New technology that allows credit card payments to be made via smartphone may help property managers keep on top of rent arrears.
By Susan Edmunds
The technology, Swipe HQ, is a device smaller than a matchbox which plugs into the audio jack of any smartphone. Much like a normal credit card terminal, the merchant enters the amount of the transaction, swipes the credit card and the heavily-encrypted transaction is completed. Electronic receipts can then be sent by text message or email to the customer.
This would allow a landlord or property manager to visit a tenant and process payment for rental arrears on the spot.
New Zealand Property Investors Federation President Andrew King said this would help property managers more than independent landlords because managers would have access to the credit card facilities required to accept credit card payments.
But Martin Evans, of the Independent Property Managers Association, said it would have to come at some additional cost to tenants.
“Property managers only take a small percentage of the rent. They wouldn’t be able to absorb the extra percentage that credit card companies charge for transactions.”
He estimated about 5% of property managers would take up the technology.
More may be interested in using it for the purpose Optimizer HQ chief executive Manas Kumar had it mind when he designed the system.
Kumar said he tended to carry little cash and that had made for some embarrassing moments with his lawn-mowing contractor and other tradespeople.
"I ended up just feeling really bad. Often tradespeople would come to do work and I had simply forgotten to withdraw any cash to pay them. I talked to other friends who said they were often in the same position so I created Swipe HQ.”