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Electronic Payments

Make Contributions More Convenient

The commercial world has something to teach churches. Patricia Clark, writing for the Bloomberg News, April 21, 2015, wrote the following: Why We Still Use Checkbooks to Pay the Rent.

In 2007,Arlington (Va.)-based property management company Avalon Bay Communities made a seemingly obvious decision. The company stopped accepting rent at its apartment buildings, and started making tenants send payments to a centralized office. Renters could put checks in the mail or use a new online system to transfer payments from one bank account to another. Eight years later, 89 percent of the company’s 80,000 tenants pay their rent by electronic transfer.

It makes sense. Electronic payments save landlords the time spent waiting for postal service, as well as the trouble of processing checks. For tenants,electronic payments mean they can pay rent the way they already pay most bills. Across the U.S. economy, check use fell57 percent from 2000 to 2012, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve. That’s particularly true for young renters, according to payments-industry giant First Data, which found that more than 20 percent of millennials have never used a check to pay a bill.

Most young renters only have a checkbook to pay the rent, says Jonathan Eppers, chief executive at RadPad, a Santa Monica (Calif.)-based startup that facilitates electronic rent payments.

A survey published by the National Multifamily Housing Council found that 79 percent of renters would prefer to pay electronically. Checks, as a common way to pay rent, will almost certainly go away, eventually.

This is typical of what is taking place in the habits of how people make payments. The church shouldn’t have its head in the sand.