run. In addition to sophisticated management features, Condo Manager makes online payment processing a breeze. Call us today at 800-626-1267 or contact us online for more information. You can also request a free demo!



5 Benefits of a Homeowner Online Portal

Modern-day technology has allowed for a myriad of advancements in the condo and HOA management sphere. One such advancement is a homeowner online portal, a tool that has made leaps and bounds in helping associations everywhere.


What Are the Benefits of a Homeowner Online Portal?

Technology has come a long way in the last 30 years and has changed our lives in a major way. In fact, the past decade alone saw progress in various fields such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.

Social media is ubiquitous, a fixed presence in the online world. Businesses rely on technology now more than ever, and community associations are no exception.

Homeowners and condominium associations have largely depended on manual processes and physical copies of documents. The advent of online portals, HOA software, and websites, though, has made a huge difference in the way these associations are managed.

Making the switch can feel daunting, especially for an association that has primarily employed a traditional system. But, a homeowner website portal does pose many advantages. If you are hesitant to transition to a digital format, here are some benefits of a homeowner online portal to convince you:


1. Convenience

One of the most obvious benefits of homeowner online accounts is convenience. Setting up an online portal where homeowners can access various information is useful for all parties involved — HOA management, board members, and homeowners.

By simply logging on to their accounts, homeowners can view their ledger and account balance as well as manage their contact details. No more jumping through hoops and submitting a sundry of request letters. All you need is a stable internet connection, and everything is just a few clicks away.


2. Security

It is only natural for homeowners and HOA managers to feel concerned about privacy and security. There are so many horror stories about software and websites getting hacked, with personal data leaking. However, these kinds of stores are few and far between.

In truth, homeowner online portals and websites are very secure. Developers put in a lot of work to create security protocols and privacy measures, such an SSL encryption, that will safeguard user information. Servers also typically have numerous firewalls and off-site backup drives to protect end-users. Additionally, accessing such online portals will require homeowners to input a user ID and password that are unique to each user.


3. Control Information

The ability to control information is a chief concern among HOA management companies. Such companies usually have multiple clients, with every user having their own homeowner online account. The beauty of an online portal is that the HOA management company can adjust its settings and set which information to publish for all owners to see.

There is also a function that allows the company to specify which items are for managers only, board members only, or for everyone. That means, if something is confidential (like a delinquency report), the company can hide it from homeowner accounts and leave it open for managers and board members only.


4. Make Dues Payment a Breeze

How many times have associations fallen short on income because homeowners forgot to pay their dues? A homeowner’s online portal gets rid of the middleman and streamlines the assessment collection/payment process.

Homeowners can simply log on to their accounts and settle their fees with a few clicks. This will greatly lower the delinquency rate in an association and increase homeowner engagement, to boot.


5. Lighten the Load of HOA Management

Managing an association is no joke. It involves a lot of time, hard work, and patience. With the use of a homeowner online portal, though, HOA management can look forward to a lighter load.

Aside from effortless dues collection, a website can make communication easier, improving the relationship between the homeowners and management. Moreover, since homeowners now have access to everything they need, such as personal data and association documents, this equates to fewer phone calls and emails requesting for such information.


Connecting Homeowner Accounts With HOA Management Software

A homeowner online portal is beneficial for both the association and the HOA management company. However, it is not a complete package. For that, you will need an HOA management software that comes with all the bells and whistles, such as report generation, accounting, and processing of receivables and payables.

It is a good idea to connect homeowner online accounts directly to the HOA software. This way, management can streamline processes and close the gap between the two programs. You can painlessly send information from one software to the other.

Not all developers offer both programs, though. Some associations or management companies utilize an online portal from one developer and management software from another. However, there are developers that offer both programs, making it easier to integrate the two.


Educate Homeowners on the Online Account Portal

While homeowner portals do provide plenty of advantages, they are virtually useless without proper education. An association or HOA management company that opts to use a website or portal should take the necessary steps to teach all community members how to use it.

Some homeowners may be able to teach themselves, but not everyone has a sufficient understanding of the way technology works, especially the older demographic.

To make sure the investment does not go to waste, it is important to guide your homeowners to learn how to use the online portal. This means scheduling training sessions, creating an educational video, and handing out pamphlets with detailed instructions. Associations can even distribute these instructions via the community newsletter. The effort will pay off in the end.


The Bottom Line

From convenience and security to making administrative work a breeze, the benefits of a homeowner online portal are clear. Both the association’s members and HOA management companies can gain from the use of such portals. Apart from practicality, online portals and websites add to customer retention for HOA management companies and homeowner satisfaction for HOA boards.

If your association or HOA management company requires an effective and reliable homeowner online portal, Condo Manager has everything you need. Call us at 800-626-1267 to learn more about our services. Alternatively, you can fill out an online form or schedule a free demo of our product.



Homeowner Online Account: How To Improve User Experience

From access to various information to easy dues payments, a homeowner online account can help members of an HOA in many ways. The challenge is finding the right one that meets your standards.


