Public Housing Authorities: Serving the Underbanked Efficiently

In this blog, we are going to discuss payment challenges faced by public housing authorities who serve the underbanked and unbanked. The information here is to help housing authorities understand different payment options that might make the payment process more efficient for both tenants and housing authorities.

Housing authorities play an important role in the quality of life and level of satisfaction for their tenants. As the Federal Reserve reported, people’s housing and living arrangements can affect their financial lives, access to desired amenities, and resources, and overall happiness.[1]

Furthermore, a correlation between income and housing satisfaction was identified. Specifically, lower to low-income communities have greater dissatisfaction with their housing and neighborhood. Public housing authorities are positioned to help their community and individuals in the most need.

By making the appropriate investments, an effective payment solution can help improve the quality and efficiency of the services provided by a housing authority. Housing authorities are under stress each day from multiple directions; budgetary concerns, tenant expectations, and manual and time-consuming processes. Housing authorities also need flexible options to satisfy a diverse group of tenants.

Public Housing Authorities: Reaching the Underbanked

public housing authorities payment

According to the Federal Reserve, 22% of Americans are considered Unbanked or Underbanked. Unbanked means that a consumer does not have checking, savings, or money market account. In addition, the underbanked are typically in lower income brackets.

These individuals will often rely on non-traditional financial services like money orders, check cashing services, payday loans and advances. This requires many of the underbanked and unbanked to carry larger amounts of cash.

For public housing authorities, the underbanked and unbanked is a key segment to serve. For this segment, a walk-in payment solution would be critical to provide the consumer a convenient and safe manner in which to make a cash payment. By providing a walk-in payment solution, you reduce friction for the consumer and provide an avenue to collect the rent payment.

Cash is king. Even among people who have a variety of banking options available, roughly 20 percent prefer to use cash whenever possible. While carrying large amounts of cash may not be convenient, cash transactions tend to be faster and there is no risk of identity theft. Allowing your customers to pay in cash with walk-in payments demonstrates that you care about their preferences and needs.

Walk-In Payment solutions should offer a robust network of payment centers across the U.S to make sure there is a location in walking distance for your tenants. Partnerships with key retailers helps expand the footprint and offer great flexibility and options to collect payment.

Reducing the stress on the renter and the agency:

With more and more Americans living paycheck to paycheck, it is important the payment experience doesn’t add more stress to the situation. Payments need to be made in a seamless and frictionless process.

Every time a point of friction is added to the payment experience, it gives the tenant an opportunity to leave the payment flow. By partnering with a payment solution provider that can provide an omnichannel experience, the stress is removed on both the renter and employee or agency.

Providing an experience that reaches all consumers:

Housing Authorities serve a diverse population which require solutions that meet their tenant’s needs. By providing optionality, the tenant is able to make the payment in their channel and method of choice. This is often important based on the limitations that your tenant may have.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and agent-based payment solutions are optimal to help renters make payments over the phone without having to travel to a specific location. Web and mobile based solutions provide 24/7 access to payment capture channels, so no matter a renter’s schedule, you are always available to collect their payment. In addition, by providing these options, the renter is able to find a solution that works best for their situation.

Budgetary pressure to maintain top level services:

Budget is always a real concern. With the appropriate payment solution, operational and processing costs can be lowered so that more resources can be directed toward your housing facilities and infrastructure. By leveraging IVR, phone, web, and mobile, you can reduce the resources needed to process payments.

In addition, a walk-in payment network can provide the physical presence necessary to capture payments for the underbanked and unbanked. These tools can serve to lower operational costs from managing and maintain operation centers and general administrative expenses.

Also, by bundling capture channels with a payment gateway provider, public housing authorities can achieve economies of scale reducing their per transaction costs. By adding a convenience fee to the payment process, the housing authority can provide a solution that covers the costs of processing payments.

Offering an omnichannel experience, the payment processor would be able to provide a central location to track and monitor payment activity, this can increase efficiency in accounting and reconciliations.

Housing Authorities Can Reduce Costs, Improve Experience, & Increase Rent Payments Collected

Create the win-win for the tenant and agency. By leveraging a comprehensive payment solution that has the ability to provide an omnichannel experience through walk-in payments, convenient pay by text options, a mobile and web presence, phone and IVR, the housing authorities can increase the renter’s satisfaction and improve the collection of rent payments.

Learn more about how PaymentVision has the solutions and services to help your organization.

[1] Report of the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 – May 2019,
[2] Report of the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 – May 2019,