If you’re still paying your rent by check, RentMoola is on a mission to make you stop. Credit.com decided to take a closer look at the Vancouver-based startup, which launched in April 2013, to find out more.
How it Works
With a RentMoola account, users whose property managers also are enrolled in the program can pay rent via a proprietary platform on the company’s desktop or mobile site, said co-founder Philipp Postrehovsky. If their manager has yet to sign up, they can refer him to RentMoola. As of press time, he said the service is available in 400 cities across North America, mostly in the U.S., where it’s focused on growth.
RentMoola also allows tenants to pay with credit card or eCheck, a paperless form of checks known as ACH. In the U.S., cash payments can be made at participating 7-Eleven stores, Postrehovsky said. “You present a bar code on your phone that you access from your RentMoola account. That bar code is scanned by the teller, you hand over the cash and you’re done,” he explained.
For property managers, there is no cost for using the basic service, but “there are small monthly fees based on the number of bank accounts you have,” Postrehovsky said. Tenants should be aware there is a service fee applicable for credit card payments in Canada (1.75%) and the U.S. (2.99%). The eCheck option is always free.
As an aside, RentMoola also offers a program called Perks, which grants those who sign up free access to a range of discounts at a variety of retailers.
Things to Consider
Postrehovsky said RentMoola has fraud-detection practices in place and that the company encrypts its data. Also, all credit card information is tokenized. “We follow all the rules and regulations in the industry and are Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant.”
Bruce McClary, vice president of public relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, said prospective tenants signing up for the service should be careful, especially with their credit card, and not just because of additional fees. “With rent being an issue so many are struggling with already, adding an additional cost to that may not be the best way forward. The other danger is there’s the additional cost of interest if you carry the balance past the initial billing period, which adds to the cost of your rent.”
Consumers should also remember that any service that asks for your credit card information “is potentially at risk of being hacked or exposed,” said McClary. “They may have taken all the precautions in the world that any reasonable business would take. I would caution people there as well.”
With regard to security issues, he advised reading the company’s privacy statement to see what steps they take to keep your information secure. He also said to double-check your credit card statements or billing activity just to make sure everything is accurate.
If you’re concerned about fraud on your credit card or elsewhere, a great place to start your detective work is by pulling your credit score. Dips in your score, mysterious names, or accounts that you don’t recall opening could be signs identity theft has occurred. You can view two of your free scores, updated every month, on Credit.com.