Key Features of a Homeowner Online Account Portal

The modern world is always online. People expect instant access to information whenever and wherever they are. The idea that someone would have to call or email a request for something as simple as an account balance and then wait for a response is, frankly, unacceptable for most people today. A homeowner web portal, though, makes for an easy solution.

When considering which software to use for your homeowners or condo association, always remember the following integral features of the homeowner web portal:


1. Security

Security is a feature that you shouldn’t overlook. Because HOAs often deal with sensitive and confidential information, it’s paramount to make sure such information remains secure. Thus, when you’re considering your options, look for a homeowner online account portal that offers SSL encryption to protect your data.

Your provider’s servers should have several firewalls and redundant hard drives. It’s also important to have an offline backup in case of corrupted or hacked data.

In addition, every association member should have their own unique user ID and password. For management companies with numerous HOAs under their guidance, it’s critical to have a separate online portal login page for every HOA.


2. Account and Contact Information

Homeowners should have the ability to view their account information as well as manage their contact details. This way, if they need to change anything — such as their phone number, emergency contacts, or email address — they can do so straight from their computer. This will allow your HOA to remain up-to-date on all critical homeowner information.


3. Account Balance and Online Payments

homeowners association dues payment | online homeowner portalHomeowners’ lives don’t revolve around the HOA. They have personal and professional lives that take up most of their time. Therefore, it can often be difficult to keep track of unpaid dues.

Your homeowner web account portal should allow homeowners to view their account balance and make payments online. This level of convenience is beneficial for both homeowners and the HOA as it can reduce the number of delinquencies as a result of forgotten payments.


4. Request Management

Gone are the days of printing out forms and manually filling them out to make service or architectural requests. Your homeowner web account portal should have a request management feature.

With this feature, homeowners should have the ability to make requests using their accounts. These requests then go straight to management or the board for review and approval or denial. Requesting homeowners should also be able to view the status of their requests with ease.


5. Communication Tools

Your homeowner portal should allow you to send reminders or notices to homeowners, whether it’s a mass message or meant for individual members. Some providers even have customizable, built-in templates that you can use. A portal with integrated communication tools will make it easier for all parties because they can access everything all in one place.


6. Conduct Surveys

It’s often difficult to acquire feedback from homeowners, especially if you have a large community with hundreds of members. Your homeowner’s online account portal should allow you to conduct surveys en masse. This way, you can obtain suggestions from homeowners or gauge how they feel about a particular change. You don’t even need to print out the questionnaires and physically hand them out. Save time and money with a digital portal.


7. Community Event Management

Community events are only fun if attendance is high. But, how can you ensure attendance when your members don’t even know that an event is coming up? Your online portal should allow you to post upcoming community events, complete with all the necessary details. Homeowners can then view these events using their individual accounts.


8. Community Documents Access

One of the hallmarks of a great online homeowner portal is document management. Your portal should let you upload and store important community documents, such as your meeting minutes and governing documents.

Homeowners should then have the ability to view and download these documents as they wish. Of course, that doesn’t mean all HOA documents should be available to them. Sensitive or confidential documents must remain protected and for management’s eyes only.


9. Permission Controls

Obviously, sensitive information like account balances, ledgers, and violation notices should not be freely available for anyone to see. However, this kind of information is still extremely valuable to the people it pertains to and should be easy to access.

That’s why your homeowner online account should include a robust account system that makes it easy to determine who sees what. You should have the ability to tag someone as a board member or a regular member of the community.

Beyond that, you should be able to control what each user is allowed to do, such as add new information, approve a request, view financial statements, and the like. Typically, only board members and HOA managers are privy to confidential or sensitive data. In the same way, only homeowners should have access to their own information. Other than that, your homeowner online portal should give you the ability to grant access to the permissions system.


Benefits of an Online Homeowner Portal

If you still feel on the fence about investing in a homeowner portal, take the following benefits into consideration:


1. Round-the-Clock Access to Information

The largest advantage of a web portal is the ease of access to various information and documents. Rather than getting in touch with the board, community manager, or support department, association members can download and read these documents online whenever they want.

This ease of access is great for both the community members and the support members who would otherwise be taking their call. They can make better use of their time by addressing more pressing issues.


2. Convenience

homeowner's association member online account | homeowner web portalWith an online portal, homeowners have an easier time completing HOA-related activities. There’s no need to do things the manual way, which is more time-consuming.

For instance, a homeowner online account makes it more convenient to pay HOA dues. You can send scheduled reminders or notices to homeowners, which they can see immediately. They can view their account balance and settle any overdue payments.

Another area a portal can help with is service requests. Homeowners can quickly make a service or architectural request without having to physically file the paperwork. All they need to do is enter their resident portal login information and navigate to the service they need.


3. Stay Up-to-Date

Once documents are written, they don’t always stay the same. As communities grow and need to tackle new challenges, the governing documents are often edited to meet them. To make sure everyone is following the same rules and guidelines, it’s important for them to have access to the most up-to-date version of all documents. The same is true for personal account information like balances and violations.

Automated, scheduled updates easily address this problem. Just make sure the most recent documents are always in the system, and your HOA management software or portal does the rest.


