The news: Rent payments platform Till introduced four new features that enrolled landlords can offer their tenants.
- Budget and Save lets renters make short-term installment payments leading up to their rent due date. This can help with expense management so tenants can ensure rent is paid in full and on time.
- Rent Protection covers rent for residents who are short on rent to make sure they don’t miss a payment. Residents can repay Till while using the Budget and Save tool for the following month.
- Free Credit Builder, which is free for both renters and landlords, helps residents build their credit and incentivizes them to make payments on time.
- Rewards for Rent gives eligible residents rent payment rewards—like having Till cover their rent—when they make on-time payments.
Why it’s worth watching: The US rental market is huge—and it’s prime for disruption as consumer appetite for digital bill payments rises.
- In 2019, renters made up 36%—approximately 44.2 million—of US households, according to Pew Research. That same year, they paid a whopping $512.4 billion in rent, per Zillow.
- More recently, the rental market has seen higher demand for digital payment options, likely triggered by a need for faster payments and the rise in contactless transactions during the pandemic. The percentage of digital rent payments almost doubled from 17% in Q4 2019 to 33% in Q4 2020, per data from Zego.
- There’s also been more innovation in the space: For instance, Mastercard recently introduced the Bilt Mastercard credit card, which offers perks like 2x points for rent payments.
The opportunities: Till’s new features can help it further penetrate the rental market and could make it a leader in the space as the market undergoes digital transformation.
- Till’s Credit Builder feature incentivizes on-time payments by helping renters build their credit. Alternative credit-building tools like those offered by Credit Sesame and card issuers are bringing more consumers into the credit system, increasing their access to key financial services. Credit Builder can further that initiative and help Till pull in more customers.
- And the Budget and Save tool’s installment payments offer customers more payment flexibility. The feature is similar to many of the buy now, pay later solutions that have grown popular amid the past year’s pandemic-induced financial uncertainty. Letting customers pay their rent in short-term installments can help Till build good customer relationships, which could lead to more platform engagement.
- The solutions can help landlords get paid faster and reduce missed payments, making it an appealing partner. Till’s new features could draw more landlords to its network if it demonstrates that it can reduce escalating unpaid rents: The share of unpaid rent balances more than doubled from 1.9% in 2019 to 4.5% in 2020, per Zego—adding cash-flow pressure on landlords.