ClickPay: A New Way to Pay Rent
This past summer I had the privilege of interning for ClickPay, an electronic payment platform company specializing in real estate transactions. While there, I was exposed to ClickPay’s mission to simplify and automate the rent payment process.
ClickPay was conceptualized on a bike ride in 2009 by Tom Kiernan, the current CEO, and Steven Van Praagh. While cycling, Tom and Steven had been discussing the frustrations associated with rent payments. At that time, the only way to process paying rent was by mailing check payments, which can be an arduous process for both property managers and tenants. Property managers were tasked with tracking and ensuring timely payments from hundreds — and in some cases thousands — of monthly rent payments. Not only was this inefficient, but tenants mailing their checks had an increased likelihood of incurring late-payment fees if the checks weren’t processed until after the rent payment due date. It was at this moment that the founders realized that there must be an easier way.
And thus, ClickPay was born.
ClickPay provides customizable electronic solutions for property managers to bill and collect rent from their tenants. Their services include online payments, on-site check scanning, and e-billing. Instead of spending their time collecting payments, property managers can now focus their efforts on renovating their existing properties or researching and purchasing new assets. Furthermore, ClickPay provides landlords with reusable payment templates to make it as smooth as possible to acquire additional properties.
This product is not only convenient for landlords, but for tenants as well. Aside from the simplicity of paying rent online, ClickPay accepts a variety of payment methods including e-check (ACH), paper check, debit and credit cards, American Express, and cash. Part of what makes ClickPay unique is its service providing automatic text messaging to remind tenants to complete their payments.
Many YU students living in Washington Heights use ClickPay for paying rent. “ClickPay is very convenient and easy to use,” remarked Daniel Elfenbein (YC ‘21), a frequent ClickPay user. “It's linked to my bank account and set on auto-pay, so I'm never stuck with any late payment charges.”
To the modern-day rent payer, this may not seem like such a novel idea. In fact, during an interview, CEO Kiernan reflected, “It seemed like such a monstrous opportunity. I just assumed that, like every other business, rent payment had gone online. I asked friends who rented, and all of them mailed a paper check into their landlords.”
Due to their efficient and simplistic platform, ClickPay quickly emerged as a leading company in real estate payment. In December 2013, ClickPay merged with rival NovelPay, a company that offered a similar platform to ClickPay. As both companies were leaders in the automated rent payment market, the merger enabled ClickPay to offer more forms of payment options and integrate their software with real estate accounting programs that were previously incompatible with their own software.
In March 2015, ClickPay acquired RE Lockbox service, which sends customer payments directly to a location accessible by the property managers’ bank. The acquisition expanded the company's staff and resources to support its fast-paced growth.
Since its inception, ClickPay has seen constant growth, currently servicing almost 2.5 million units and processing over $55 billion in annual transactions.
Due to their success, RealPage — a provider of software and data analytics for estate companies — acquired ClickPay for $218.5 million in 2018. Based in Texas, the acquisition gave RealPage access to the East Coast market.
Personally, it was amazing to see this innovation upfront. During a town hall meeting which I attended, a CFO illustrated the plans for a future RealPage project that would combine ClickPay with several other leasing software programs to initiate Leasing Through Living, a program that will simplify and automate all aspects of the leasing process from beginning to end.
From a simple idea conceived on a bike ride to a large company with over 100 employees, ClickPay has revolutionized how people pay rent. By combining resources and working together, ClickPay and RealPage hope to further automate and improve the leasing process.
Photo Caption: Zachary Greenberg (left), with his uncle Rafi Gasner, an operations analyst at Click Pay
Photo Credit: Zachary Greenberg