The Best Homeowner Online Portal for You

A homeowner online account portal is a great way to connect to your community, keep association members up-to-date, and streamline otherwise time-consuming processes. Rather than calling support and waiting around for a response, they can conveniently access all their information from a single, secure location.

Condo Manager offers the best HOA management software for communities of any size. Our comprehensive homeowner online account portal comes with all the features detailed above. Reap the benefits of our sophisticated management solutions today. When you are ready to upgrade your community’s online presence, request a demo or give us a call at (800)-626-1267.



How Can Collecting HOA Online Payments Help?

Collecting homeowners association payments is a very time-consuming process. Each month, the HOA has to issue invoices, collect fees, process checks, and then deposit them to the bank. If you want more efficient operations, here’s how HOA online payments can help your association.


7 Great Benefits of HOA Online Payments

HOA fees are the financial lifeline of any association. It pays for maintenance and repairs, utilities, vendor services, management fees, salaries, insurance premiums, reserve contributions, and contingency funds. HOA fees ensure that your community runs smoothly and seamlessly.

Collecting HOA fees is harder than it looks, though — especially if your primary modes of payment are cash and checks. Homeowners don’t always pay on time and for those that do, you have to spend time processing their payments and depositing them to the bank. All that time you spend on collecting fees each month could be better spent on more important HOA matters.

It’s time for your community to embrace online HOA payments and here are seven reasons why.


1. More Convenient for Homeowners

Almost everyone is busy with their day-to-day lives. Most homeowners simply do not have the time to visit the management office or the bank to pay their HOA dues. Having an online payment system will make it easier for homeowners to settle their outstanding balances. They can pay HOA dues online from the comforts of their own home and at any time of the day or night.


2. Lower Delinquency Rates

As more homeowners pay HOA fees online, associations can see a significant decrease in their delinquency rates. You can save a lot of valuable time because there are fewer late HOA payments to follow up on. The HOA can also reduce attorney fees and other legal expenses that arise from having to deal with delinquency cases.


3. Reduce Operating Expenses

less HOA operating expense | online hoa paymentsAre you under the impression that having online HOA payments leads to more expenses for the association? It can actually help you save more money!

The average cost of processing a single check is $1.22. By switching to online payments, HOAs can save on labor costs, office supplies, postage fees, fuel costs, and other expenses that come with manual payment processing.


4. Reduce HOA’s Carbon Footprint

HOA online payments can help associations become more eco-friendly. Since the payment process is done digitally, you use less paper and ink. There’s also no need to keep driving to the bank just to deposit checks. All checks are also destroyed after 90 days, which only contributes to landfill waste. As such, online payments can help the HOA reduce its carbon footprint and do its part in saving the environment.


5. More Efficient HOA Operations

HOA online payments help eliminate a lot of time-consuming administrative tasks such as manually collecting payments, sorting through the mail, recording each payment details in your books, and driving to the bank to deposit checks. Instead, board members and managers can devote their time to other tasks that are essential to HOA operations.


6. Easy and Accurate Payment Tracking

Having an online system will make it easier to see whenever homeowners pay HOA fees. You’ll be able to keep track of all financial transactions, as well as monitor the amount coming in and out of your bank accounts. If your website is integrated with HOA software, you may also be able to create financial reports for these monthly online payments.


7. Attract More Homebuyers

online homebuyers | online hoa paymentIn this digital age, an online payment system is expected. If potential homebuyers see that you are still using cash and checks, it will create an impression that your community is outdated and unable to keep up with the times.

Today’s consumers place a lot of importance on modern conveniences when choosing a home to purchase. Thus, an online payment system helps convey that your HOA is up-to-date and properly managed.


How to Choose an Online Payment System for Your HOA

If you’re ready to give your homeowners a way to pay HOA online, it’s time to choose an online payment system for your HOA. There are plenty of available options out there so it’s important a provider that meets your specific needs and budget. For starters, here are some important things to consider.

  • Transaction Fees: Make sure that your online payment system does not have any hidden charges. Some payment systems may have monthly charges while others will charge a nominal fee per transaction.
  • HOA Software Integration: Choose an online payment system that is compatible with your HOA software. This ensures that you’re able to seamlessly transfer payment data or details from the system to your software. Thus, less work and potential headaches for you.
  • Homeowner Accounts: For even more convenience, you can set up password-protected accounts that allow homeowners to pay online, view their payment history, and save payment details. You can even include other features such as easy access to governing documents for better compliance to homeowner association rules — which includes HOA fees and assessments.
  • Multiple Accounts: HOA management companies should choose an online payments system that is able to handle multiple accounts. You can set up payment channels for each HOA that you are managing and have the payments go to the correct bank accounts.


Getting Started on HOA Online Payments

Most associations understand the importance and convenience of HOA online payments but have yet to make the transition due to concerns about costs or available options. By now, though, you’re more familiar with online payments and how they can help your HOA. Since there are many available options, take the time to analyze each payment system to find the most suited for your community.

 Looking to get started with HOA online payments? Do not hesitate to reach out to the Condo Manager team today! Our HOA software comes with digital payment integration for easy and hassle-free online payments. Call us at (800) 626-1267 or email us at sales@condomanagerusa.com for a free demo.