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Sending Rent Checks Programmatically with Lob's Checks API
May 19, 2017

Sending Rent Checks Programmatically with Lob's Checks API

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Joe Singh

Product teams use Lob’s APIs to build seamless direct mail offerings into their platforms. There are inherent difficulties in building out a relationship with print and mail vendors and operationally functioning within those terms. Our focus here is Lob’s checks API, which allows product teams to programmatically outsource the fulfillment and execution of mailed physical checks.

There are a great many advantages to issuing payments with programmatic checks. What’s even more important is that the checks are branded and secure so nobody has to worry about a thing. As customers and clients drift away from checkbooks, rental apps are filling the gap with a tech-savvy approach to payments.

Why Rental App Product Teams Leverage Lob's Checks API

Lob’s checks API is used by rental apps like cozy.co to automate the process of paying landlords with a physical check. Like it or not, a majority of apartment managers and landlords still only accept paper checks. Consequently, real estate startups in urban areas are offering a digital approach to housing. These platforms are one-stop shops for everything from finding a place to live to requesting service in a unit and in this case automating your rent payment.

Product managers at these startups need to build a relevant featureset for today’s market; that’s where Lob comes in. Landlords are happy to receive physical checks and tenants are just as happy not to pick up a pen thanks to integrations with Lob’s checks API. It’s a win-win for everyone.

These startups, often catering to millennials, are seeing higher margins because they’ve removed the hassles of paying for cashier’s checks or mailing in their check themselves. This form of automation expedites the process of paying and, more importantly, receiving rent payments.

Offering Tenants Convenience

Imagine the target consumers for a rental startup. Let’s call them A and B. These two college-educated millennials obviously share a 2-bedroom in one of the country’s five largest metro areas. One works in finance and one works in tech. Since B is in tech, he doesn’t even have a checkbook. Every month he trudges to the bank, pays for a cashier’s check and drops it in his landlord’s mailbox. A, a savvier spender, has a checkbook but still has to trek across the city to pay her landlord.

A and B were able to quickly and easily find and lock down an apartment, within budget and their desired parameters. They are happy with every aspect of the service except the tedium of checks. Both A and B would rather pay a bit more to the rental app than pay the bank or drag themselves off the couch (in true millennial fashion). There’s an easy way for the platform product team to collect an extra fee for this convenience: build with Lob.

Now, on the 1st of each month, the platform automatically draws A’s rent from A’s debit account and B’s rent from B’s debit account. The amounts are consolidated into a single check, which is printed and mailed programmatically through Lob’s delivery network. Neither the product team, nor A and B, have to lift a finger.

Marketing to Property Managers

There’s an ancillary marketing benefit for product teams. Every rental app has two user bases: tenants who use the app to find housing, and property managers who agree to be listed on the platform. While the former can utilize the feature to maximize satisfaction, Lob’s branding empowers marketing for the latter.

Put yourself in the shoes of a property manager: your single biggest headache is collecting rent checks. Your competitors, who partner with cutting-edge rental platforms, simply get one check per unit at the start of every month. The checks even have the name of a partner app stamped on them in case anyone wondered who was responsible for these miraculously easy rent payments. How easy is that sale? The rental app has acquired a new partner, programmatically.

Still not convinced? Give our checks API a try and see how easy Lob makes it to bridge the technical gap between consumers and the people to whom they owe money. Paper rent checks aren’t going anywhere, but with Lob you can modernize their usage.

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