A Walmart store or CVS Pharmacy may not be the first places that come to mind to make rent payments, but those locations and thousands of others are now part of the mix for paying rent with cash through WilliamPaid.com, a Chicago-based online rental payment website.
Cash-transaction network provider ZipZap Inc. has partnered with WilliamPaid to offer tenants a cash payment, the companies announced last week.
WilliamPaid has already added the option to pay online with cash through the ZipZap software to its website, on which tenants have 24-hour access to their accounts from any computer or mobile device to make rent payments with credit and debit cards or through a bank account.
"WilliamPaid.com is always looking for ways to make the rent paying process easy and seamless for tenants," says Evan Silverman, CEO of WilliamPaid.com. "This cash paying option will help the 54% of adults in the United States who use cash as their preferred form of payment."
The partnership serves as another example of "flexibility in payments," says Brian Riley, senior research director and analyst with Needham, Mass.-based CEB TowerGroup.
Western Union and PayPal Inc. dominate the "money-moving market," but ZipZap has built a strong physical network with its high number of payment locations, Riley says. PayPal has over a dozen merchant partners for its point of sale payment system, and that number is set to balloon next year through an agreement with Discover.
"It almost looks like ZipZap is trying to establish itself at these retail locations while the merchants are still trying to determine whether PayPal is a friend or foe," Riley says.
Still, with prepaid cards becoming more popular and so many other payment options available, Riley is not certain why a consumer would choose to make high-value payments with cash.
"It seems to me that using a bill-paying service through a bank would be a first option, but we know the numbers are very large concerning the unbanked," he says.
The ZipZap rent payment method essentially works like other ZipZap transactions. ZipZap sends a transaction code via text message to a consumer shopping at a partner merchant. The consumer takes the code to a ZipZap payment center to deliver the cash and complete the purchase.
With the rental pay system, the tenant schedules a cash payment on WilliamPaid.com and downloads a payment slip that can be printed or sent to an e-mail address. Renters have 72 hours to bring the hard copy payment slip, or show the electronic version on a smartphone screen, to any of more than 45,000 payment center locations nationwide, including MoneyGram and 7-Eleven in addition to Wal-Mart and CVS.
San Francisco-based ZipZap added MoneyGram International as a payment location in March.
"After visiting the payment center and presenting the payment slip and paying in cash, the tenant will be notified [by ZipZap via text message] that the payment is being sent out to their landlord," Silverman says.
The ZipZap software is integrated into the WilliamPaid.com site so tenants can schedule rent payments and download their payment slips, Silverman adds.
A ZipZap representative did not respond to inquiries prior to deadline.