5 Ways to Make Online Payments Easy for HOA Administrators
Ask any homeowners association administrator to name the least enjoyable aspects of what’s typically a volunteer position, and payment processing is likely to land at the top of that response list. Of course, switching from manual to online payments can make billing and collections far less of a hassle, but optimizing the process demands some additional conveniences. Look for these five features in the homeowners association website software provider you select for your community.
Recapture transaction fees
Most payment provider systems charge some form of transaction fee for each payment they collect on your behalf. After a while, these fees can add up, and many homeowners associations prefer to pass them through to their residents as part of the cost of an individual invoice.
But unless your homeowners association website software makes it easy to calculate and apply these fees, you’re stuck with a manual process to determine the amount to add on and enter the total. And if your software only applies a set fee without giving you the ability to determine the amount you add, that’s actually even less useful than a manual calculation. What you want is a fee-application process that you can tailor to each individual dues item you create.
Accept partial payments
On larger dues items and annual fees, your intuition suggests that the timeliness of your remittances will increase if you allow residents to make partial payments toward an overall amount. Many homeowners association website software providers simply don’t include the ability to accept partial payments as an option. Look for this capability as a big convenience feature that will pay off—literally.
Hold late payments accountable
When it comes to encouraging timely payments, many homeowners association administrators want the ability to penalize late payers as a way of reinforcing the importance of timely payment of regular dues items. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to assess late payment penalties. Ideally, you want to be able to specify the amounts of these penalties on a case-by-case basis and determine how many days after each invoice due date these penalties kick in. But many HOA website software providers don’t offer this feature, and if you don’t look for it, you may find out—too late—that you’ve chosen a package that doesn’t include it.
Customize billing and timing
Not all homeowners association dues items and fees need to be billed to every resident. Your HOA website software package needs to give you the ability to determine exactly who receives each individual invoice. For example, if a resident uses a specific community amenity that’s associated with an ongoing cost to help maintain it, you may want that fee to bill only to residents who use it the amenities, not to all your residents.
Invoice due dates also can require some fine tuning. You want the ability to specify a variety of payment options, including monthly, quarterly, annual, one-time, and other billing intervals. You also want to establish the right payment terms–the number of days after you issue an invoice and before it’s due—for each item you bill. In fact, you may want to use a range of different payment terms for specific dues or fees, so you can offer residents 30 or even 60 days to pay a large annual dues item or make smaller items due in 15 days.
This is another example of the type of flexibility that not all homeowners association website software providers offer their customers, but that makes the job of HOA administration much easier.
See and download your data
To get a thorough understanding of dues and payments, you need the ability to review these types of financial data from multiple perspectives. First, you want to see the overall picture of an individual dues item: amount, frequency, number of members who are late in paying, and other variables that show you the big picture. Next, you want to dig in at the invoice level and see each member’s compliance with one or more individual invoices. You’re also net ahead if you can re-send an invoice at a resident’s request. At the same time, you want to download spreadsheet-compatible data files that show you all the details of individual invoices and payments.
Get the big picture and the features to match
Whether you’re researching homeowners association website software providers as you plan to create and launch your community’s first website or you’re struggling to work within the limitations of a software provider that you’ve outgrown, you deserve an online software package that can provide you with the right features and functionality to match your HOA’s expectations. At HOAStart, we’ve built our software to anticipate your needs and deliver the capabilities that matter most. When it comes to billing, we give you the convenience and power you need to tailor your administrative decisions to your policies and your residents.
Want to see for yourself? See how flexibly you can configure your billing to match your needs. Sign up for our 15-day free trial—no credit card required—and experiment with every aspect of our full feature set. We believe you’ll find that we offer you the options you need to work the way you want to work.